“Let’s all go to Big Bear in April!” my family proposed.
“Yeah!” replied my husband and I.
That was around January, when April loomed far away, and the baby at 5 months seemed so much more mature than his then 2-month old age. Now, after having just arrived from our trip, I don’t know what I was thinking!
The weekend was plenty of fun which I’ll detail next time; we stayed in a huge house that could accommodate 26 people, so there was plenty of room to play hide-and-seek, Taboo and Guesstures. Plus I had volunteered to cook breakfast, and people seemed to enjoy my extra yummy scrambled eggs and pancakes. And the days when we weren’t traveling was enjoyable for him, who often smiled and loved being coddled and played with by everyone.
But a baby with a terrible history of naps and carseat travel just does not make for one happy camper. He managed to nap here and there, but never more than 45 minutes at a time (right before we headed home, he didn’t even nap at all!). And his first night sleep was only okay; he did go back to sleep whenever he woke up, but he still woke up three times. His second night though reminded me of his newborn days: he just wanted to be held to sleep! We tried all sorts of strategies, even setting him on the floor to sleep, but each time we lay him down, he’d wake up and would only hush up once picked up. Somehow his dad managed to get him to sleep; I have no idea how because I had conked out long before the baby did. As you may surmise, my husband and I were even more sleep-deprived than we normally are, if that’s even possible.
You know how when you travel, there’s always that one item that you forget and really, really wish you had brought with you? For us, that was our radio and iPod player. He sleeps with white noise that helps us move around our apartment without having to hold our breaths. Well, we forgot to bring it, which was just fine when he was in his deep sleep state, but once he entered light sleep, any feet treading or any creak from the roof above was enough to startle him awake. I found myself shushing everyone in the house when he was sleeping, which wasn’t fair to the others, since people came to Big Bear to have fun, not to be quiet.
And then there was the travel. I thought traveling to my cousin’s house was terrible enough; nope, this one had to top it off. Whereas most babies love car rides and fall asleep the minute the car revs up, this one screams and cries all the more. He cried the entire way, both ways (minus the pit stops). Bad naps, I can handle. Even sleep-deprived nights I can yawn through. But hearing your baby cry and cry in the car and knowing that you still have 4 more hours to go is my reason why we just can’t take him on trips for a while. It was just horrible.
By Sunday morning, after having had a few hours of sleep splattered here and there, we decided to leave early so that we could get LO back to his normal environment and also away from the cold (I forgot to mention that he also developed a mild burn on his cheeks from the cold wind). I felt terrible, considering that people wanted to hang out some more and, more importantly, I had to inconvenience others because of our early departure.
As much fun as it was, I just felt like it would have been better if we had waited until he was older, both because he is not as easy as other babies to travel with and because people therefore wouldn’t have had to live with those predicaments for a whole weekend.