Friday means it’s time to head over to Dad-Blogs for Fatherhood Friday. Tons of dads (and moms) are blogging like crazy and sharing some great insight over there on a weekly basis. So after you’re done here, head to Dad-Blogs for some good times and even better reads.
Having a child changes everything.
That’s what they tell you right from the get-go, and it’s true. Will changed everything in my life, and 95 percent of the time it’s been for the better. But this past vacation? It fell in the 5 percent.
The vacation house was beautiful. The mountains were GORGEOUS. Being with our friends was unbelievably great. But doing it all with Will was fucking exhausting. And it’s really my fault. For some ungodly reason, I thought vacations would somehow be immune to a 14-month-old. As if he suddenly and magically wouldn’t need to eat and require diaper changes. I thought I could drink all night and go crazy and just sleep until noon the next day to make up for it.
And then Will woke up at 4:30 a.m. and I wanted to light myself on fire the first day.
I didn’t think about going back to sharing a room with Will. I didn’t think about him being too big to sleep in his pack and play. I didn’t think about the fact that he’d have a hard time sleeping in a new place. I failed to consider our friends’ 4-year-old and how he and Will would react to each other. I didn’t think about the need to be quiet after the kids go to bed, or keeping them quiet in the morning for the sake and sanity of everyone else in the house.
In short, I didn’t think much at all.
But you live and learn right? If anything, this has prepared me for whenever it is we vacation next with our friends. So for those of you who haven’t taken your little one on vacation yet, here’s a “Before & After” list to get you prepared to your new definition of “Vacation.”
BEFORE: Pack some clothes but not much else. Anything else you forget you can pick up when you get to your destination.
AFTER: Start planning your packing scheme two weeks prior to vacation. Bring the pack and play, half his wardrobe, diapers, diapers for the pool, sippy cups, milk, baby snacks, noise machine, baby monitor, all of his toys (just in case), his stroller, his jogging stroller, his sneakers, his sandals, his Red Sox cap, his beach hat, sunblock and every other thing you can imagine. And then, come to the realization that you’ll forget something very important.
BEFORE: Save most of the vacation budget for beer, food and snacks.
AFTER: Just get a six-pack for the week. Spend the rest of the money on milk, strawberries, blueberries, oranges and Gerber Puffs.
BEFORE: It doesn’t matter which bedroom I get, as long as the bed fits two (if you catch my drift!).
AFTER: Choose the bedroom carefully. Don’t pick the one near the bathroom because he’ll wake up every time someone flushes. He can’t be downstairs because that’s where people will be partying and they’ll wake him up. And don’t worry about those creaking bedsprings because the baby is sleeping in the same room and you stand a better chance of hooking up with a Victoria’s Secret supermodel than getting any kind of nookie on this vacation.
BEFORE: You pay no attention to anything concerning the house because you’re most likely drunk the whole time and stumbling around the house with friends. What’s to worry about?
AFTER: Upon first entering the house you scan the place like Terminator to perform a status check on all the potential pitfalls and danger zones. Put up a baby gate there. Make sure that door dead bolts. Take note of every creaky floorboard and door, so you can avoid it at all costs.
BEFORE: Upstairs, downstairs, outside…it didn’t matter where your friends were because it was vacation!!
AFTER: You might as well bring several pairs of slippers for people to wear so their footsteps will be silenced. Block off creaky door hinges with yellow police caution tape. Don’t allow the flushing of toilets past 9 pm. Limit the decibel level of all conversation to barely above a whisper. And every time one of those rules is broken, be ready to freeze and clench your entire body as you hope against hope that he didn’t wake up. Sounds very relaxing doesn’t it?
BEFORE: Feel like heading out to a bar? Go for it. Want to go for a 5 mile hike? Knock yourself out. Feel like getting drunk before noon. Tip that elbow! Vacation is grand ain’t it?
AFTER: Feel like heading out to a bar? HAHAHA! Good luck convincing your significant other to watch the kid while you fly solo and have a grand old time. Want to go for a 5 mile hike? Only if you can take the stroller, otherwise you’re out of luck. Feel like getting drunk before noon? Not with a baby you delinquent. Sober up and do some parenting. Sure if you have great friends who are willing to watch the baby for a few hours you can do some stuff, but for the most part that baby might as well be a bungee cord permanently attached to your leg. Vacation is grand ain’t it?
Basically what I’m saying is that you have to pack your entire house, break your kid’s routine, deal with rebellious behavior for breaking his routine, baby proof a whole new house, burden your childless friends with rules and quiet time, walk around the house PETRIFIED of making noise, and cringe every time someone moves. And yet…
I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
I’ll never be one of those parents who stays at home just because it’s easier. And since I’m lucky enough to have friends who actually want kids around on their vacations, I’m just going to count my lucky stars and try to enjoy spending time with them. And I’m pretty sure it’ll get a little easier as Will gets older. So if you’re pondering a vacation with the little one this summer, just do it. It’s a lot of hard work — you’ll probably work even harder than you would normally at home — but it’s worth it for moments like this.