Tuesday, November 16, 2010

. . . had to get away

I have vacation on the brain.

It's probably because we haven't taken one since Nate was born, and we won't be taking one for the foreseeable future. We've gone to Georgia to visit my family a couple of times, and I took Nate to Michigan once to visit Arwen and her family, but we haven't done an actual vacation. And after those trips, I'm not sure that it's really do-able.

Ever since we sleep-trained Nate, he really has to be in his own room to sleep. The last time we were at my parents' house, we tried a night in the same room with him. He fell asleep fine, because we weren't in the room at that point, and we were able to creep into bed silently later on. But once he woke up and realized we were in there with him, he wanted us.

I think this pretty much means that we can't go anywhere and stay in a hotel. Of course, that would have been problematic even if Nate would sleep in our room; what would we do, go to bed at 7:00 when he goes down for the night?

I know we could go and rent a cabin or a condo somewhere and give Nate his own room, but between his early bedtime and his naps, I feel like we'd be really limited in what kind of sightseeing or activities we could do. And, of course, my preferred vacation activity--lying beside a pool with a book and a cocktail--isn't feasible with a one year old in tow.

There are so many vacations I am eagerly anticipating taking with Nate and, God willing, any more children we have. I can't wait to take him to Disney World. I want to play with him on the beach at Kiawah Island and go kayaking through the marsh, looking for dolphins. I want to take him sightseeing in New York. I want to show him the Grand Canyon (and see it myself!). When he's older, I want to take him to Rome.

But how do you swing vacation with such a little guy? Until he's weaned, a trip away from him for any longer than a weekend is pretty much out of the question, and frankly I'm not sure I'd be ready to leave him for longer even if he weren't still nursing. So it's either bring him along or stay home.

Have any of you had successful vacations with a one year old? Where did you go? What were your accommodations like? Did you go with family or friends who could help look after the little one? Did it seem like your kid(s) enjoyed themselves? Was it all just more trouble than it's worth?


Dr. Maureen said...

Here's what you do: You get two adjoining hotel rooms. Whatever extra money you WOULD have spent eating fancy dinners and/or doing things out and about in town you spend instead on a second hotel room and the in-room pay movies. That way you don't all have to go sit in a dark quiet room from 6:30pm on.

The only trick is that a hotel may *claim* they will guarantee you an adjoining room, but then when you call to confirm they will suddenly say, "We can't guarantee that. We won't know until check-in." So make sure you clarify whether the adjoining rooms are certain or not.

Dr. Maureen said...

You can also rent a suite in an extended-stay hotel. Just thought of that. Just something with a separate bedroom of some kind, and an available television outside of the bedroom.

Sarah in Ottawa said...

We've done a number of trips with Teddy. They included:
- a week in Vermont when he was 5 months (I know that you hate VT but it's one of my favourite states to visit)
- a 3 week west coast trip, with several days in Vancouver, a cruise to California and 5 days in LA when he was 8-9 months
- a Transatlantic cruise which started with a few days in FL and ended with 5 days in Rome when he was 15-16 months.

We are also planning trips for next spring (a San Diego/Anaheim combo) and next fall (a cruise from NYC). And we might try to cram in a FL trip, as well as another VT trip and maybe a trip to the midwest.

I would be glad to tell you about it, but I don't want to clog your comment section. Email me at smacdo03 at gmail dot com if you'd like the scoop and I'll get back to you with all the pertinent info.

maggie said...

We took J and M to Disneyland last year, when they were 2 and 1. IT WAS A BLAST. But the trick is, as Maureen will attest: separate hotel rooms. Disneyland had a bunch of "family" hotel rooms nearby - two room suites. It was wonderful. And when we went to Hawaii this summer we had another suite. That time the kids slept in the room with us, but even then it worked out because during naps we still had a place to hang out.

Jessica said...

We haven't been on a trip since 2008, but are planning a cruise in February 2011 and (gulp!) taking Margaret with us. She'll be 20 months and cruise rooms are SMALL. Wish us luck!

claire said...

We waited till my son was down to one nap/day before we took our first vacation. (His bedtime and wake-up time are later; he goes to bed at 8:30 and sleeps till 7, so that made dinners out, etc much easier while on vacation.) We rented a house on Cape Cod. The first night he slept with us because he was scared being in a strange place. The next day he took his nap in his room, and that night he was fine going to bed by himself in his room. The rest of the week was a breeze. We kept him on his regular schedule and had long mornings for outings to the beach, and were able to go out to eat a couple of times and be back in time for his bedtime.

Patti Money said...

I have learned that vacations with kids are entirely different than they were pre-kids. Still wonderful, but different (for example, sleeping in until 10am really isn't going to happen). I also suggest booking a two-room suite (some of them are fairly reasonable). Plan your day around his naps and bedtime, and focus more on "being" than "doing". You might also look into resorts that offer baby-sitting services, so you and David could enjoy a night away from the room.

Lisa said...

We did a family vacation when Olivia was about 8 months old, but the WHOLE family was there, so that helped. We did have to share a room with her, and that has always been hard.

My advice on the Grand Canyon. Don't go until your kid is a teenager. Especially if you have more kids. We went on our honeymoon and saw two kids, about 7 and 9, taunting each other while their parents took in the view. They were standing near the edge (which is always close), and if their playful slaps on the shoulders had become shoves, one of them could have very well become a Grand Canyon fall statistic. It scared me to death. The parents didn't seem to notice. Idiots.

Sarah said...

Townhouse at Nemacolin. The Kid's Club has a nursery program, so you could even spend some time alone. (Alone just the two of you, or alone at the spa, or alone seeing Fallingwater.) And you'll have a kitchen, so you don't have to eat every meal in a hotel dining room, which always wipes the vacation-y glow right out for me.

Erica said...

We've taken Anna on three trips with us - two short and one long, two airplane and one driving. They were fine but yes, different than what you'd think a vacation would be before.
It's fun to do something different - it was nice to rent a house with our whole family...
here are a couple posts about our big trip to Maine:
You can do it!