Monday, July 13, 2009

Travel bugs

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page."
St. Augustine

My husband and I both love traveling. We have high hopes of seeing the world with our daughters one day. But at the moment, our kids aren't necessarily the greatest travelers, so does that mean that we should travel more or less? Our week-long holiday to Saltspring Island was glorious, but exhausting.

Our days were spent swimming in lakes, beachcombing, playing bocci on the lawn, wandering around the fabulous Saturday market in Ganges; wonderful activities all. The weather cooperated and our beach-front accommodation was second to none. The problems arose at bedtime. We decided not to put the two girls in a room together so that they wouldn't wake each other up, so Pip was in one bedroom room with Big Daddy-O and I was in the other bedroom with Crazybaby. This arrangement turned out to be WAY too exciting for our daughters, and not very exciting for my husband and I.

Pip napped during the drive down Island, so she was still bright-eyed at 9pm on the evening of our arrival. Perhaps it was our beautiful surroundings that clouded our judgement, but we made a critical decision that night that impacted the rest of our holiday: Big Daddy-O took Pip out for a sunset paddle in the kayak. It was beautiful to witness: Pip's eager little grin as her dad got her geared up for the voyage, my husband looking equally thrilled at the prospect of introducing his firstborn to one of his favourite past-times, the two of them on the water, silhouetted against the raspberry sunset; unforgettable! And of course Pip wanted to replicate the experience every evening. Who could blame her? What normal three-year old would choose bed over ocean-kayak-adventure? Certainly not Pip.

There was one night, however, that Pip was so exhausted from the day of swimming that she fell asleep by 8pm. That was the evening, as luck would have it, that Crazybaby wasn't the least bit interested in sleeping. At 10pm I finally ended up nursing her to sleep in my bed. HUGE MISTAKE. Crazybaby found it incredibly tempting to have her milk machine lying right next to her, so she latched on to me four times that night!!! Ouch. Every time I tried to put her back into her cot, she screamed so loud that I feared she'd wake up the neighbours.

By the fifth night, my husband and I grew to expect that we'd have at least one child stay up with us in the evenings. In fact, we would have been shocked to have any time alone together whatsoever. Is this our new reality when we travel? I think back to a trip to Victoria & spending hours upstairs in a dark room trying to get Pip to sleep while listening to our friends party downstairs. Then there was an abysmal holiday in a Vancouver B&B when Pip got the flu and vomited on every bed in the place.

Yesterday my husband suggested that we add a trip to Whistler to our summer plans. (I can feel the dark circles forming under my eyes just thinking about it.) Part of me supports the idea because I'm hopeful that our girls will become more adaptable the more they travel, but there's another part of me that wants to lower our travel-expectations at this stage of the game. To be honest, quadruple-latch nights don't really spell 'holiday' to me.