So here’s the truth about vacationing when you have a baby — if you take ‘em it ain’t one.
We just returned from Disney World (you can quit judging me now for taking a 16-month-old) and this momma is tired. Overall it wasn’t what I’d call an epic fail. It is what I would call the cold hard truth of parenting — being one is hard. I’m not complaining. I speak the truth!
We actually took it easy the entire time. That was part of the deal with doing the thing we swore we’d never ever do — take a one-year-old to Disney. My husband is a self-professed Disney freak. Such a Disneyphile is he that I don’t know the man can truly count how many times he’s been. (If you know him you may think I’m lying. It’s bizarre but true.) My sister wanted to take her daughter (who is turning three in just days) and so we couldn’t pass up the chance to join them.
We’ve been to Disney twice in the last eight or so years with my sister and brother-in-law. Each afternoon as well skipped through the happiest place on earth on those carefree trips we would see the meltdowns. Epic screaming fits. Parents holding wailing toddlers promising them new cars or threatening spankings in an attempt to calm them. And in true BB (Before Baby) form we’d be all judgy — “that’ll never be us.” (eye roll)
But, that’s the thing about being a parent — you’re destined to befall all things for which you were judgy. So, if you haven’t taken your kid to Disney or tried to negotiate with a one-year-old in public you better quit judging or you’re so next. (BTW, never negotiate with a one-year-old. They are terrorists. If you pay the ransom once, you’re going to have pay it again … and again … and again …)
So, our plan was to just go with the flow. We made no plans (who am I kidding? Planning vaca is about as likely as me agreeing to eat Spam before the apocalypse.) per usual and we took turns sleeping in. We waited until after nap a couple of days before we even went. We reclined his stroller, popped the hood and meandered through the quieter portions of the park to let him get a little rest.
The greatest problem was the simple truth that our boy likes to walk and loves to run. He wanted out of that stroller. But, the crowds were thick and even a monkey backpack (aka kid leash) wouldn’t have done with that many people milling around. (And if you’re judging about kids on leashes I’d dare you to attempt a crowded mall or airport with a small child.)
So, he spent more time in the stroller than he would have liked. But, here’s the truth about it all. I’m glad we went. He danced to techno house music like it was Discovery on a Saturday night with glow sticks in his hands at the Magic Kingdom. He was in heaven in Disney Junior where huge puppets of Mickey and Donald put on a show that had him and my niece on their feet rocking out like it was a Stones concert.
He may never remember we went, but we have the memories (and the photos). In my overly analytical brain I decided that Disney wasn’t a waste because these are, indeed, his formative years. These are the experiences that shape who he will become. People claim far too often that this or that doesn’t matter because their kids won’t remember. But, if they don’t remember this age, why bother doing any of the extra stuff at all?
If he enjoys it and it’s a stimulating new experience, I count it in the win column. And while it would’ve been cheaper to just go to a techno club or a puppet show, the pics wouldn’t have been nearly as good. And he wouldn’t have gotten that super cute new stuffed Mickey Mouse.