We just returned from a trip to El Salvador to celebrate my husband’s grandma’s 100th birthday. (I know, right?) So that’s great and all, but let me just tell you this in case you don’t know: Don’t travel with toddlers. Just don’t. I know you think it’ll be fine and you can do it, but don’t. Really. Don’t do it.
Oh, I’ll make my case, just you wait.
Reason #1: Too much stuff.
She’s still in diapers, but we use cloth. But we had to pack disposables because we were staying in a hotel. And she has sensitive skin, so I can’t mess around with buying whatever diapers are available. So 45 freaking diapers take up a lot of room in the suitcase. And then there are the baby monitors. And the sound machine. And the stroller. And the toys and books. And the sippy cups. And the snack bowls. And the car seat. Seriously.
Reason #2: Too heavy.
My sweet girl weighs 30 pounds easy (that’s just popular opinion – we haven’t actually weighed her recently). She met a lot of new people during this trip that she was initially shy around and was in lots of places that aren’t necessarily safe for a toddler who takes her chances. What does all of that mean? I had to hold her. A lot. OH. And we didn’t buy her a ticket (again) so she was on our laps for the plane rides. Awesome.
Reason #3: Too sleep resistant.
Our first night at the hotel she didn’t fall asleep until 3AM. I am not even exaggerating. That was some version of hell, let me tell you.
The crib provided by the hotel was definitely going to cause serious injury to someone, so we tried to get her to sleep in one of the double beds with us. It went like this:
So tired… Almost asleep… Woo! Hello! That was a close one! Look – I can stand up! Hey there’s Mommy! Peek-a-boo! I don’t want to lay down! No! No! NO! (Insert crying and screaming here)… So tired… Almost asleep… Woo! Hello! That was a close one!
|Trying to put on her sister’s swimsuit.|
Put that on repeat for a few hours and add a sleeping five year old and two tired, cranky parents. So fun.
Reason #4: Too stubborn/independent/curious.
She refused to keep her shoes and socks on, except when she wanted to put them back on – by herself. The only way she wanted to eat anything? By herself. She wanted to do everything her sister was doing and would take her things to accomplish that goal. If she could almost reach it, she had to try – just to see what it was.
Reason #5: Too cute.
Everybody thought she was so cute and loved her so much that they didn’t care about all the things about her that were making my life hard. Ugh.
OK, OK, so that last one may have been reaching, but I think I have a good case here! Maybe – MAYBE – if you only have one child, it would be OK to travel with a toddler, but two? How does anyone with more than two kids ever go anywhere or do anything?? This is surely one of life’s greatest mysteries.
But basically what it comes down to is this: No matter what physical problems or mental stress we had to endure to take our family on this trip, it was totally worth it. We survived. None of us was ever in danger or had health problems or was hungry or without family to visit with. We are blessed and I know that.
The blessings in my life and the security my children have stand out even more when we visit a country like El Salvador, where there is such a great disparity among its population. Because while I was dealing with my stubborn, tired, chunky monkey, a mother in El Salvador – somewhere between the beach and the city – was doing this: