Parenting is one of the few jobs that offer a non-stop schedule, which is why vacations are most important. I need those breaks, those vacations, to reveal another side of me to Jonah, so that I am not just a parent who is always “on”, performing my professional job.
I learned a few words on vacation.
First Magic Word: Snugli. The Snugli is a device that allows the parent—me and Sunday—to carry the child—Jonah—without having to use hands or arms. It is backpack in nature, allowing Jonah’s arms and legs to move freely while the torso and bottom are safely and firmly affixed to the chest of the parent. (Word of caution: if Snugli is used by the male parent, the swinging, kicking, thrashing legs could cause severe damage to said parent’s “region.” Watch out). To the uninitiated, the Snugli is a mechanism for geeks, a prop for those who wish to continue in their vast and dense nerditude. I once thought like the majority of society when I looked at the Snugli users of the world and sneered. I have quickly changed my ways.
As I walked through the airport terminal, I noticed that people were looking at Jonah as he smiled and drooled in response. I looked down and he looked up with a grin on his face that said: “Look at me. I got a pimped-out ride here and all the ladies are checkin me out.” As we walked through the terminal, I imagined Jonah with a velvet hat with a peacock feather in the side, platform shoes, and velour bell-bottoms with a white belt. My man was getting the attention he believes he deserves and he was loving it. I was enjoying it, too.
Second Magic Word: Large Stroller. Taking a baby on vacation requires a tad more than the usual two pairs of underwear, swimsuit and sunscreen I like to take on the other vacations we’ve been on. I know what you’re thinking: now that we have a baby, a little more packing may be required, and you’re right. To complete the hefty task of packing for Jonah and carrying the luggage to and from the airport, we requested the assistance of the 101st airborne division for logistical and on-the-ground support. That little guy has some stuff. I looked in his cabinet the other day and he has shoes. SHOES! My boy can’t walk yet and he has shoes. Why do we have something that he can’t yet use? Why don’t we just go ahead and buy him a toothbrush, a moped, and a shaving kit while we’re at it? Crazy. Anyway, the insanity didn’t stop as we packed for him, mainly because he still poops his pants, so we had to take diapers, wipes and tarpaulins to use while we clean up his bottom.
To save his stuff and our backs, the stroller helped a ton. We would throw J-Dawg in the Snugli and pile all the bags in the stroller. As we traveled throughout the airport, we would get scowls and nasty glances from people who realized that we had outsmarted them! It was great. We put Jonah on Sunday’s back and I pushed all the carry-ons in the stroller. Terrific! I was relieved while Sunday experienced back and shoulder pain from Jonah’s hefty size. Brilliant! Do you get the feeling that Sunday got the raw end of the deal?
Third Magic Word: Swimmers (and Floaties). Obviously, going to Aruba encouraged fun times in the pool and the ocean. Sunday and I can swim, but Jonah has not taken himself down to the “Y” for lessons, so we had to think of other ways to keep him afloat. Sunday bought something called lil’ swimmers that act as both diaper and swimsuit. I know that these products bring a sense of relief to the parent who absolutely MUST have her child in the pool by six weeks of age. My opinion differed somewhat. I don’t really know if everyone has this reaction, but when I see a baby in a pool I think one of two thoughts: one is, hey isn’t that neat? The baby is in the pool. That must be a wonderful time for parent and child to bond in the cool waters of love. My other thought is, eeewww! To be honest, when we took Jonah swimming in his lil’ swimmers, I couldn’t get the eeewww reaction out of my head. Although his cute little head and arms and legs bobbed up and down gently, I knew that the grunts he was voicing were not the usual, “Hey this water feels great!” grunt. He was working on something while he was in the pool and while the package said that everything would be fine, I doubted it. In fact, I was afraid that his little head and arms and legs weren’t going to be the only things gently bobbing up and down in the pool.
Now that I’m a parent, I recognize the value of taking breaks. At the end of Jonah’s third month, he went on vacation with us. We went to Aruba, and, to be honest, I had my doubts about taking a three-month-old child to a foreign island paradise. Bringing Jonah on vacation was great, though, and I am glad we did it.