The Do’s and Don’ts of Taking an Infant on Vacation

[Baby Watch: Day 184]

I’ve received loving criticism from friends and family that too much time has passed since my last Baby Watch update. They tell me that it’s been almost a month. But they’re wrong. I have slept a total of exactly 8 hours between then and now, which means it has actually only been 1 day. A blog entry per day is pretty darn good!

In honor of Baby Oliver’s 6 month “birthday” (which Kristen is calling “Birthday 0.5”), I’m going to attempt to tell 6 stories over 6 blog posts in (approximately) 6 days (much more difficult than Kristen’s suggested 0.5 stories in 0.5 blog posts in 0.5 days). From vacationing with an infant to deadly diaper rash to mutant kidneys . . . Oliver is an endless well of ridiculousness.

Story #1

The Do’s and Don’ts of Taking an Infant on Vacation

DO: Go on vacation.

DON’T: Take your infant.

Shortly after Oliver was born, my parents graciously extended us the offer of using a week of their timeshare to get away from Pittsburgh on the cheap. “That sounds like a great idea!” we exclaimed to no one in particular. Then we thought, “You know, I bet a 5-month-old baby would LOVE to see the historic colonial town of Williamsburg, Virginia! He’ll get to enjoy a restored courthouse from the 18th century! Babies LOVE restored courthouses!” And off we went like a couple of buffoons.

But we didn’t get a baby who loved historic courthouses. We got an angry baby who was downright indignant that he wasn’t at home in his very own crib, with his very own modern courthouses. “Well,” we thought, “at least we know he loves water, so let’s just spend our time at the luxurious pool.” And off we went like a couple of buffoons.

But we didn’t get a baby who loved luxurious outdoor pools . . . because it was 60 degrees and raining. We spent a few sessions at the somewhat heated indoor pool, but it was often filled with large roving gangs of elderly Asian folks and always filled with mind-altering amounts of chlorine. After three days of miserable weather and almost no sleep, we just about threw in the towel and drove home.

But we didn’t drive home. We stuck it out, because it was vacation and we were determined to have fun even if it killed Oliver us. Eventually we got a break in the weather and made our way around town. We toured the lovely historic horse poop filled area of Williamsburg. We ate Welsh rarebit at a local tavern. We saw restored courthouses.

We attempted to make life as “normal” for Oliver as possible. I rigged the mobile from his crib  at home to hang over his Pack ‘n Play using a complex network of ottomans, footstools and medicine bottles. We entertained with the suitcase of his own toys that we’d hauled along (at the expense of most of the clothes Kristen and I planned to take; Oliver travelled with two suitcases, Kristen and I shared one). We gave soothing bathes as much as possible. (Note: By “soothing bathes, I actually mean we hosed him off in the walk-in shower, which he found to be hysterical.)

When “normalcy” didn’t work, we decided to distract the baby with shiny adventures. We ventured to the beach in Yorktown and put Oliver’s feet in the sand. (It was so windy that a 5 minute visit to the beach resulted in two days of sandy baby hair.) We visited my godparents in Virginia Beach and attended a sand sculpting competition. (I see a “sand” theme developing here.) We had several wine and cheese nights. (The wine was poured into glasses. Glass is made of sand. Boom. Sand theme.)

Looking back, we’re happy to have had the opportunity to take a cheap and easy vacation within the first year of Oliver’s life, because we realize that it’s a rare treat for many people. That said, don’t take an infant to see historical sites. At best it will be anti-climactic, and at worst it will be a total bummer.

This picture sums up our trip rather well:

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