Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guest blogger Three Bay B Chicks: Vacation what's that?

(Francesca guest blogs for us today from Three Bay B Chicks, take it away F) As I catch up with family and friends on the phone or in person, the inevitable question arises: “What are you doing this summer? Are you planning to go anywhere with the kids?” My response is always the same. “We’re just sticking close to home this summer. Vacationing with our kids is a ton of fun, but we thought we’d do something different this year and enroll them in a few local activities.”
In other words, I lie.

How we define a vacation has changed drastically for my husband and me since we had kids. The lovely trips from our past, where vacations were spent reclining on a beach with a drink in one hand and a book in another are no more. Instead, these delightful visions have been replaced with the realities of what it means to be adequately prepared and flexible during a trip with two young toddlers.

In my mind, any period of time during which I am supposed to be relaxing should not be proceeded by a flight with a toddler. And for good reason. I am still a bit traumatized by our last visit to the airport with my son.

Last summer, my husband and I decided that it was time to head down to Disneyland with the kids. I was convinced that we should not drive. It would be way too much time in the car for everyone involved, including me. I was determined to create as much of a stress-free environment as possible. My plan was full-proof.

In preparing for our trip, I made lists, I packed and repacked, I even shopped Target for handfuls of toys and surprises, guaranteed to keep my children occupied. Without a doubt, my two would be held up as shining examples for model behavior on an airplane to children everywhere.

In reality, we didn’t even make it past the security gate before we had our first major crisis. Given the airline restrictions, I explained to my son that he was welcome to carry his Mater toy truck through the airport, but that once we came to the gate with the men with the “magic wands,” Mater would need to take a ride through the ex-ray tunnel of mystery. It was going to be a new adventure for Mater. I felt confident that explaining the security procedure to my son would guarantee success.

To say that I was wrong would be putting it mildly. As Mater started to move away from our little group, my son got nervous. “They’re taking Mater! They’re taking Mater!” In a flash, he scrambled on top of the conveyer belt and attempted to retrieve his blue truck from certain death. I didn’t know what to do. Honestly, I had never seen my boy move so fast. I did what any mother would and dove after her son.

What a site! There we were, the two of us in the ex-ray machine, with only our feet dangling out. My boy was sobbing from the near loss of his beloved friend and I was awkwardly trying to remove my sunglasses, my boy, and the top half of my body from the giant tunnel.

As I nervously began to try to regain my composure, I turned to one of the security officers and smiled. “This type of thing must happen to you all the time, huh?”

“No, ma’am” was all the reply that I received.

Once we were finally on the plane and I was able to relax with a magazine for the brief 24 minutes of peace that my shopping at Target had earned me, I read an article that described how choosing travel companions is the most important decision you make before embarking on a trip. The story reminded me that I would be spending almost 24 hours a day, day after day, in close quarters with my group, so it's extremely important that everyone's personalities and interests mesh well.

I couldn’t agree more.

~
Ah Francesca, thank you for this reminder that parent's really DO have the hardest job in the world! Loved your guest post and now I'm off to read Three Bay B Chicks post today! Comment below about some of your worst travel experiences.

32 comments:

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the opportunity to post on your lovely site, Laura. This was great fun.

I am so glad that you have this time with your family. I'll look forward to seeing you upon your return home. Please let me know if there is anything more I can be doing.

My best to you always,
Francesca

Pink Peony said...

Francesca, you always crack me up. This was too funny. :)

Char said...

LOL oh my, in all my traveling I've never seen that either. How funny (though scary at the time I'm sure)

Multiple personalities.. said...

Oh wow! The part about Mater gave me a flashback to when my son was three years old, and they made him put his beloved puppy on the conveyor belt, and my son plastered up his crying face up against the plexi-glass around the conveyor belt, bawling over his puppy! That began my official hatred for airport security! I hope your vacation went well, my family and I just love Disney! Thanks for sharing! Have a great SITS day!

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

I seriously think there is NO FOOL PROOF way to travel with a toddler. You either choose to accept their irrationality and go with it or you decide not to travel. Because seriously, horrid toddler travel stories are not funny for a LONG, LONG time after the trip and after mommy grows back the hair she had pulled out.

Meg said...

Francesca, that was too funny!

Ronnica said...

I love the security officers' answers to your question. Makes me shutter at the possibility of traveling with kids. Someone better invent an instant transport before then!

Megan said...

LOL Hilarious! So glad it wasn't me. :0P

Mrs Cooper said...

Did you both really dive thru that machine??? I am so ROFL over here. I can't say I've see that either but I know you were so cool about it with glasses on and all.

Jen said...

I can tell you this, I will NEVER fly with my young children. Never ever ever.

Great guest post. Came over from the 3bay b chicks place.

Lolli said...

OH, yes, the joys of travelling with children. I have many a story to tell. Like the year that I flew with 3 young kids and a baby on the way. That was pure hell. Especially when I got to the back of the plane carrying the car seat only to have the flight attendant tell me I would need to take it to the front of the plane. Ever tried moving from the back of the plane to the front, pregnant, with 3 young kids and a car seat DURING BOARDING? Yeah, nice start.

Kameron said...

At least the flight from SF to LA is only an hour and a half! Tey making cross country trips with a toddler as crazy as Natey! My advice is a portable DVD. It is a miracle machine for me!

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

Francesca is a wise, wise woman! Yeah, we stopped traveling the last few years. Next year we just might try it again...if I feel daring, that is. We shall see...

Vacation IS supposed to be relaxing, right?!?!

Mrs. Nurse Boy

Scary Mommy said...

Francesca, I don't think I could possibly love you more than I do!

I am traveling for the first time in 5 years sans children. Ahhhhhhh... :)

Hillbilly Duhn said...

Mine probably would have let off one of those ear pearcing siren screams that cause your ears to bleed and he groped toward the machine....I would have been trying to shoosh him, and people near us would be giving us "Die" eyes as they knew they'd be seated near us on the plane...Never, never ever EVER would I do this to myself.

Hit 40 said...

Cranky security man!!! I am sure he sees things all the time.

We lost a shoe in the lion cage. The zoo keeper actually got it back for us. I didn't want them to but they needed to get it out so the lions wouldn't eat it.

I guess it happens. They were glad that I told them.

Kimmy said...

Oh wow...Poor poor Francesca! LOL I have yet to see something like that happen outside of television. Wish I could have been there...lol! Not to make fun! ;o) Believe me, I've had my fair share of incidents with my kiddo in public but it is always nice to see that I'm not the only one out there dealing with such things as this. :O)
Thanks for sharing!

Unknown Mami said...

Great post! We're taking our first trip since having a baby at the end of the month and I'm scared.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Francesca is a great writer. Another terrific post.
Thank you! xo

carin davis said...

Now that I have three children...travel and vacation do not have ANYTHING to do with each other! In fact they are polar opposites!

When Pigs Fly said...

You are brave travelling with a toddler period. Jumping through the x-ray machine is kind of scary but it seems you handled it in stride.

He & Me + 3 said...

No way Francesca...that was too funny. I am still laughing at the guys response to you. LOL

peewee said...

Umm....you went to LA while I WASN'T THERE??? Well, that's what u get. Karma!

lov said...

francesca,
that story was awesome!!
awesome i tell you!

Kathy B! said...

Nothing good ever happens on an airplane with little kids. Or enroute to an airplane.

I think I have gathered enough evidence to offer this as fact rather than opinion.

Debbie said...

Oh that Francesca can tell a tale! Loved the image of the feet sticking out the Xray machine.

angie said...

I can clearly see why flying is no longer an option......I'll have to write about getting through security when I flew with my twins alone when they were 4 months old.

Helene said...

Francesca, well, now I wonder which one of us is more crazy....you chose to fly with your little ones to DL and I chose to drive with our little ones to DL last year. I'm not sure which is worse...probably the plane because you're seriously trapped in cramped quarters with no escape. At least, driving on the road, my hubby could stop at every other rest stop so I could get out of the car, run behind a tree and scream.

Needless to say, we're not doing DL this year. We'll be driving to Tahoe and staying for a few days...and then I'll need a vacation after my vacation.

Nadine said...

That is a funny story Francesca! But I was glad it was you and not me in the X Ray. We're taking the kids to Florida this winter. Eeeek!

scrappysue said...

excellent story! there seems to be no fun in travel anymore, so thanks for the humorous tale! hope the vacay went well

Casey said...

Francesca, this is exactly the same reason why we won't travel with our kids. We get so much grief from our families for not taking the kids up north but there is no way we're heading north until they're at least a few years older. Thanks for the reminder.

Sarah said...

OMGosh - hilarious!