Monday, April 23, 2007
Traveling with Children
One of the first things you learn as a parent, is that once you have kids, leaving to go ANYWHERE is a chore. You have to pack the baby bag. Make sure your child has milk and juice, a snack, diapers and wipes, a doll or book to keep their attention. Then you have to load them into a car seat and buckle them in. It's not an easy process. So if you have to go through all that just to go to the store, imagine what it's like trying to go on vacation!
We just got back from the beach. We had a great time, but I honestly felt like we carried everything but the kitchen sink! Each child had their own bag full of the "essentials" - clothes, shoes, diapers, wipes, tooth brush, bibs & burp clothes (in Lily's case). Then I had a cooler of just their drinks - Lily's formula, Ann Catherine's milk and juice. Then I had another small cooler with Ann Catherine's snacks and books to keep her occupied. Then I brought along 5 Elmo and Barney DVDS for the ride (which honestly are the greatest thing to ever happen to parents on vacation. Seriously, what did our parents do???) In addition to that, we took two pack and plays for them to sleep in, Lily's bouncey seat, a jumper and a stroller. I have never traveled with so much STUFF in my life! The days of just jumping in the car and going somewhere are definitely over!
The days of driving until you get there are over too. Kids get antsy along the way, so you have to stop from time to time. Thank goodness for fast food restaurants with playgrounds! The only problem is getting your child back in the car. And then you have the occasional cries because they are so sick of being contained in a car seat. Sometimes you're exhausted by the time you reach your destination!
The trip was great, except it was a little cool. Lily got a cold so I didn't take her to the beach. She had to settle for sitting on the balcony. Ann Catherine loved getting her feet wet in the ocean, even though the water was freezing!! There is nothing greater than taking your child to the beach and just watching her eyes in amazement. She would stoop to pick up shells that I would never have noticed. She loved to take her shovel and just brush through the sand. She loved to point at the sea gulls and say 'bird.' She was mesmerized by the waves.
It makes that long drive in a cramped car worthwhile :)