Thursday, December 15th, 2011
The term “family vacation” may simply exist as a hilarious oxymoron; especially when you have a toddler. While planning a road trip across Florida recently, my expectations were exactly where they needed to be: low. And as I expected, I therefore wasn’t disappointed.
Though it was very tough flying all the way to Sacramento with our son when he was only 8 months old, at least we had plenty of family awaiting us to help out. (My wife is the 9th of 10 kids.) But when you don’t have family to help soften the blow, an attempt at a vacation is simply that- an attempt.
Taking a vacation with a baby is like winning a free iPhone with a cracked screen. Or getting off work early due to inclement weather and then getting stuck in bad traffic. It’s like eating a trendy $4 cupcake but it being your least favorite flavor: Butterscotch.
Perhaps the best word for a vacation with a baby is “adventure,” which promotes the idea of excitement of the unknown and as well as the great possibility of setbacks. Here are 7 reasons a vacation with a baby is no vacation:
1. You can’t sleep in. Man, the thought of waking up lazily at 8:30 AM on my own, without a baby alarm clock is simply, unimaginable. Nice thought, though.
2. The irregular schedule throws off your baby’s sleeping patterns. We’ve been back for over a week now and our son still hasn’t quite adjusted back to not only Central Time, but also actually being able to sleep when he’s ready to.
3. You can’t ever mentally relax; even while you sleep. It’s more likely that your kid is going to wake up in the middle of the night. And while you’re awake, there is no pause button with your child.
4. You become stressed out about finding meals. When you have to synchronize your own hunger cues along with your child’s, while finding an appropriate restaurant to stop at, it’s not too surprising having driven yourself all the way across the Florida Keys without lunch. A sleeping baby in a car overrides the growling of two adults’ stomachs.
5. You and your spouse barely have time to talk to each other about anything other than the stress of the trip. When you do, it’s smarter just to fall asleep. So much for quality time.
6. Planning activities wears you out. You want to see all the cool tourist spots, but you also want to be able to relax. But you can’t relax anyway (as mentioned in #3) so it becomes easier just to distract yourself with the vacation activities themselves.
7. You become aware of the fun you’re missing out on as adults. So much for a simple date night at the bar of the hotel. It’s easier to settle for a bottle of Boone’s Farm from the gas station down the street, enjoyed in the splendor of two glass cups from your hotel’s bathroom counter.
But hey, this is what we know as normal now. I’ll sleep in when I’m dead.
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Sunday, December 11th, 2011
Last week our son Jack got to experience the beautiful state of Florida for the first time. Thanks to Chevy inviting us to test drive a Volt from Fort Myers to Key West, we stayed our first night at the Hilton in Naples.
The next morning, Jack decided he wanted us all to go watch the sun rise together, because he woke us up with just enough time to take him out to the beach right behind the hotel.
I’m not sure that I have ever watched the sun rise on the beach, but as the dad and husband, I figured it was my duty to make sure my son and wife saw this legendary event. If nothing else, it was pretty Clark Griswald of me.
We had the whole beach to ourselves. Since Jack always loves his bath time every night, we assumed he would love the beach.
He didn’t like the sand between his toes. He didn’t like the ocean waves rushing towards him. He is no beach bum; that’s for sure.
Jack preferred to ride on my shoulders the whole time, admiring the ocean from a distance.
He liked when the three of us started walking along the beach, encountering plenty of mysterious crustaceans. We saved the lives of several shelled creatures that had been washed up on shore during the night. Before tossing each one back into the ocean, I would let Jack visually inspect it for approval.
We even found a live sea crab outside of his shell, looking for a new home. Hopefully, I was doing him a favor when I scooped him up and threw him back in the water. I was attempting to save him from being eating by one of the many birds flying above.
As for the most unique seashells that had already been evacuated, they are now serving as decoration at our house back in Nashville. (Because of our last name, it only makes sense we should incorporate shells into the theme of one of our rooms.)
In the meantime, my wife Jill saw dolphins occasionally popping up in the distance (though it may have been the same one?) and would point them out to me just in time to catch a glimpse.
I especially enjoyed finding a live starfish. It made me think of that classic (if not cliche) story about the boy who walked along the beach throwing all the starfish back into the sea. He is approached and questioned by an old man who warns him he will never be able to save all the stranded starfish in time, wanting to know why he should even bother. Then as the boy throws another starfish into the water, he replies, “It mattered to that one.”
Turning the starfish over, I showed Jack and Jill its thousands of tiny moving feet, proving it was indeed still alive. I then explained to them (as if a one year-old had a clue what I was saying…) that a starfish’s stomach leaves its body to digest its food externally.
We had gone out to the beach to see the sunrise and to let our son fall in love with the ocean. Instead, Jack was terrified of the sand and water. At least he got a free lesson in marine biology, thanks to his old man.
To see more pictures from our trip, and a video clip of Jack’s first time experiencing of sand and ocean waves, indulge yourself in The Dadabase Facebook page.
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beach, beach bum, Chevy, Chevy Volt, dolphin, Florida, marine biology, Naples, starfish | Categories:
Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia