I love sharing the fun, adventurous experiences we have here, like going to Innsbruck and sledding down a mountain. I share all of this in part to document the experience, and in part to encourage others to do this kind of thing — to travel with your children, to push the envelope of what you think is possible, to explore the world. But, it isn’t all sweetness and light, and I want to share that part, too. I was so euphoric from our trip to Innsbruck when I wrote about it the other day that I didn’t include the other side of the trip, and I think it’s only fair to capture that part, too. Travel with kids is challenging. There are going to be moments where you think, “Why did we do this again? Wasn’t this supposed to be fun?” But those moments will pass, and it is fun, and you’ll be glad you did it (I am).
It wasn’t easy to manage the kids in the hotel room. It wasn’t super large, and of course, nothing is child proof. The kids tried to run and around and play as much as possible in the tight quarters, and we were terrified they were going to crack their heads on the sharp table corners, or pinch fingers in a drawer, or break the tv. At one point, Liam did manage to bonk his head on the radiator control knob. (He’s ok. It happens.) As opposed to being at home, where we’ve created an environment where they can have a relative amount of freedom (Liam is in a phase of climbing on tables and then standing up and dancing around, which Benjamin likes to imitate, so they don’t get a lot of freedom these days), being in a hotel (or even in someone else’s home) requires constant vigilance, which is tiring, especially after a long trip, or a long day of sightseeing.
Then, since the bedtime routine has been discarded temporarily and their sleeping locale is completely new, no one got a lot of sleep the first night. Both boys were up, at various stages, for hours. We all got to bed very early (since we were staying in one room, we all went to bed when the boys did) but it was a rough night. The second and third nights were better, but sleep disruption is pretty much guaranteed when you travel with your kids (and we didn’t even have a time zone change to contend with).
There are always public meltdowns and fussiness to contend with. Travel necessitates deviation from the norm. We were definitely off of our regular family schedule. We didn’t go back to the hotel for an enforced nap time, and meals happened whenever they could, and were made of what was available (and, unluckily, Liam slept through breakfast and lunch on two consecutive days — poor guy). We mitigated this a little by stocking our room, and our backpack, with snacks and milk (we didn’t have a fridge, but since the outside temperature was around freezing, we used our balcony as a fridge) but still, there were moments during our trip that each of the kids were unhappy – very loudly (and, actually, that very nearly goes for Dan & I, too — everyone gets tired and irritable when the schedule is off).
And then, this week, both boys are sick. Benjamin woke up on the second morning with a cough and a stuffy nose, which has gotten worse, and which Liam has picked up (I’m always asking them to share). Our week has yet to get back to “normal” — B hasn’t been at school yet this week . . . maybe tomorrow.
But, it’s all ok. We had a wonderful time. We will travel again — soon. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to seeing new places, sharing new experiences and having new adventures with my kids. These little things, though I want to acknowledge them, don’t come close to overwhelming the positive parts of our trip. We planned for what we could foresee, we adjusted where we needed to, and we were patient with the kids (and with ourselves). We kept our “to do” list short and flexible, and we opted for convenience and simplicity at times (McDonald’s for breakfast). We had a great trip, challenges and all, and I absolutely can’t wait for our next adventure.