Alright, so it’s not really our first family vacation. When Felix was eight months old, we headed to Florida to visit relatives. But traveling with an eight-month-old and a four-year-old are two very different experiences. One naps, isn’t terribly mobile, can be quieted with a pacifier, and contained in a stroller. The other is an uncontrollable bundle of emotion that runs around just looking for limits to test. So to say that I entered our vacation feeling a little trepidation was, well, putting it mildly. I pretty much expected the week to be one dark trip down the parenting rabbit hole, and even wrote about how we planned on managing the little guy’s energy during the trip.
What I didn’t anticipate was the many wonderful moments I’d experience. Prior to this trip, I clung to my pre-parenting view of vacations as rest periods, time for me to take in sights and culturally recharge, in between catching up on sleep and fresh air. The thought of doing that with a four-year-old in tow? Fuhgeddaboudit. I didn’t consider the family vacation as an opportunity to watch my son in a new setting, dealing with new people, places, and opportunities.
And while we had some down moments – days when only mommy would do, or that time a dip in the deep waters of Lake Champlain resulted in a panicked kid wrapped around my neck like a forty pound anchor – I present here are a few of the highlights for all those people who used to be like me out there, thinking that family vacations were going to be more work then they’re worth. Trust me — your doubts about family travel will be obliterated when your child rises to the occasion.