I have to admit I'm a huge fan of summer. As a former teacher, I would stare all year long at the date of the last day of school circled in red. I started the countdown sometime in October. Now that I'm a stay at home mom, my views of summer "vacation" have changed some. First, no one came on Memorial Day and offered to keep the kids until Labor Day, sadly (ok, I guess I would miss them a little). Here are a few more of the things that threaten to ruin a perfectly good summer.
1. Pools + Fearless Toddler + Mommy with a Newborn=Disaster So Captain Destructo thinks she's Michael Phelps. As a former swimmer, I'm pretty proud of her. She loves jumping into the big pool with her Daddy, going under, blowing bubbles, and all that jazz. I learned the hard way that going to the pool is an activity that requires more than one adult. Last week, we were playing in a baby pool (and by we I mean I was gossiping and holding the baby while she bobbed around and stole other kid's toys). She took a step in the water and lost her footing. Luckily I saw it happen and ran in. It was just like Baywatch, if instead of a hot lifeguard it was an out of shape housewife, and if instead of a buoy she was holding a baby. We all went in the water, dragged the Captain out, and that was the end of that pool trip.
2 The Sun I live in San Antonio, which is Spanish for "hotter than the surface of the sun." Or something like that, Spanish was never my best subject. It's like crazy hot here. All Captain Destructo wants to do is play outside. This involves 10 minutes of applying sunscreen to her, 10 minutes of trying to decide if I should put sunscreehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifn on the baby even though she's younger than the recommendation, putting a hat on New Baby, strapping her into the Beco Gemini, getting water for all, and then being outside for 10 minutes before we all want to go in and eat popsicles. If the pool wasn't a giant death trap that's where we'd be. 3. Actual Vacations As previously mentioned, the idea of a vacation with little kids is, um, slightly different from pre-kid vacation. You know it will be different if getting on the plane involves a double stroller, 2 carseats, Elmo DVDs, sippy cups, pacifiers, and a partridge in a pear tree. And that's before you get to where you're going. After this vacation, all you want to do is sleep, because God knows your kids haven't done that all week. 4. The Kids that are Out Of School Hey moms of elementary schoolers, I like your kids. Really. And I totally know that you missed your kids during the school year and they want to go to the playgrounds and mall playplaces and all that fun stuff. But still I manage to get irritated when all our go-to places to play are chock full of big kids. My already short fuse for playgrounds gets even shorter when I have to keep moving Captain Destructo away from overly helpful big kids (and I know I will be a parent of one of those big kids in just a few years).
5. Longer Days I remember loving the long days, when the sun doesn't go down until 10 PM and I could sit outside forever at night. But then I had kids. The progression of putting kids to sleep at night goes like this: 0-2 weeks: baby sleeps all the time. 2 weeks to 3 months: do whatever you can to get baby to sleep. Mine slept on me, on the swing, on the carseat, wherever. 3 months to 1 year: actually try to get the baby to sleep in their bed. Becomes more successful at putting babies to bed. 1 year on: Child does whatever they can to avoid sleeping. This involves suggesting they need a drink, a snack, a kiss, a hug, another story, and in the case of Captain Destructo, a kiss between each slat of the crib. Add to the equation the fact that it's still bright outside until an hour past bedtime? MY KID WILL NEVER EVER GO TO BED. 6. Self esteem Hi, my name is Kristin, my body image sucks. Also? I had a baby 3 months ago and, despite having lost most of the weight, my abdomen is all blobby and I have this weird skin thing hanging over my C-section scar. Also too? All the women who go to the pool at my gym are either (a) freakishly thin, (b) shockingly muscular, or (c) both. And even though I tell myself, "well, surely they don't have kids" they always come to the pool in their teeny bikinis with a flock of children in tow. I want to scream "did you give birth to those kids?! Do you ever eat or leave the gym?! And if the answer to either of those is yes please tell me what the heck you are doing to look like that." And then I keep my coverup on and sit under the pool umbrella with New Baby covering me up. The end.
So although I love summer, fall is looking more attractive by the day.
New Baby is almost 4 months old now and is just finger-lickin' adorable. Like sometimes the urge to eat her overwhelms me. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm starting to feel a little sad that she's my last baby (not sad enough to have another one, mind you). Maybe it's because she started sleeping through the night and I no longer feel like I am underwater all the time. I was thinking about all the things I'm going to miss about having a newborn and the funny things they do. Here are just a few. 1. The attempts to talk Captain Destructo and I like to try to talk back to New Baby in her language and it is so funny. She gets this super serious look on her face like she's saying something very important and goos and gurgles at us. My husband thinks she sounds like a wookie. I have to agree.
2. The surprised smile New Baby will look at me with this incredibly serious expression and all of a sudden she will gasp and break into this huge smile. It's so cute it makes my ovaries hurt.
3. The rolling over phase Captain Destructo didn't roll over until she was almost 6 months old, and I was so worried that she would be developmentally delayed that every day was like cheering for a football game-"Go! Go! Roll!" (or maybe a wrestling match...I don't know, I was too lame to be a cheerleader.) So I was surprised when New Baby rolled back to front last week. The funny part is she gets stuck on her belly because she can't roll the other way yet. So she grunts and licks the mat for a while until she gets rescued.
4. The kicking I love the kicking much more now than I did when I was pregnant and the target was one of my organs. Now New Baby kicks all the time. The funniest is when she's in her bouncer and she kicks hard enough to rock the chair herself. Sometimes when she gets stuck on her belly she kicks too-she looks like one of those windup frogs.
5. The grunting Oh, the grunting. Apparently babies (at least mine) must grunt when pooping, passing gas, trying to roll, and even eating. I love when I'm nursing in church (yeah, I'm that girl now) with the Hooter Hider on and you can hear grunting coming from under the cover. Oops.
6. The chubby cheeks and baby smell Post bath, before she's had a chance to barf on herself, I wish I could bottle New Baby's smell. It's the combination of baby soap, drool, milk, and overall deliciousness. Nom nom nom.
So as much as I complain about how much my boobs hurt and how tired I am, I do love me some New Baby. Even when she's awake.
1. "This toy's name is Elmo." I will now spend a million dollars on Elmo paraphanelia.
2. "If you're a good girl in Target, you can have a cookie." So now you get one every time we go anywhere.
3. "If you're a good girl at the grocery store, you can have a cookie." Ditto.
4. "This is called a cookie." See above.
5. "Ooh, let's get a little potty instead of a seat for the big potty!" I wish the little potty came with a disclaimer: this potty, when used, will be completely impossible to clean out without much gagging.
6. "Sure, let's put the little potty in the living room." Welcome to our home, friends. What's that over there? Oh, it's just a 2 year old trying to poop in the living room. No biggie.
7. "Why don't you play with Daddy's playbook while you sit on the potty?" And you will never spend less than 20 minutes on the potty at a time again.
8. "I think you need some toys." Yes, I actually remember saying this to Captain Destructo when she was a baby. I felt bad for her because she didn't have enough toys. Sigh.
9. "Why don't you give New Baby a hug?" And now poor New Baby can't sit for a minute without Captain D. smothering her.
10. "I guess we don't need to brush your teeth tonight." And now brushing her teeth involves me sneaking up on her with the toothbrush, pinning her hands back and trying to hold her still enough to get 5 seconds of brushing. Pretty sure she'll need toddler dentures.
Before I had children, I couldn't wait for vacation. The hubby and I could drop everything and go wherever our hearts desired on pretty much a moment's notice. We took the Eurorail through Italy, we went to the beach for the weekend, we even went on a Carribean cruise for a babymoon (sidenote: if you are currently pregnant I highly recommend the babymoon, as you will spend the next several year saying "sigh...remember when we were on our babymoon and well rested?" If you can swing it, I recommend waiting until after your baby is born as you will not fully appreciate the vacation without children until you have had them.)
And then we had kids.
We have tried to stay adventurous and travel since our kids have been born, but vacations have taken a whole new tone. I consider myself somewhat experienced since we have traveled across country in a camper (4 times), flown about a dozen times, and stayed in various hotels and campgrounds. Here are several inalieable truths about vacationing with kids.
1. Airlines hate your kids. That's right. You may be lucky enough to board early, but that's the only perk you'll get. Unless you count dirty looks as a perk. You will be told to put headphones on your one year old so no one hears her Elmo DVD, to wake up your baby and remove her from her carrier for takeoff, and to pay $200 for a seat that your 2 year old won't sit in anyway. I have heard horror stories about moms being told not to breastfeed on planes as well. Also, you have to take your kids' shoes off, put their Snoopy backpack through an Xray machine, and possibly have her patted down by the TSA.
2. And so do hotels. We recently flew to Ohio for a family party. We flew on a 3 hour flight (New Baby was a rock star) and then drove 2 hours (New Baby was a train wreck) and finally arrived, exhausted, at our hotel, whereupon we were informed that the crib we were promised was given to another family. Awesome. I stood in an exhausted, shocked state while my husband negotiated with the front desk. He eventually drove to Target and bought a Pack and Play for the baby. Not that this mattered much, because...
3. Your kids won't sleep. At all. I should revise this a bit. New Baby actually slept okay in her pack and play. Captain Destructo, however, was sharing a bed with us. Yeah. She basically jumped on the bed, sang, and yelled out random Sesame Street quotes for 3 hours until she fell asleep diagonally. She spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and kicking us in various special places. Forget taking a nap...way too much to do to be bothered with sleeping. Last week, we went camping where she again "slept" in a pull out couch, which also involved lots of singing and jumping on the bed.
4. Behavior may become "challenging." Due to the aforementioned lack of sleep, as well as the fact that Captain Destructo was eating junk food that she never gets at home, we experienced some tantrums that were mind boggling. Many of these tantrums occurred in public. We just tried to implement the same discipline as home and assume she'll sleep eventually.
5. Kiss your schedule goodbye. You know how we were making potty training progess? Yeah, not so much anymore. Also, New Baby was sleeping through the night. Again, not so much right now. I'm thinking we'll be back on track soon. Probably right in time for the next vacation.
Also, here are a few quick tips for not losing your mind. -Don't forget extra lots of extra clothes, diapers and wipes. -Pack lots of hand sanitizer. Airports are disgusting. -Consider the portable DVD player for the plane if your kid loves TV as much as mine does. -Bring a babysitter if you can. So wonderful to have an extra set of hands. -Find a hotel with a pool. -Remember to relax and have fun. When they are in college you can enjoy your vacations again.