Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Great Expectations

Before our baby girl was born, vacation was the ultimate escape. When my husband and I went away, we went all out. Fancy hotels, fine dining, drinks by the pool, spas...we were posh.

When my daughter was born, almost the moment after I returned to work I started day dreaming of us taking a fancy vacation, with high thread counts, room service and some pampering.

Fast forward 10 months to a vacation filled with pampers....

While vacation was still amazing to get away from work and spend endless hours with my two loves, it was different. Here are some things I picked up along the way that made my time away a little less stressful. And made it easier for the little summer getaway we just returned from. They deliver throughout the united states, and if you spend more than $40 there is no shipping. saved me an extra bag or two. We shipped a container of formula, baby food, and diapers all directly to our hotel so they were there when we were. Big life saver. (No, I do not work for them)

Choose your hotel carefully. If you have a choice, try to stay somewhere with some mini-kitchen conveniences. Heating a bottle...warming cereal...storing yogurt or cheese are all things ido know on a regular basis and without a microwave and mini-fridge I think it would be hard to keep up to my little one's demands.

Choosing the hotel carefully also goes back to what kind of place it is. Do they have a pool that is not "adults only"? What about restaurants that don't require a specific dress code? We made the mistake of one night going out too late, and at too fancy of a place, and the night was so stressful, I almost wanted to go home.

Dining. Bring all your dining out tricks and pull them out carefully! Have books, blocks, soft toys, crayons and paper are great too. Be careful not to show all of your tricks too quickly, or you risk a disaster by the time your entree arrives. If your child is eating table food, you may want to order for him or her first. And by all means, see if you get get your baby to try what you're eating (never works for me, but that's a whole other story)!

Embrace your inner child. On our most recent vacation, we spent a few days at the Jersey Shore. We built sand castles, looked for shells and just let the waves crash at our feet. We searched for the most toddler friendly activities, sought out playgrounds, and natural habitats that would engage our daughters sense of adventure. It had been a while since I had wanted to hit up one of the infamous boardwalks...but seeing my little girl's face light up with all the sites and sounds will certainly have us returning to the scene again and again.

Most importantly, adjust your expectations. Unless you don't mind your child having meltdowns all day, every day, embrace naps times and honor bed times as much as possible. We found ourselves waking at 5a on both trips we've taken, a full hour earlier than usual, but we have tried to readjust to the time schedule and get an early start on the day. Alternately, to staying together to do something, we also switched off who stayed back for a nap so the other could explore the grounds or sit by the pool. With a little child-proofing, your family vacation will exceed your expectations!

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