Monday, July 28, 2008

summer school

Last week was the first Falk family summer vacay and, I gotta’ confess, it felt more like an immersion program into toddler mommyhood rather than a little R&R for the ragged and weary.

Who knew that a 14-month-old could teach his mommy so much?

Lesson #1:
You can pack, you can plan, you can have a play by play ready for every second of every day, but if you forget to take the dang stroller, your child is going to put your strength to the test—physically, mentally, emotionally. “Hmm, just how long can mommy carry me before her arms and back give out? (about one round at Sea World, and that’s WITH the help of a rented stroller, which of course, Coop detested!!!) “How long will it take for my mommy to mentally crack from my incessant pleas to be put down?” (about 5 minutes into the first beluga whale show.) “How long will it be before my mommy looks to an 8-year-old and sees a saving grace complete with halo and angel wings?” (off and on every day for seven days … God bless you Taylor!)

Lesson #2:
Screw with a baby’s schedule and you’re gonna’ get poo'd on. Literally. Cooper reminded me this week that bath time is better left for the end of the day, so that it doesn’t coincide with his morning BM. Tub time and poo time. Um, eww!

Lesson #3:
Always know where the nearest walk-in clinic is! We spent precious hours on Tuesday trying to track down a pediatrician in New Braunfels before tossing in the towel and taking our coughing, fever-running, ear-tugging tot to the nearest doc in a box. Thank goodness we didn’t let our previously unsatisfying trips to Coop’s regular pediatrician deter us from taking him in … he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and lingering ear infections. Two Rxs and a day later, his symptoms were all but gone. YAY!

Lesson #4:
Never, ever subject your nearest and dearest friends to the pain that is sharing a room with your tot. A sleep-through-the-nighter at home does not automatically equate to a sleep-through-the-nighter on the road. In fact, chunk a child in his pack-n-play instead of his cushy bed and you’re pretty much guaranteed to be startled out of your peaceful, too-much-food-drink-sun-induced slumber by all-out shrieking … at least twice each night, and again at the butt-crack of dawn (or just before if you’re super lucky).

Lesson #5:
Vacationing with kiddos will never, ever be what you had planned, or prepared for. And, as it was in my case on a couple of occasions, you may want to back your bags and head home early. But there are moments where the pure and utter bliss outweighs the pockets of bad.

Somewhere between running out of juice and good-for-you-snacks and swapping in Gatorade and dippin’ dots, you realize that you’re on vacation. With your baby. You’re sharing in the holy grail of family-dom, partaking in the annual pilgrimage from home to destination theme park where excitement reigns supreme. Where it’s OK for adults to act like kids and for kids to act like, well, sugar-high’ed kids. Where it’s OK for mommies to let go of the structure and the fear and the expectation of gloom and doom and just enjoy all of it for what it is—a few days transported from the routine of daily life to something bigger, something better—the chance to take an adventure. The chance to reconnect. The chance to see your child, your hubby, your friends, yourself in a new light, trying new things. The chance to laugh, to love, to live.

The chance to learn.

Nope, this summer vacation wasn’t all sunshine and roses (the lingering effects of Hurricane Dolly nearly swept us away on Thursday), but it was the educational experience of a lifetime. And for that, I am eternally grateful. (Um, well, maybe not the poo part.)

p.s. All 170-plus pics to be posted tonight or tomorrow. =)


courtney said...

Oh no! I was hoping your vaca wouldn't mirror ours to Florida last year with our, you guessed it, 14-month-old Korley.

We didn't know until we got there, but she had gotten Fifths Disease and we spent some time at a doc in the box, too.

It was NOT a vacation, it was hard work. In fact, I couldn't WAIT to get back to Dallas and work and sit at my desk for 8 hours by myself in peace and quiet.

But, you're right---lots of lessons learned!

Andrea said...

Funny post! We just got back from a month-long "vacation" with the kiddos. Seroiusly, we are still recovering-and it's been two weeks! The lack of sleep, different schedules, lots of all equals fun chaos.

Welcome to the trenches! :)

SK4 said...

A. You should submit this essay to a national parenting mag! B. One minute he looks EXACTLY like Chris and the next ... just. like. you. Hugs to you ( :
Oh, sister, can I relate to your posts!