We went for our second trip… and survived!

Exactly one year later from our disastrous Big Bear trip, we ventured out to San Diego these past three days for another attempt to travel. I can now report that LO can travel quite well. Some highlights from our trip…

THE GOOD

He didn’t complain too much in the car
We came prepared with our arsenal of books and toys to make sure that he had plenty to do in the car ride.

We stayed in atwo-room suite
Most hotel rooms are single-room suites which would absolutely not work with LO. We needed a separate bedroom for him so that we didn’t have to shut all the lights at 7:30, especially since we don’t even sleep until about 10:30.

He didn’t need any sound machines
He slept through both nights just fine without having to use any sort of white noise.

He slept in! And I mean, he really slept in!!
LO normally wakes up anytime between 6:30am to 7am. So imagine our surprise today when he slept in not for 15 minutes… nor for 30 minutes… but for two hours! The kid woke up at 9am! Or 8:50am if you want to be precise. He has never done that before. I guess someone was feeling the hotel sheets. The first morning, he woke up at 6:50am and cried for about two seconds before sleeping in some more until about 7:30am.

We swam in the pool
Thank goodness for heated pools! Since we were afraid it was too cold for the beach, we opted to swim in the pool instead, which LO seemed to enjoy.


Our hotel room had a full kitchen
Having the full kitchen helped us prepare LO’s food and milk easily so that not much was disrupted from his normal day. That said, he was still very much open to eating the food we ordered. We ate at a diner this morning where he got bored of the bagel I packed for him and instead reached over for the waffles I was eating.

We met up with cousin IR!
Speaking of which, we were able to have breakfast with my cousin IR who lives in San Diego. I was so glad I was able to catch up with her, albeit in a quick and loud restaurant (with young kids, the restaurant has to be quick and loud, especially with this one!). I wish we could have hung out more but any little bit of hanging out is good in my book!

Cousin IR baby sat for us
On Friday night, my cousin came over to our hotel after LO was sleeping so that my husband and I could eat dinner alone. Such a nice treat to be able to eat at a non- child-friendly restaurant meant only for grownups! And our food was delicious.


We stopped during the drive at a great library
In order to stretch our legs, we made it a point to stop halfway during the trip. Just our luck that Capistrano had a cute little library that has one of the best children’s section among branch libraries (nothing so far has topped LA’s central library’s children’s section. That place is AMAZING). They had a whole section of the library devoted just for kids, and within that, a huge room just for primary kids. LO got his fill of books, especially since he had slim pickings from the few that we brought with us for three days.


LO pet a donkey
In Old Town, there was this random sign about donkeys that we followed. We were completely alone with two donkeys who were both eating their grass. How random is that? I showed LO how to pet the donkey. No one else was there; no one to fight space for. And talk about up close and personal.

THE BAD

We couldn’t really see most of the animals at the zoo up close and personal
Our trip’s main event was the San Diego Zoo. The zoo housing non-domesticated animals and such, we really couldn’t see most of the animals closely. There were a few exceptions though. One was the jaguar. No, we didn’t pet the jaguar (imagine that!); instead, the jaguar was separated from us by a glass window. But he was pacing right in front of us, with LO pressed against the window with a clear view. We also were pretty close to the hogs (complete with seeing him poop in action), the llamas, the zebras and the giraffes (what an amazing sight to see giraffes in person! They are HUGE!). But the other animals were either too far off or blended in too much to their backgrounds for LO to pick them out.



LO got grumpy on Friday night
I have a few theories as to why this was: 1) long day of being strapped in a stroller at the zoo, 2) me not letting him stay to watch the elevators or the doors open and close, 3) hot, tiring day. Either way, he was a big grump the second night and I couldn’t wait to give him a bath and put him to sleep already just so that I could have some peace and quiet. Everything upset him, so I just had to realize that it was the end of the day, he’s put up with a lot of our reprimands, and he’s just delirious with tiredness.

The hotel walls are THIN!
I’m so surprised LO was able to sleep in the way he did because I sure had a difficult time falling asleep. I could hear muffled sounds from the neighbors next to us. Thankfully they weren’t doing anything outrageous, just laughing and snoring, but I don’t need to hear either of those sounds, especially when we’re early sleepers and they were up til probably midnight.

Overall, a great and successful trip.

I’m so glad that we can travel with LO now. He’s older, so of course it’s easier, but for a while there I was afraid that traveling with him would just be a nightmare. Thankfully everything went smoothly for us.

Next stop… San Francisco?

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Traveling with a baby is not easy

“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.

Sleep
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.

Travel
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.