12.20.2010

Baby in tow requires new approach to Disney vacation

As seen in The News-Review www.nrtoday.com

By the numbers:
Bags packed: 7  
Items packed for baby: 46 clothing items; 100 diapers; 200 wipes; 8 toys; 7 blankets; 1 stroller; 1 car seat; 1 portable crib; 1 Bumbo seat; 2 packs of formula; 2 packs of traveling toiletries; 12 Mum Mums; 7 pureed foods; 2 bottles; 40 bottle liners; 12 disposable bibs
Total miles traveled: 1,622 
Total pit stops:  12


                                                                      
Chris and I vowed that we would not be those parents that say they can’t go somewhere “because of the baby,” especially when the place is Disneyland. Instead, we are the parents that everyone looks at and says, “You are crazy for driving that far with a 6-month-old.” We like the challenge.

Driving long hours with Audrey was not completely uncharted water for us. Chris and I drove to Steen’s Mountain when she was 5-weeks-old for a summer camping trip. While Audrey handled that adventure well, I did not.

My electric breast pump died which forced me to get a manual pump that leaked breast milk all over the truck and gave me Carpal Tunnel, the mosquitoes and flies were swarming by the thousands causing me to stay in the truck protecting Audrey and myself and we had to sleep in a dirty tent.

The swatting and screaming from me created a chain reaction in wails from Audrey and then a fuming husband who after setting everything up, started packing it all back. 

That was the last big trip for us and possibly the last camping trip ever. This time around, we’ve got a 6-month-old, a suburban, five other family members and tickets to Disneyland.

The trip didn’t start too well. My sister got strep throat. It isn’t a vacation with my side of the family unless there is a stop at urgent care. My mom should have a punch card that after 10 visits you get one free. This caused chaos trying to keep her away from Audrey while sitting only inches away. By our arrival in Disneyland, she was all better.

We started early our first day and packed the B.O.B. stroller full of water, snacks, piles of Disney maps (even though we go every year) and tons of baby items. Chris and I right away began to realize that this wasn’t going to be like it used to.

No more running to the rides and cutting people off, no more staying up until 12 a.m., no more riding ride after ride after ride, and no more skipping all the kiddie rides and character visits. We were parents now. 

Days at Disney required someone waiting with Audrey while the others rode a ride, going back for naps and spending a large portion of time by the changing tables and feeding areas.

But after watching Audrey laugh on her first ride, gaze at the colors in the street and smile at the dressed up characters, Chris and I realized it was all worth it.  We may have to pack triple the amount of stuff, constantly stop for breaks and revolve our schedule around Audrey’s nap times, but this is parenting.  Traveling and the rest of our lives has become an entirely different world because of Audrey – and a better one.

Merry Christmas from the Happiest Place on Earth. 


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