I am wrapping up a trip visiting family in Oklahoma. It has not been the dreamy, joy-filled trip I envisioned. This is particularly frustrating to me because I’m a planner. And things don’t go wrong when I plan.
That being said, below are the 9 things that went horribly wrong when I planned this trip with my toddler. I’m sharing in the hopes that other parents can avoid these planning pitfalls. Or at least be amused by mine.
1 . Flight Times
In our attempt to save money, we compromised on the one thing that could have been a soul saver. Our flight left LAX at 6am. 6AM! It was hundreds of dollars cheaper to take this flight than to wait until a decent hour. So we got our frugal butts up at 3am, with our very confused toddler, got everyone dressed and out the door. Then we parked in a structure away from the airport, again to save money, and caught the bus. By the time we had reached our plane Chan had already been up for hours and was NOT ready to sit still. We were exhausted and our trip hadn’t even started. Next time I will spend the extra money and get a later flight.
2. Give in to the iPad
I wish I could be one of those parents that has creative ways to distract my daughter when she gets fidgety. And I do try! But sometimes the toddler beast cannot be tamed. Out comes the iPad. We loaded it up ahead of time with lots of Peppa Pig, Finding Nemo and Mickey Mouse Club House. This totally rotted her brain and she will probably flunk out of high school. But it was worth it to get a couple of hours of silence on our flights.
3. Plan for a horse show
When we landed in Tulsa, exhausted and ready to get to our hotel for a nap, we went to pick up our rental car. Or rather, the wind up toy car that was left in the Thrifty lot. Apparently when you try to be cheap on a car rental, you can end up with a Yaris. This car was no bigger than the trunk of my SUV at home. The nice Thrifty lady told me they didn’t have any other cars left because there was a big horse show in town and they had rented all the cars. The biggest horse show in the world apparently. To that I say, let them ride horses! And give me an SUV.
4. Bring your own crib
Don’t believe your hotel when they tell you they have a crib. They don’t. Or if they do, they’ve already given it to the person who checked in before you because your flight was delayed in Dallas for 3 hours. Then you are left with the option of buying a crib from Wal-Mart (then return it), ask a friend in town if they aren’t using their crib, or let your squirmy anti-bed time toddler sleep with you. Unfortunately, we chose the latter. Imagine trying to grab a chicken, then put that chicken in bed with you, read to it, sing to it, and see if it falls asleep. If it does fall asleep, imagine that chicken regularly pecking you in the face, or boob during the night. This went down every night for 5 nights. Trust me, bring your own crib.
5. Any pickup truck in a storm
We are potty training our toddler. So consequently whenever we go by a potty I encourage her to go. She usually doesn’t, but I try. While we were at the Oklahoma State homecoming football game, I took her to the beautiful, brand new bathrooms at the stadium. She peed. Hurray! Crown me mom of the year! Then we proceeded to brave the tailgate scene outside the stadium with our toddler. All was going great until the poop hit the pants. Yep. Right in the middle of all the football revelry of my alma mater, I found myself face-to-face with yet another poop pants situation (I’ll save that story for another post.) There was no way I was taking my girl into the over flowing porta potty. The hunt for a place to change her pants began. Fortunately my friend offered the back of her pickup truck. Is it flat? Is it clean? Can I drink a beer after? These were my criteria. The pants were changed and the partying continued. If you’re potty training be flexible about where you can clean up accidents, because they will happen.
6. Don’t forget your deodorant
Okay this seems like an obvious problem to solve. But for 5 days I kept saying, “I need to go to Walgreens and buy some deodorant.” And for 5 days, I forgot. So now I’m pretty sure I’m inventing the term “BoHo Okie”. I showered! But it’s not the same unless you can add that extra layer of deeyo for your beeyo.
7. Take grandma up on the babysitting
You will want a night away. And if grandma, or Aunt Amy or Cousin Rick wants to watch your kid for a few hours, let them! You will really enjoy the quick break to nap alone in your hotel room, or sit by the pool, or have a few drinks. For me, all are options.
8. Use sugar with caution
Every time we go visit family, they want to give our daughter some kind of sugar. Cakes, pies, cookies, sweet tea…you name it. But what they don’t realize is that sugar turns my kid into a vibrating screech machine. That’s right. She cannot control her bodily jitters and thinks it’s HILARIOUS to screech and yell at the top of her lungs. It is not hilarious. We keep a close eye on her sugar intake at home, but on vacation it can get a little dicey. So I say less is more. You have been warned.
9. Visiting family is not a vacation
I have to remind myself that whenever we go back Oklahoma to visit family and friends, it’s not a vacation. It’s a responsibility. I think that’s why I tend to go so cheap on things because it can often feel like a chore that we HAVE to do. We are always on the go from one house to the next and never really have time to relax like you would on a real vacation. I think if we ever go back to Oklahoma, I mean we probably will…eventually…then I will be willing to spend a little more to make it a bit more vacation-like. There is nothing more stressful than having a terrible flight, crappy rental car, no sleep, AND having to visit your in-laws on top of it all. A mom can only take so much!