Family Staycation = The Cardinal Sin of First Time Parents

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In the summer vacation.Silhouette of a girl running in the sea.

As parents we strive to make sound decisions when it comes to our children. Some seem like common sense: don’t give your child sugar before bed, always leave your house with a change of clothes, no running in parking lots, don’t take your child to a restaurant past 7pm, etc. etc. As first time parents, though overly-cautious as we may be, we occasionally try to hold on to what little remnants remain of our past child-less lives. We deliberately overlook the intricacies of daily routine and the peace of mind it offers us and decide (while good and sober) to do something totally out of the ordinary. Two words: BIG MISTAKE.

Don’t get me wrong, these outright stupid decisions that leave us psychologically tainted and scarred for life are made with no ill-intent. In fact, we even psyche ourselves up by rationalizing them: “Hey, it’s only for a day. Let’s just go with the flow. It’ll be great, it’ll be fun!” Yeah fucking right!!! The only thing flowing when you have a toddler is the stream of sweat running down your body from chasing the little bugger around all day. No respectable toddler mom is like, “I’m just gunna sit here and sip my wine while my child climbs that questionable apparatus and risks splitting her head open in the process.” At least not in my world, in which my child shows signs of a promising future in the Circus world and often has me looking like I just completed a half-marathon in civilian clothing. Whatever possessed me to think I could “go with the flow” is beyond me.

What really gets me is that I tend to think of myself as one of those exemplary mothers that puts her child’s needs (and my sanity) above all else. I also consider myself pretty grounded and accepting of the fact that my child requires a tremendous amount of attention and discipline in her life because she is, to put it lightly, crazy. With that said, I also happen to be well aware that I am married to a man that loves to have a good time, and for the past two years we have completely neglected his birthday on the basis of having above mentioned effervescent offspring.  Being the good wife that I am, I thought it would be nice to “get away” for a change. I figured we might as well take a break from our day-to-day and spoil ourselves by checking into a nice hotel for the weekend. After all, we owe him two celebrations. Why not? I’ll tell you why not…

The weekend festivities got off to a rolling start. We decided to venture out for a family lunch at a much hyped-up taco place (Margs anyone?) before checking in. Half-way through lunch the heavens opened and spewed out more water than Poseidon on a bad day, meanwhile my daughter thought it’d be a great time to take a stroll along the road and kept sneaking out of our booth and bolting for the door. Signs of things to come. We managed to get through lunch without too much disaster and headed for the hotel in what seemed to be a tropical Typhoon. Here’s what the next 24 hours looked like (please note: I am not making any of this up):

  • 4pm: Check in and head to hotel room. Sweet, we have a balcony! Oh wait, what’s that shriek I hear? That would be my 2 year old daughter who completely disregarded the warning I had just given her regarding the step she tripped over and head dove from the balcony into the room. Rug burn is a bitch.
  • 5pm: Typhoon has passed, beach stroll time! “But first, let’s have a cocktail!” We actually said this, only to realize once at the pool bar that cocktails require sitting at a bar, which children are obviously not allowed much less physically able to do (try timing the amount of time a toddler will actually sit still, I bet money you won’t make it past the minute mark). No problem, we shall prevail…cocktails to go please! Only wait, my child has a thing with textures, so sand poses a problem which means…there’s goes my cocktail flying through the air for the seagulls to enjoy. I want to cry.
  • 7pm: After a quick wardrobe change we head down to the lobby for dinner. Yes, the lobby. As became evident upon check-in, dining options are limited when traveling with a human wind-up toy. Luckily, the sushi bar does not discriminate and we are able to sit at a small table a good 20 feet from any other hotel guests. First score of the night! Woop woop…Beers and sake for all, and by that I mean my hubs and I.
  • 7:25pm: My child is bored. Let the parading from table to table, interrupting random strangers begin. One parent must sacrifice their sake and beer intake to accompany her.
  • 7:35pm: Food arrives. Sushi, she loves sushi! But tonight she decides she would prefer to eat wasabi-crusted peas and pretzels. Fuck it, let her feast.
  • 7:55pm: She’s bored again…time to go pick-up the yellow ‘Wet Floor’ sign, head over to the lady quietly sitting in the corner and proceed to SMACK her with the sign. Twice. Yes, she did this. No, I am not exaggerating.
  • 7:56pm: Check Please!
  • 8pm: Back in the safety of our hotel room and just in time for bedtime. We are rock star parents. Let’s celebrate by letting her take a long bath in the jacuzzi (our house is tub-free, so this is a novelty people!)
  • 9pm: Attempt #57 at getting her out of the tub has failed. She looks like the shriveled little man played by Brad Pitt in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’. Finally, I physically remove her. Cue tantrum.
  • 9:25pm: I have bargained with her. She will stop crying as long as I put on ‘Frozen’ while she falls asleep with her bottle. Only, she won’t drink her bottle because it is not warmed-up and we can’t watch ‘Frozen’ because the hotel falsely advertised there being a DVD player in the room so I didn’t bring our portable one.
  • 9:45pm: 20 minutes of arguing on the phone with the concierge, I have no DVD player and my husband has spent $14 on WiFi and $20 on YouTube to purchase the god-forsaken movie. Bottle is utterly refused, but at least she’s in bed, although not exactly lying down…more like running in place like a rodent trapped in a mouse-wheel.
  • 10:30pm: No sleep.
  • 11pm: Apparently children don’t need sleep. Ever.
  • 11:43pm: My husband asks for a divorce and claims he is not sure which was the worst idea he’s ever had: marrying me and procreating or agreeing to come along on this “staycation” from hell. Husband tantrum concludes with proclamations about the death of every birthday here on out. Signs of severe hysteria begin to surface, meanwhile I am dozing off as my child uses me like a Pilates machine.
  • Sometime in the wee hours of the morning: I wake up to realize I have a pint-sized human drooling all over me. Husband has also passed out. Sleep has come.

The only positive thing about this absurd up-all-night scenario is that the menace didn’t wake up until 10am the following day. This also meant she had accumulated an energy surplus that required no nap during the day and was still not exhausted by 7:30pm, the time at which she decided to showcase her incredible swimming skills by jumping in and out of the pool over…and over…and over…and over…You get the picture. You must be thinking, surely this child fell fast asleep as soon as she hit the pillow. The answer is no. By the time Sunday came I felt like I had been to a rave in Ibiza and had been sedated from the neck down. I could barely feel my limbs from sheer exhaustion and wanted nothing more than to crawl in my bed and stay there indefinitely. So next time you or any of your mommy friends have a stroke of genius and plan a weekend getaway with the kids, think of this post, buy yourselves a nice bottle of wine and stay your ass home!


StubbornTalesFamily Staycation = The Cardinal Sin of First Time Parents

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