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Family “Vacation”

Tonight, I got home from “vacation” and I feel like I need a vacation. The family that I nanny for was off this week, so Greyson and I had a few days to ourselves. Unfortunately, Matt had to travel for work, so the baby and I were on our own. I decided to head to my mom’s house for the week for a little relaxing vacation to visit with the family. I learned two things. First of all, visiting with your family is not exactly vacation. (No offense…. I love you guys…. But you’re crazy). Secondly, there is nothing relaxing about traveling with a baby, especially without your husband.

Matt’s flight out was scheduled for 6:00am Monday, so I figured Greyson and I would head off to my mom’s sometime mid-morning. I didn’t want to plan too meticulously so that I wouldn’t be stressed about getting out of the house at any particular time. We’d get up, take our time, and go. It sounded simple enough…

I literally started getting ready when Grey woke up around 5:45am. The next thing I can remember is sitting behind the driver’s wheel, sweating and cursing. What the hell just happened? It’s 10:00am – Seriously? Where did the last four hours just go? It was a blur. It would take way too much time to tell you the details of what went down during that four hours but I’ll try to give you a shortened version. It went something like this: me running sprints through my house, throwing clothes around, dragging suitcases through the snow, herding Greyson and the dog into the car, wiping tears (both my own and the baby’s). It’s a miracle that we made it out of the house. Finally, the dog was dropped off at the vet and Grey was resting in his car seat. I was on the thruway. I was also ready to fall asleep at the wheel. THIS is “vacation?”

Staying with my mom while my husband was out of town sounded like a really good idea. I wouldn’t be alone all week and I’d have someone to help me with the baby. What I forgot about when I made these plans is that while my mother is amazing and loving, she is mostly insane. In a good way. I have a baby who is extremely scared of most people, but he absolutely loves this woman. For good reason, obviously. I mean, she makes wild faces and funny noises. She’s completely embarrassing in public. She talks way too loud when she’s on the phone. She stomps around in her New Balance sneakers and yells at her dog when she barks too much. I mean, she’s hilarious. What’s not to love? The only way I can explain her is over-the-top extreme and usually close to overdosing on Diet Pepsi.  She’s the kind of mother who is generous to the point where if you mentioned you liked her coat, she’d remove it and insist you take it. I’m pretty sure I have never seen her eat an entire meal, but she has a kitchen full of food and will force you to eat as much as possible and take the leftovers home. I spent three days at her house and gained four pounds. Thanks, mom. But all in all, I know she’d do anything for me. Spending three days with her was the precise combination of wonderful and exhausting.

Besides trying to pack the 123,890 items a child needs while on vacation and enduring the madness that is my mother, I realized that another challenge of traveling is spending time in other peoples’ houses. Houses that are not baby-proofed. Looking back, like most foolish first time parents, I remember saying that I wouldn’t let our home become overcome by toys when Greyson was mobile. I remember saying that I wasn’t going to get rid of every dangerous thing in the house – I would simply teach him not to touch it. Well, let me give it to you straight. When your kid starts getting into everything, you will plant toys all over your house to try to distract him opening the doors of the fireplace and pulling picture frames off your shelves. You will lock everything possible –cabinets, toilets. You will move the garbage can into the pantry. Maybe you will even replace your coffee table with a play mat. If you are like me, you’ll do whatever it takes to keep your kid from trashing the place. Unfortunately, when you go to other people’s homes, they are not prepared for the kind of damage that a 25lb one year old can do in a very short amount of time. At my mother’s house, Grey emptied every single one of her kitchen cabinets about 47 times. He managed to put teeth marks in the wood on her piano. He even took a shit on her bathroom floor before tubby time. When we walked into my dad’s house, Grey immediately went straight for the fire burning in the fireplace, managed to get stuck in the Chihuahua’s dog crate, and shredded every magazine on the coffee table. A toddler can ruin things in your house that you didn’t even know you owned. It’s impressive, really. After chasing Grey around other people’s houses for several days, I was ready to get back to our baby-proofed place.

While my week was extremely busy and a little bit stressful, I have to say that it was awesome to be able to spend some quality time with the fam. As we headed back home, Grey slept peacefully in his car seat. Apparently all the action tired him out as well. Next time I go to visit my family, I will remember that the most relaxing part of vacation will be the quiet drive home.


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