Vacation Trepidation

We’re gearing up for our first vacation as a family of 4. Though, as a wise but jaded friend of mine once put it, “Once you have kids it’s not a vacation. It’s just travel.” It’s true, vacation generally brings to mind sleep, relaxation, and fruity umbrella drinks. If we’re lucky, we might get the drinks. But even those will be limited for me since I’m breastfeeding. Tequila shots and nursing bras just don’t go together, you know?

We’re renting a big house on a lake with my extended family. There will be 16 of us – including a 3-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 5-month-old. My poor relatives don’t know what they’re in for. Especially the single ones. I fear for my cousin and his girlfriend, especially. If they’re even considering marriage and parenthood, I don’t want to be the one to scare them off for good. But I can’t promise anything.

My mother has assured me that there will be plenty of volunteers to help with the kids. But what these well-meaning folks probably don’t realize is that their help may be needed pre-dawn, before COFFEE, even. They may be called upon for potty assistance, they may have to break up squabbles over Play-Doh, they may encounter poop where they never imagined poop could be found (on the baby’s SHOULDER?!). It’s not all butterfly kisses and bedtime stories, people. You’ve gotta be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Nobody better THINK they’re going to ease into the day with a cup of hot coffee and NPR. (I’m talking to you, Dad.) No, sir. Expect to hit the ground running with Dora or Blue’s Clues blaring in the background. Your coffee will go stone cold as you scramble to accommodate the needs of 3 exceptionally vocal short people. This one wants a waffle, that one wants toast, and that one wants to chew on the newspaper. But no, you cut her toast wrong! And he wanted CREAM CHEESE, not butter!! And watch out, the baby’s about to knock over your juice! Relaxed yet?

Then it’s time for a full day of recreational activities: Whitewater rafting! Jet-skis! Biking! Hiking! Right? Wrong! Too dangerous, too strenuous, too hot, too cold, or simply incompatible with the kids’ nap schedules. Sorry! Splashing in the backyard wading pool is about as adventurous as it gets with little ones.

In the evening, everyone might be looking forward to a leisurely happy hour, a late dinner, and some good conversation around the campfire. Wrong again! The kids have to be fed, bathed, and put to bed in a timely fashion unless we want a group meltdown. And since we’re in a strange place, none of them will go down easily. And when they’re FINALLY quiet, everyone else better damn well be, too. Pity the boisterous drunkard who raises their voice and wakes the baby! EVERYONE will suffer for their carelessness!

Oh, yeah, this’ll be a fun vacation. How can it NOT be? Just seeing the look on my mom’s face when I hand her the baby at 5:30 a.m. will be enjoyment enough for me. Maybe I’ll even make my cousin change a dirty diaper by himself.

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Loukia said...

Excellent post! And so very, very true! Although you will surely have a great time - (make sure to write all about it when you return, with lots of pictures!) it is not going to be relaxing, really... and it's more travel, not so much vacation. But still - you'll have fun. And make great memories! Have fun! And good luck! :)

Kimberly said...

On the positive side, this vacation will give you lots and lots of good writing material!! You're definitely brave to do this, but hopefully with all the family there it will go well! Our first family vacation was only to Sesame Place (a 4 hour drive) and after two days our little ones were ready to come home. Hopefully the attention from all of the family members will help keep them going longer!! Good luck!

Jenni said...

You are hysterical. It sounds like my life every day. I finally started admitting to myself that I don't drink a cup of tea in the morning, I drink it from 7:30 am until noon. Every day I just pray that heating up the cream in it (again) won't give me a stomachache. Hope the vacation went as well as possible.

P.S. I hear we DO get our lives back someday.

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