When a vacation isn't a vacation

Leah writes about full-time toddler management while on vacation.

Photo: Leah Rumack

Here’s what I remembered: Sunscreen, sun hat, books, toys, sippy cup, two rash guards, baby toothpaste, baby Tylenol, snacks, bottles, formula, blankie. Here’s what I forgot: A nanny.

Not that we actually have a nanny (a nice home daycare lady is our personal Mary Poppins), but when we recently took our 15-month-old Ben on his first family getaway to Azul Beach Hotel in Mexico, we quickly realized something about our easy, breezy vacationing days: THAT THEY’RE OVER.

Here’s the problem with trying to read your trashy novel while lounging on your palapa — there’s someone trying to eat sand, drink your mojito, rip your Vogue magazine and in general crawl to his untimely death in the pounding surf, interrupting all your relaxing.

“I’m exhausted!” I complained to my husband Jason, after Day Two of full-time toddler management. Ben was just over 10 months old when I went back to work, and it had been almost six months since I had to entertain him all day, every day. (It turns out that 15-month-olds are much more mobile and suicide-droney than 10-month olds. Also, they nap less!). Thank god we were at this small, groovy resort that caters to young families — hello toddler pool, kids’ indoor playroom and toy-borrowing program.

And while the goal of our previous lazy vacations was, well, doing nothing, as the three of us cuddled on our palapa while Ben happily fed himself all-you-can-eat chocolate ice cream, I realized our new goal is (sniff) spending time together as a family, something we already don’t actually do much of. I can only imagine what’s going to happen once we have to schedule around hockey practice and homework. But if we have to go to Mexico to bond, well, a family’s gotta’ do what a family’s gotta’ do.

Now someone bring me another mojito! My baby drank mine.

Read the full story of Leah’s time at Azul Beach Hotel in the August 2012 issue of Today’s Parent.