Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vacation Schmacation

We have returned from Ocean City. It was beautiful, sunny, warm, perfect beach weather. That is, on Friday, the day we left. The rest of the week was freezing cold, gray, rainy, bleh. Every day someone would venture out onto the porch, peek hopefully at the sky and remark "I think it's clearing! I see some blue!" only to be blasted with an icy, misty, sandy ocean wind and come scurrying back inside.

I didn't mind so much. Emily is apparently stoically frightened of the ocean and of bodies of water larger than a bathtub in general, so she wasn't disappointed that it was too cold to swim. I say "stoically" frightened because there was no shrieking or crying or running away from the waves, there was just zero interest in getting any closer to the ocean than was necessary to access the beach sand, and flat-out refusal to be coaxed any closer to the water. She did love going to the pool even though she would only go in the first two steps, and any time we were not wrapped in towels shivering by the pool, she was asking to go to the pool.

Will and I were forcibly reminded though of why Emily has slept in her own room since the day we brought her home. This child thrashes, whines, cries, talks etc. in her sleep, then if she spots someone in the room with her, is awake and ready to go by 7AM, even though she reliably sleeps until 8:30-9 when we're at home. We were awakened many times over the course of the night by pitiful sleep-spoken sentences coming from the pack and play, like "mommy help blanket" and "watch a show", then at 7 (IF we were lucky), we'd hear giggling and "Mommy wake up!" and that was it. Emily doesn't have a sleep button. She actually woke up at 7 on Monday, 6:30 on Tuesday, 4:50 on Wednesday etc. We were DESPERATE for sleep, and once again, we could not take part in any fun activities like going out to bars with my sisters or playing games or watching movies because the minute Emily fell asleep, we had to go to sleep. This sleep deprivation was particularly difficult, considering I am exhausted already by the growing of another little kiddo to wake us up on vacation. We had kind of thought this crazy early waking up business that she did when we were in Bar Harbor was because she was sick, but apparently healthy Emily wakes up incredibly early on vacations too. This time though, it was too cold to go walking around with her outside, nothing was open for us to drive to, so we were forced to wrangle a toddler in a condo full of sleeping people for hours until it was a reasonable time to release her, thereby waking everyone up.

We did have some fun times though. Emily enjoyed the Kite Loft, playing on the beach (wearing a sweatshirt and pants), and she had her first carousel ride. When we finished, she pointed at the roller coaster next to the carousel and said "Ride that". I may finally have a roller coaster buddy! But maybe not, because once again, as soon as we got Emily out of the car after driving home from Ocean City, she barfed. Every time we have ever driven that girl in a car for longer than an hour or two, she barfs. EVERY TIME. So I'm thinking she gets motion sick in the car.

I guess family vacations from here on out are more for providing our children with experiences than they are for mommy and daddy to relax. Perhaps I am stupid for not having realized this already. But I guess I will have to work on not missing Emily so much when we go away, because it appears leaving her at home is the only way to get in an actual vacation.

So now I turn my attention to the trip we have planned in the end of August. If I don't let myself think about the details, I'm excited about it. We're going to Camp Gorham, up in the Adirondacks, which is the place Will went in the summer every year growing up. I've never been, and he's very excited to show me around his old stomping grounds and introduce me to people he grew up with. I am excited to finally see the Adirondacks, about which everyone I know speaks with breathless awe.

But now, we look at the details. It is an 8 hour drive up there, which is over twice as long as Emily's barf threshold. We will be staying in a cabin with a large portion of Will's mom's family, so we'll once again be desperate for sleep and desperately trying to keep her quiet every morning in a cabin full of people. There are apparently toilets in the cabins, but no showers. For those you have to walk a ways and share with the other campers, which sounds delightful considering the temperature is usually in the 40's at night. Probably the MOST annoying thing is that meals are served in a bit mess hall. Now this sounds wonderful to me...a whole week of having someone else making breakfast lunch and dinner for us! I like to eat as healthy as the next person, but when offered a prospect like that, I will gladly eat white-flour pancakes and hamburgers made with ground beef containing more than 8% fat.

Will, however, will not.

"We'll just take our own food", he says offhandedly. No big deal.

Right. We'll drive 3 people, all our stuff, AND enough food to feed a growing toddler (a lot), a pregnant me (a whole lot) and a healthy Will (you can't even imagine) 8 hours, to a place where there is no refrigerator? And then we will somehow doggedly prepare all our own meals in a cabin with no microwave or oven or stove while everyone else trots gaily off to the mess hall to have food prepared FOR them? All while making sure Emily doesn't wander off and get eaten by a bear or fall into the lake? Sounds wonderful.

And today, I find out that we're supposed to sleep in bunk beds in the same room as my mother and father-in-law. I have shared a room with my mother-in-law once before. I do not speak of this occasion, at least not on the internet. And that was when I was NOT a pregnant grouch and I did NOT have a toddler waking me up at 5 every morning.

I want to go. Just like I wanted to go to Alaska last year. But every time a trip is planned on that side of the family, things seem to get more and more complicated and stressful to think about as we approach go time. The 6 hour flight to Vancouver to get on the cruise ship (probably miserable with a 12 month old, but still in the realm of possibility) turned out to actually be a gazillion hour flight to Juneau with several layovers (I get hives thinking about trying to pull that off). A nice family vacation in the woods turns into "Oh yeah, and you have to sleep in a room with 4 other people, 2 of whom you are NOT comfortable sharing a room with. And you can't sleep in the same bed as your husband for a week. And there is no alcohol allowed". Not that I can drink, but it's the PRINCIPLE! I feel like I'm in high school again, but without the freedom because I also have a 2 year old to take care of.

I'd like to think I'm not a high-maintenance person. Sure, I love staying at an all-inclusive luxury resort as much as the next person, but camping and adventure travel can be lots of fun too. Anyone will tell you though, that taking care of a toddler, even in your own home on your own schedule with everything you need within arm's reach can be trying at times, and taking care of a toddler in the wilderness when many of the arrangements are out of your control can make you weep.

And call me crazy, but I like to sleep with my husband :-)

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