Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We're back!

Our four day trip to Saugatuck, Michigan was relaxing and (mostly) a good time, but we definitely learned some lessons from our first trip alone with Z. (Since her birth, all trips have included relatives.) Here are the golden rules of traveling with a toddler, as I see it.

1. Don't count on your toddler napping in the car. Ours doesn't.
2. Buy a cheap portable DVD player and squash the guilt when you see your little tyke turning into a sippy cup-clutching vegetable in the car seat. It beats the alternative, trust me.
3. Book a room with a kitchenette. You'll make up the cost when you don't eat out three restaurant meals each day. And believe me, you're not getting that much enjoyment out of the restaurant meal when you're busy plying your toddler with crayons and books. We learned this lesson the hard way.
4. If possible, get a suite so you don't have to go to bed when your toddler does.
5. Stay at a place with a pool. Hours and hours of pure, shrieking fun for free.
6. Go to the beach. Z entertained herself for over 2 hours, busily moving sand from one part of the beach to the next.
7. Buy baby powder. It removes beach and playground sand like magic.
8. Embrace naptime. Keeping your kid on her schedule will ensure she stays an angel and you'll have some enforced downtime.
9. Keep it simple. I loved watching Z throw herself into the most basic activities: picking berries, taking a boat ride, swimming in the pool, playing in the sand and dancing to a zydeco band in the park.
10. Remember your mate. Z loves getting "mommy-daddy" time and attention, but she also loves seeing us enjoying each other's company. Or as she says, "Daddy kiss Mommy. Again!"