Vacationing with kids is so very different from vacationing as a couple. We used to be much more spontaneous – go where the wind takes us kind of people. Vacationing with children requires a lot of planning and foresight. I mean a lot.
My kids are three and almost two, so obviously I have to pack for them. I can only imagine what would happen if I tried to incorporate them in this task. I’d have a suitcase full of choo choo trains and cookies (you didn’t think they’d pack clothes, did you?)! Having to do packing for three (I let my husband pack his own clothes, a costly mistake as he forgot his swimsuit!) really made me hunker down and get super organized. Not only were there clothes for three, but there were snacks for four, toys, diapers, sippy cups, bottles – the list goes on! We did pretty well on this first trip, and with experience as my teacher I will be able to fine tune my system with each vacation. I think by the time the kids are in college, I’ll be a packing and organizing machine!
Anyway, enough about my developing packing skills! It’s hard to believe how much my little ones changed in just one year. My son is two and he had so much fun discovering the beach, from the tide pools to making sand anthills (that’s what they looked like to this observer) to discovering the ocean waves. Just one year ago this boy was intent on eating fistfuls of sand! My daughter, who is now three, experienced her first beach trip while I was pregnant with my son. She delighted at the ocean waves during what was her very last day as an only child. (Tip to anyone in the last couple of weeks of their pregnancy: walking around Boston all day might make you go into labor.) Last year, this same brave girl ran from the waves! This year, she and daddy explored the rocks and she was back to being Queen of the Waves.
I suppose vacationing with kids is in some ways more stressful than all of our vacations before kids, but in many ways, it’s definitely better. Just watching them as they experience new firsts and take such enjoyment and delight in the littlest of things that we, as adults, take for granted has been one of the most magical experiences in my life to date. I don’t think any vacation could be more amazing. And we’re still spontaneous, just with a bit more preparation, if you will.