planning a mini vacation with our kids. The task is a little bit daunting for me - because our last trip was almost a disaster. We took a short road trip over Labor Day weekend, to attend a family reunion and visit some close friends who live too far away. We expected an uneventful trip. That was, unfortunately, not what we got.
I thought I was prepared for a vacation with the kids. It turns out that I was ready for some aspects of travel, but when it came to the unexpected - I could have used some tips. Traveling with Infants and Toddlers is not for the faint of heart!
You see, we arrived at our family reunion and Lincoln started acting weird. Anyone who knows my little boy will tell you that it's abnormal for him to come find me and lay his head in my lap and then not move for fifteen minutes. I started to worry that he might be dehydrated (it was incredibly hot), so we tried to get him to drink some water and I let him nurse.
Cue the unexpected: within a few minutes, he was throwing up all over the spare bedroom. This was at my mom's cousin's house - and I had never met her before that afternoon. Awesome.
We started worrying that he was suffering from heat exhaustion, so we headed to our hotel to crash and called emergency services to ask what we should do if his condition worsened. Thankfully, he took a quick turn for the better, but we spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies and trying to keep everything in the hotel room from being coated in toddler puke. Best family vacation ever?
If not for the heat exhaustion situation, I would have been prepared for an awesome trip. Here are a few things I brought along for a road trip with an infant and a toddler:
1. Movie Player and Headphones. We don't own a tablet of any kind (gasp - I know, right?), but we do have a mini DVD player that can be charged. I would prefer a player that can be clipped onto a seat back for Lincoln - I don't like that he is able to pop out the DVD or press buttons while driving, plus I try to keep their car seat spaces very clear of possible projectiles - but on a 4-hour journey, a viewing of Tangled may be the only thing that saves you from hysteria.
2. Small New (or revisited) Toys. Lincoln feels most comfortable when he has toy cars nearby. He always wants to hold one even when we go for a small ride. We keep a few in reserve for halfway through the trip when he's tired of all the ones he has seen so far.
3. LOTS of Snack Options. You can't bring too many. My go-to non-messy snacks are crackers or small cereal (aka Cheerios or Chex).
4. Books - including new ones from Target's $1 Section. Books have always been kind of hit and miss with Lincoln, but Addie loves them all. So I can just bring all of Lincoln's favorites and a few random titles and they'll both enjoy reading on the go. If you have a rear-facing teething infant, though? Be warned that she might chew them all to pieces while you aren't watching.
5. Lullaby Soundtrack. Because, if you're lucky, it just might lull those little ones to sleep for a large portion of your journey.
And, bonus: What to Bring in Case Someone Gets Sick While You are Vacationing.
1. More Extra Clothes than you can possibly imagine. For you, for your child, for your spouse. By the end of our two-day trip, I was out of things to wear. And I typically over-pack.
2. Favorite Blankets or Pillows. It was way nicer to snuggle my sick boy in a familiar blanket than it would have been to use something from the hotel.
3. Extra Pacifiers. This trip happened before we retired Lincoln's "me," so we definitely would have been sad without it.
4. If you use them, Pedialyte Pops or other hydrating liquid. Since Lincoln is still nursing, I skip the chemical/dye ingredients of typical hydrating products altogether, but I still sent Andrew to find a drugstore on this vacation, "just in case" I wanted to have some for Lincoln. I wasn't sure how long this random sickness would last!
It was an eventful trip, if not an entirely pleasant one. Thankfully, Lincoln felt just fine the next morning and we were able to go on with our plans. Hopefully this is not a sign for how our future family vacations may go!