June 2006 – Vol. III, Issue 6
On a Personal Note: Traveling with my Tiny Ones
Last week, I headed off for a family reunion trip with my three-year-old and seven-month-old. Because my husband was scheduled to work all weekend (four days in a row of 12-hour shifts), we made the decision early on that I would take the kids alone rather than have him take so much vacation or try to rearrange his work schedule. I felt I could handle it; after all, I would have family around.
Well, there are definite advantages to having a spouse along on a trip like ours. For one thing, I felt a little uncomfortable driving through the deserted deserts of mid- and southern-Utah all alone with two little kids, so I arranged to caravan with my brother and his family. We took along the two-way radios, and the driving part worked out pretty well. However, coordinating the schedules of two nursing babies proved to be a bit challenging. One was screaming in one car and the other one was sleeping. We had to negotiate everything from gasoline pit stops to bathroom breaks to where and when to eat. A little more difficult with three adults and six kids than two adults and two kids. And boy, having someone to leave in the car would have been nice; there was a lot of buckling and unbuckling of carseats.
I had Paul’s help getting the car packed up initially, and although it took several hours and I felt like I was taking the whole house, we got everything in and I still had a few inches of space where I could see through my back window. However, I needed to memorize where he had put everything, because my husband has a talent for spatializing and I do not. Getting everything back in the car at the end of the family reunion was a bit of a challenge. Not to mention that our oldest ended up running off with her adventurous cousin while I was packing, which caused me several minutes of additional stress.
Then there was the problem of getting two children from place to place, one not walking yet, the other not completely understanding the danger of high cliffs and automobiles. The baby is close to 20 pounds, so carrying her around even in the great baby carriers that I brought became very tiring after a while. The stroller wasn’t always a possibility, especially when we were hopping national park shuttles in Bryce Canyon or hiking trails through slot canyons.
All in all, the trip was a grand adventure! Our oldest had a wonderful time with her cousins, and her little sister was a great sport and mostly cheerful throughout. Mom survived and really enjoyed the time spent with family. The chilly night in the tipi was a definite highlight. I was so grateful for all of the helping hands who offered to hold the baby while I needed to do something urgent and necessary (like go to the bathroom). Or to give my three-year-old a little something to focus on. I came home with some great memories.