Canceled Vacation Tales of Woe

Here we go, the perfect August free-for-all: your chance to make us laugh and cry with your stories of vacations canceled by work demands.

Being a good little workaholic, I don't often take vacation (okay, okay, so I'm actually on vacation right now), hence I don't have any heartbreaking stories of my own canceled breaks. But one August my husband begged me to try out a rented shack in East Hampton and I relented. After driving eight hours from D.C., we arrived at 2 a.m. on a Monday with our three kids (ages four months, three years and five years) in tow.

That morning at 9 a.m. my husband got an urgent call from the office. He wasn't even upset that he had to leave. He couldn't predict when he'd make it back, if ever.

That first day was okay. It rained the next day and every day until my husband returned. The lifeguards closed the beach due to a hurricane. My two older children got food poisoning and began throwing up on the hour; the four-month-old and I both got stung by a bee (me twice). I discovered that the charming shack had no kitchen appliances except for a stove. (in its defense, it had a fantastic organic vegetable garden and live chickens). I spent all day in the shack on a treadmill of cleaning up vomit, changing diapers, devising ingenuous time-consuming indoor projects for the kids, sweeping the shack, and hand-washing dozens of bottles, sippy cups, pots, pans, plates and utensils.

At 9 p.m. the night before my husband returned, after wrestling the children through baths and bedtime, I was ready to pass out myself. As soon as I hit the bed, one of my shack neighbors started blasting music.

I'd had it with vacation. I lay in bed torn between crying quietly and stalking next door to scream at them to shut it off. Then I realized the song blaring was one of my favorite Paul Simon songs. And it hit me: It wasn't a neighbor blasting music. It was Paul Simon -- I'd read something about him giving a live benefit concert at the local high school. (This was East Hampton, after all.)

I fell asleep listening to what felt like my own personal lullaby. The next day my husband (and the sunshine) returned and vacation resumed.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  August 4, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I'll take your ruined East Hampton vacation over my non-existant friends-getting-married-in-Boston-let's-make-a-weekend-out-of-it vacation that I won't be having this summer, not because of work related issues, but more like out-of-work related issues: No money.

Posted by: J | August 4, 2006 7:47 AM

Live chickens was an upside?

Posted by: PunditMom | August 4, 2006 7:50 AM

Sounds like Leslie's vacation is like most people's every day. Unfortunately, most of us do not "get away" from parental responsibilities on vacation, although going it alone after your husband gets called back to work really stinks.

I've had plenty of vacations full of screaming and vomiting kids, bug bites, bad accomodations and no sleep, but have never had a vacation called off or interrupted because of work. Perhaps we are not that important, but I think if there was emergency at work for either my husband or I we would tell them to "stuff it."

Posted by: cmac | August 4, 2006 7:55 AM

Why were there pots and pans if there was no stove?

Posted by: V.H. | August 4, 2006 7:57 AM

In my previous life (before children), I sent my husband and the dog away for two weeks to his parents' house in Florida so that I could work 16 hour days, every day, in preparation for a monster rollout we were doing at work. I took the first train in to DC and got the last train out. On weekends, I was there by 6:30 a.m. so I could snag a parking spot in front of the firm. Good times.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | August 4, 2006 8:01 AM

My family had to cancel a trip to a resort in AZ for my husband's work. They agreed to let us reschedule within a year, and kept a $500 deposit. Now it's been a year and we haven't been able to get back (all family out of state, not in AZ, and we had to use vacation for family biz). What to do? $500 is a lot to walk away from...

Posted by: mf3 | August 4, 2006 8:26 AM

I never go on vacation with my family anymore (parent/siblings) b/c my brother and SIL EXPECT to get out of all child rearing activities - b/c its THEIR vacation. But this makes my sister and I upset because my mother never gets to have any vacation - she's always watching their kids (ages 1.5 and 3.5) while they go out ans surf or go to a movie or whatever they do when grandma watches the kids. I feel bad - my mom just wants a family vacation, but ends up being the baby sitter while my Bro & SIL have a vacation, then my sister and I stay with mom and the kids to keep mom company, so we don't get any kind of vacation either.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 8:46 AM

When my brother and I were very young, my parents had to drive from Mexico where they were doing field work to Georgia where my dad was going to teach. So their summer vacation was driving through the desert in a Jeep with no air conditioning with two screaming toddlers. At several points during the trip (so I'm told), I would throw my bottle out of the car (no windows!). They would have to stop and comb the desert to find it or else I wouldn't have a bottle for the rest of the trip.

Last year, my vacation was spent in N.C. looking for a place to live. My fiance and I worked together for a government contractor in Bethesda and planned to move to N.C. and work out of their headquarters in Durham. On our vacation, we had to call in to a mandatory staff meeting. That morning we found out that they were dissolving our division and laying off several employees. We made the cut, but didn't find out until we returned. That'll put a damper on the vacation.

Posted by: Meesh | August 4, 2006 8:46 AM

OK, this is gonna be another banner day for the blog. I can just tell.

Off topic, why is it that women talk to kids in 3rd person and/or baby talk for so long? Mrs. Dad of 2 still speaks to our 10-year old in 3rd person...."Mommy has to go to the store, so you be good for Daddy."

Do2 would never talk in 3rd person because he finds it so annoying. Little thing? fingernails on a chalkboard.

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 8:47 AM

My sister told me it is because toddlers refer to themselves in the third person - same reason that Elmo talks like that (I believe he is supposed to be around three!) Not sure if that is true or not.

Or maybe people just want to be Bob Dole! :)

Posted by: To Do2 | August 4, 2006 8:49 AM

About the baby talk:
My two friends were raised by a mom who never used any baby talk. None. Not just third person talk and babble, but also nursery rhymes and sing-alongs. She used text books for everything and only spoke grammatically correct English with no slang from the time they were infants. Apparently it's called "hothousing" and it's supposed to make your kids super smart. Well, they're both lawyers and two of the smartest people I know, but one of them is more than a little unhinged. Maybe the baby talk is a good thing...

Posted by: Meesh | August 4, 2006 9:03 AM

I see the *@!$% timestamp issue appears to be fixed, too!!! YAY!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 9:11 AM

Going on "vacation" with little kids is not exactly a vacation, but, as my husband says, at leat on vacation we only have one job (taking care of the kids) as opposed to going to work and coming home already tired to take care of the kids!
Our children are now 9 and 5.5 so things are starting to get easier.No need to pack the entire house for a week end away anymore!
Having said that, the one vacation we have had where I really rested, enjoyed myself fully and hardly did anything was went we went on a cruise. No cooking, no cleaning, no organizing activities for a week!

Posted by: Falls Church | August 4, 2006 9:20 AM

My husband and I took a week and a half off to drive from Maryland to a wedding in the Great Plains. We couldn't fly due to cost, and planned to make the drive in three days each way, stopping numerous times daily for a potty-training child, and to see various things along the way. Of course, we had this approved months in advance and neither of us held a critical position in our company. A month prior, my husband's company got angry at the amount of time he was taking. (He was one of many customer service reps.) We were stunned, having had it approved months prior, and talking about it on occasion during that time. They tried to insist that we fly, so he could take less time off, and they went as far as to research flights for us. Needless to say, they did not offer to pay for our flights while insisting we fly. After my husband said we could not fly, and that he still needed all of the approved time, they backed down, albeit reluctantly. They held it against him though, and he left that company a few months later. I always maintain that if an employee is so incredibly valuable that they can't go away for a few days without the company falling apart, perhaps he/she needs to be compensated well above the average wage. My employer would have a whole lot of convincing to do to make me cancel a trip.

Posted by: PAmom | August 4, 2006 9:24 AM

To Falls Church: Your comment about packing the entire house reminds me of what my dad used to say about our family vacations....the Normandy invasion took less logistical planning and usually we took more stuff.......

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 9:34 AM

We recently went to Jamaica - with the 12 month old and the 4 YO. An all inclusive resort with babysitting from 6 mos. and a kid's club for those over 4.
The baby isn't so happy with strangers, so we didn't leave him much in the nursery.
And, for some reason, the 4 YO didn't want to go to the kid's club! I was actually shocked. He stayed there in the evenings (after dinner) for the movies, so that was some time for us.
But really, we played in the pool all day, I stayed in the room with the baby when he napped, someone else made food all day and cleaned up. So all of those things made it fabulous - when I didn't have to worry about doing everything, it definitely cut down on stress - even when we were with the kids, and even if they did misbehave, or were clingy or whatever, it was still great, because most of the worries were taken care of.
Towards the end, the older kid spent a little time with the other children. I"m not sure why he didn't want to before...

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 9:34 AM

Once, while I was at my former company, and my husband worked there as well, they told my husband he couldn't take a few days off - which meant that I wasn't going anywhere.
At the end of the year, it was 'use it or lose it' for vacation. And I complained - loudly - about that - hey! it wasn't my fault. My favorite time to work is during December when there aren't so many people in the office - and in any event, since they needed someone there and I didn't want to use any days, it works out for everyone.
So finally I was allowed to roll over my three days. I was SO annoyed...

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 9:41 AM

We are going on vacation with our 10 month old next week and I think I need a bigger car! Sheesh, he needs a lot of stuff. But I've taken off so many days for his various colds etc (I really don't think spending the day being barfed on should count as vacation!), that next week will be unpaid. Oh well, at least I'll get out of here.

Posted by: NewMom | August 4, 2006 9:57 AM

More on baby talk -

My parents didn't go for baby talk or children's books. There were tons of adult books to choose from in our house, but if you wanted to read anything else you found it at school or the public library.

I read THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH when I was 8 years old.

We grew up in a family of big time readers, so yes, sigh, I am a lawyer.

Posted by: June | August 4, 2006 10:06 AM

My only cancelled vacation had nothing to do with children or work.

I had made plans to go visit my cousin across the country (a visit I had made several times in the prior year). She had been my roommate for several years and we had developed a strong friendship as well as familial relationship.

We worked out all the details, I got my ticket, made reservations at a nice hotel, rented a car, scheduled a trip 8 hours north to visit our grandmother, etc. During each planning call she would regale me with stories about her new boyfriend and their mutual acquaintances. The week before I left, we talked again and she told me she was so sorry, she wouldn't be able to spend any time with me except for Wednesday night (I would be there a week).

It seems the new boyfriend and other friends were part of her new "alternative lifestyle" and she wouldn't be allowed to take any time away from their planned activities. Since I did't know the city I would be visiting, but it is known for it's crime rate, I was uncomfortable spending a week on my own without definite purpose for being there.

I haven't seen her since. We've spoken on the phone a couple of times, but it's been stilted and uncomfortable. I miss her.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | August 4, 2006 10:08 AM

I agree with Falls Church. I may not have a true horror story like Leslie's and others, but traveling with small children is hardly a vacation -- it's a trip and a change of scenery, but "vacation" implies you're getting away from the usual life responsiblities to take a break, recharge the batteries, etc. I love my daughter dearly, but as long as she's on the trip, it's not a vacation. And, boy, are my batteries low!

Posted by: PunditMom | August 4, 2006 10:11 AM

live chickens are an upside because they provide endless entertainment for kids!

this vacation, my 7 year old has done all the packing for the five of us (voluntarily). the clothes and shoes etc are all smashed into the suitcases but who cares? i didn't have to do anything.

it DOES get easier!

Posted by: Leslie | August 4, 2006 10:17 AM

On reading and baby talk:

My dad wouldn't let my mom use babytalk with any of us. She bucked him and used it anyway when he wasn't home during the day. I don't think it really affected us all that much.

We didn't have a TV when I was growing up, so we read a lot growing up. A great vacation, for me, must include access to a large number of books and unlimited, uninterupted time to read.

But... there are no lawyers among us. We are a comunications engineer, a graphic designer/EMT, a homemaker, a business manager, a mortgage processor, a med student, and a carpenter/handyman. We can do just about anything, except defend ourselves in traffic court!

Posted by: Just Sayin' | August 4, 2006 10:18 AM

Oh come on everyone, quitchyer whinin. It's still a vacation - it's just that there's a difference between a family vacation and an adult vacation. Just like everything else with being a parent, things have CHANGED and you're not the center of the universe anymore. Kids LOVE the kind of vacations that we hate - all they need is a vast supply of dirt and water and they're good to go. Take your kids camping and skip the expensive "shacks" in high priced resort areas.

Posted by: Realty check | August 4, 2006 10:19 AM

Baby Talk and 3rd person speak is helpful to babies for limited periods of time. After that is is just annoying and insults the intelligence of children.

Babies understand names before they understand pronouns. As I understand it, speaking in the 3rd person actually helps language development, but it should not go on for too long. My daughter is 20 months old and I suspect we will not speak to her in this way by the time she is 2.

Also, baby talk is used the world over in every langauge, babies respond to the sing-song voice when they are very young. No one should be speaking to a toddler or older child in baby talk.

Posted by: To Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 10:19 AM

I haven't had a vacation cancelled because of work, mainly because I haven't taken one in two years, but my husband has HORROR stories.
In his last job his boss would call him at 3 a.m. to make him come into work and fix something or work on some paper work. This women did not understand the concept of personel time. The night my husband and I got engaged, she called to make him come to work for something that could easily wait till Monday. He had no social life because she was alway intruding on it and when he would put in for vacation time she would "forget." He has since left that job, but when he quit he had a month and a half of vacation time stored up.

Posted by: Melissa | August 4, 2006 10:22 AM

As my wife and I say, when you take the kids along it's a trip, not a vacation. Still, we go on several road trips with them each year, to out-of-state relatives, camping, or a few days at the beach. You just have to plan a bit more than you might with just grown-ups. We round up a sack of books on tape from the library for road trips and, when the kids were younger, would stop after a few hours, find a school playground, and let them get some large muscle exercise. You always have to plan on extra potty breaks and figure out how to get them sufficiently snacked, whether on the road, at the beach or in the airport.
It really can be fun-- as long as they each stay on their own part of the back seat.

Posted by: wihntr | August 4, 2006 10:22 AM

My husband was in charge of loading up the station wagon for the family's annual camping trips.

One time, I realized that people in other cars had been starring at me for a number of hours on the highway. Mmm, I wonder what's so interesting?

At the next rest stop, I spotted a large, purple, economy size box of Kotex in full view of the wagon's back window. Thanks dear!!

Posted by: Marlo | August 4, 2006 10:28 AM

The thing about vacationing with a 19 month old is that he always seems to get sick or way off his sleep schedule, which means no one gets any sleep in either case. This always leaves me saying I am just going to stay home for the next few years, but of course that is not going to happen. But all in all, it is worth it because the kids do enjoy it and get exposed to new things and we get away from the daily routine.

Posted by: MDmom | August 4, 2006 10:40 AM

The third person speaking is helpful for small babies because the whole I - you thing is so confusing when they're learning to talk - the idea that you use the word "I" to describe yourself, but they're supposed to use the word "you" to describe you is confusing, it's better to use third person ("mommy" and "baby's name") to help them learn the concept that certain words mean certain things. I and you come later - my 21-month-old son is mastering it now. But I confess, I sometimes forget and slip back into 3rd person - maybe because it was such a conscious change in language, so now it's hard to switch back? But 10 years is excessive - reminds me of some of the teachers of young children I know who speak to all people as if they are the age of the children they teach (and I know this isn't all teachers, just a couple I know).

I've read that using other baby talk, like simplified words etc isn't good for babies, although using sing song voices is, but I would guess that like everything else related to babies, the professional opinion will shift again in another 10 years. We didn't do any other baby talk mostly because it irritates the crap out of my husband and me. Though we do sometimes repeat back words the way he says them when it's funny, but we try not to do it too much so he eventually learns the right word.

Posted by: Megan | August 4, 2006 10:47 AM

I've never had to cancel a vacation for work. I guess I am either unimportant or very lucky. I can say that on our first with our then 7 month old daughter, she got an ear infection and had to go to the emergency room. Before that she threw up all over me in am Italian restaurant. it was not very fun.

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 11:00 AM

When my kids were young, I thought that you had to take them on any trips. It's not a vacation with young babies. Being stuck in a hotel room while they nap is no fun. Getting sick is not fun and kids ALWAYS get sick on vacation. Also if you drive, you have to stop often. And if you fly, it's just torture. So when my husband has had really great away meetings (e.g. Hawaii), I've gone with him and left the kids with my parents. Good for everyone all around. I was fortunate that my workplace respected vacations (I didn't take many) but I did take my computer with me to get work done.

Now that my kids are school age, when I plan another vacation, I'll take them along. Airplane rides won't be torture (well maybe for reasons other than crying babies) and the kidszs are easier to entertain.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 11:14 AM

Sounds like your vacation from hell was caused by your having to actually take care of your own kids by yourself for "gasp" a whole week.

Next time pack a nanny.

Posted by: aww PBeebee | August 4, 2006 11:16 AM

No reason to be stuck in a hotel room while they nap. Put them in a stroller and go. They can sleep there.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 11:27 AM

I feel like we're stuck in an odd type of vacation rut here in the US. My husband and I (no kids yet, but hopefully soon) travel extensively around the world for work and pleasure and constantly see people from Europe and Asia board planes and take trips with their children.

I can't even imagine that a European would be accessible for the month of August, let alone that they would LEAVE their family to attend to work duties. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I have a great career, and yes, I might be a bit of a workaholic, but my time is my time. Period.

As for vacationing with small children- there are plenty of ways to make this happen if you're flexible. My cousin took his 9 month old to New Zealand for a month on a family trip. It is possible and I hate the fact that so many people pooh-pooh at the idea of a real vacation with children. My husband and I don't intend to slow our vacation style down one bit for kids; they'll be a great addition!

Posted by: Pack them up and go | August 4, 2006 11:31 AM

I totally agree with aww PBeebee's comment!

Also, when you take your children on summer vaca, that is the highlight of their summer. I adored summer vacas to the beach or Disney World or wherever and it made it even more fun that my parents were so excited and loved them as well. It would be awful to think my parents were having a misreable time with us on vacation just b/c they had to spend so much time with us.

Back to watching The View!

Posted by: southern belle | August 4, 2006 11:35 AM

Vacationing with children: it evolves. We went to FL to see my ILs one year and all of us were sick and it rained nearly the whole time. We went exactly one year later and had a fabulous time. Ha, next year, we could be back to poor health and weather. For me, I treasure the lead up to the vacation as my mental holiday and come what may when it is no longer virtual!

Posted by: bemama | August 4, 2006 11:39 AM

Traveling with kids is NOT a vacation the way people think "Ahhh. Vacation." My husband and I go all over the country with our kids (ages 2 and 4), but it's not exactly a thing we enjoy -- more something we endure, because we like to see family and go skiing, go to the beach, etc. It is disruptive to the kids' sleep schedules and flying is always a crapshoot because you can be delayed, but we're going to keep doing it. We're going to Europe next summer with them for the first time. It can be done, just expect it to be painful and/or embarassing and/or exhausting at times, and expect the kids to learn to cowboy up. My parents did the same with us, and my siblings and were all great travelers at a young age.

Posted by: Love2Travel | August 4, 2006 11:42 AM

OK, let me have it. When speaking to my 19-year-old, very bright, college sophomore son, I still sometimes refer to myself as "Mommy". Hey, it's hard to let go.

Posted by: Not perfect mom | August 4, 2006 11:42 AM

Vacationing with the kids is just different and going with the flow is so important. At our last vacation, while the baby was sleeping, I was FINE just sitting in the room (we had a suite, so it was like two rooms) and watching tv and just relaxing - with nothing else to do, while my husband just wanted to do stuff outside - which was fine - he went and did. Thankfully, we didn't take vacations after I was about 9 or so with the family - it was miserable enough having to live with them daily!

Posted by: anothermom | August 4, 2006 11:52 AM

awww not perfect mom; how cute are you, I bet you are a great mom! You are a mom and will always be and it's totally fine. I am 27 grown woman and still call my mom "mommy" and my dad "daddy" and I call them everyday!! =)

Posted by: southern belle | August 4, 2006 11:53 AM

My mom stopped the baby talk and referring to herself in the third person when I was still pretty young, thank goodness. What drove me utterly bonkers was how she would always make sure (in as unsubtle and public a way as possible) that I had gone to the bathroom before we left somewhere -- even when I was in college.

Talk about showing zero confidence in your kid's abilities -- at the age of 20 you're still checking on my bladder control??

She finally stopped when it was pointed out to her, but jeez! To my mind, that messes with a kid way more than age-inappropriate baby talk, but I admit I'm biased. :)

Posted by: Aimily | August 4, 2006 11:56 AM

I find that vacationing at the beach is perfect for my family. We just take it easy. We eat, play at the beach, nap, bike, go to the playground, and get ice cream every evening. We watch family movies at night. I have never cancelled a vacation for work. I live for my two weeks at the beach every August.

Posted by: Rockville | August 4, 2006 12:04 PM

Don't be so annoyed with your mother. My mother still does that to me also (and I'm 40). She also occasionally asks me if I remember to take my vitamins. At least she cares.

Posted by: Aimily | August 4, 2006 12:07 PM

On the vacationing with kids theme, I like what my parents did: Summer vacations were for the family/kids - Disney World and the beach. Then in the fall, when we in school (how convenient!) my parents would leave us for a week - 10 days and my grandparents would stay with us. My wife and I plan to adopt this kid/parent balance for our future family vacations.

Posted by: Michael | August 4, 2006 12:14 PM

I admire your attitude, Pack them up and go, but I will say that we all have to make accomodations based on our babies' personalities. My husband and I had pretty much the same attitude before our son was born, and it has pretty much worked out, but you do have to be prepared to roll with the punches, and to accept that there may be times when what your baby wants and needs is different than what you anticipated. We traveled for the first time with our son when he was 4 months, and have flown with him I think four more times since then (he's 21 months now). For the most part it's been fine - though a few horrible moments on planes. But even though he's never been one of those babies with a very strict routine, it can be challenging to make sure he actually does get a nap in somewhere along the line, etc etc. But because he loves exploring and meeting new people and seeing new things, it's generally fairly easy. My neice (15 months old), on the other hand, is a very routine-oriented baby, and a little more shy and reserved. Travel is a lot harder on her - she really is just happiest when she and her mom and doing their thing at home. It's been hard on my brother to accept this as he would like to be more adventurous with her. But babies all have their own personalities, and sometimes the best thing you can do as a parent is accept that.

Posted by: Megan | August 4, 2006 12:19 PM

My husband and I and kids (3 and 1) have never taken a non-relative-visiting vacation. (He did take me to Cape May for a lovely birthday weekend when we were dating, though.) Our kids' grandparents are all over the place: Michigan, Colorado, and Texas. This has improved since we pulled up our DC stakes and put down in Colorado near my parents. But, we could never afford to go anywhere else--in terms of money and vacation leave--because we had to fly to see the CO and TX family once a year or so. MI was drivable, at least. Grandparents started complaining about how we didn't come see them enough, which bugged the crap out of me!

My other pet peeve is that when we are vacationing--which, of course, means visiting family--everyone forgets that the kids need a nap. (Our kids are the first grandkids on both sides of the family, so people aren't used to this, I guess.) I don't expect everyone to put everything on hold for us, and I don't mind staying behind with the snoozers if others want to go do something, but we ALWAYS have to remind grandparents about this, and they act hurt, like we don't want to come on whatever activity is planned. If the kids don't get to nap, they melt down by late afternoon and make trying to do anything with them miserable, through no fault of their own.

Agreed that "vacationing" with kids is different, but I'm still glad to get away from the routine! At least my in-laws have a pool... :)

Posted by: niner | August 4, 2006 12:20 PM

Wow, do I feel sorry for the kids of those of you saying "it's not a vacation with kids".

I love spending time with my 4 year old daughter. She's a delight to be around. Of course I'm prejudiced, but I've heard it often enough from non-relatives, too. Sure, she will occasionally pout or throw a tantrum, usually because we have let her sleep or food needs go unattended for too long, but those are rare. She has a mischeivous sense of humor and can get the whole room laughing. Thank you Dr. Sears!

Our last few vacations have either been with grandparents, who may go off with her once while we have a parents "date night", but most of it is spent together, or just Ms. Avenger and the Little Avenger along on a business trip, with a couple of extra days before and/or after. Sure, the presence of other family members helps increase the amount of reading and decrease the amount of digging or sand-castle-building I do at the beach, but I would gladly take the same vacation with just my daughter.

Posted by: The Cosmic Avenger | August 4, 2006 12:21 PM

We have travelled with our three kids since they were all babies - it gets easier. And they are great travellers now too - able to entertain themselves and each other on long car rides and the older two are pros at flying.

In addition to seeing new places and meeting new people, I think travel in and of itself is a skill children should learn. My ten year old flew by himself to Space Camp this summer with no problems. He did have the requisite airline supervision. My 12 year old took a trip with his school for ten days to another country and did it just fine.

Our family is spread out and travel is a fact of our lives. We always took family vacations when I was a kid and it's a tradition we continue. However, we do try for a long weekend or short vacation kid-free once a year too. The kids love the time with Grandma and we enjoy the time by ourselves. Grandma seems to enjoy the time with the kids, more so as they get older, but perhaps next time we should board the dog.

Posted by: SS | August 4, 2006 12:23 PM

aww PBeebee, how incredibly catty.

Women like you give the rest of us a bad name.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 12:36 PM

Never had to cancel a vacation, though a couple of my former employers limited the times of year in which we could take personal time. One boss called me at 6 AM California time once to ask about a project. That was the LAST time I left a phone number where I could be reached.

My DH has gone from vacation straight to an out-of-town meeting, so I got to shepherd the rest of us home. Of course, he also checks in regularly for conference calls, emails, etc.

We started traveling with our kids when the first one was 8 weeks old -- drove with the baby by myself to visit the grandparents. I am so thankful neither kid tended to get car sick!! Now they are teenagers and love to travel.

We brought lots of books, small, neat snacks, paper and crayons for doodling, tic-tac-toe, etc. When we stopped for gas, we would find a grassy area and let them run around for a few minutes to get the sillies and wiggles out. Gas stops meant EVERYONE went to the bathroom -- no exceptions.

When we flew, we talked beforehand about how to behave on a plane. We try to hit at least one used bookstore in our travels to stock up on reading materials for the second half of the trip.

My parents used to keep a coffee can in the car for emergencies (whether it was carsickness or the bathroom). The prospect of having to pee in a can -- in front of four siblings -- was usually enough to promote bladder control until the next stop!

Posted by: Derwood Mom | August 4, 2006 12:37 PM

I don't have any vacation horror stories, but maybe it's because my husband and I don't have a lot of vacation time at our jobs and we tend to guard it pretty jealously -- because it's the only time we can get away from the routine and really play with our kids. The kids are 11 & 13 now, but ever since they were born we've tried to plan a 1- to 2-week trip that fits their ages and our mutual interests. Now that the kids are older they help plan where we go and what we will see while we're there. We try to find activities for all of our interests. This means we might end up with things that aren't high on my personal hit parade (e.g., a visit to a paintball arena this year), but they'd probably say the same thing about the art museum we'll be visiting. (Oh, this year they are also getting involved in the budget for the trip: a useful lesson!) The important thing for us is that we're all together, seeing new things, with few distractions. We also make a scrapbook of the trip when we get home. I'm surprised how often the kids pull those out and talk about past trips!

Posted by: sfmom | August 4, 2006 12:40 PM

A bad day out of work is still better than a good day on the job.

Posted by: workbecauseIhaveto | August 4, 2006 12:48 PM

Back to watching The View!

Being a SAHM must be so hard!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 12:52 PM

sfmom, your entry reminded me of some good advice I read in a newspaper article a couple of days ago. The author recommended that everyone sit down and chat about their vacation expectations--how everyone wants to spend time, what individuals *really* want a chance to do while you're there, etc.--before heading out the door. It helps to avoid hurt feelings all around.

Sheesh, I reread my last post, and I sound really anti-family-visiting vacation. I grew up doing this, too, and I love visiting all of the grandparents and travelling with my kids--a skill that is good to develop, as someone else noted--but I guess I'm just stressed out that we devote all of our vacation energy and resources to family visits! Hopefully, now that we see my parents a couple of times a month, that will change.

Posted by: niner | August 4, 2006 12:52 PM

southern belle, ignore the 12:52 poster and revel in The View. Being a SAHM is tough, and most of the rest of us here--SAHP and WOHP-- realize that and don't feel obligated to sidetrack today's discussion with cheap shots.

Posted by: niner | August 4, 2006 12:56 PM

Niner wrote: "southern belle, ignore the 12:52 poster and revel in The View. Being a SAHM is tough, and most of the rest of us here--SAHP and WOHP-- realize that and don't feel obligated to sidetrack today's discussion with cheap shots."

Hey, at least we're not talking about male endowments today!!! ;-)

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 1:01 PM

Megan, good to see you back.


I totally feel the nap issue. When we visit family they are so kid hungry they don't want to be apart from them for a minute, unfortuatly, my kid is three and is holy hell without a nap!

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 1:18 PM

So agree with you re: scheduling naps. We would fly up to NY to stay with family - who ALL had young kids, and they'd ridicule me when i asked if they could have their kids not screaming thru the house while my child (who had been traveling, in addition to not being two) would nap. As if *I* was the problem. I didn't think the kids HAD to be like mice - just that they didn't bang on the piano - they even COULD go outside at that point. That was so obnoxious - if my kid didn't nap, he would not be such a pleasure to be around, that's for sure...

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 1:28 PM

I've just taken the nap thing to a new level. If they don't comply, I'll just go take my daughter for a nice long ride, which means she usually falls asleep.

She is almost three, I have to correct myself.

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 1:32 PM

"Megan, good to see you back.


I totally feel the nap issue. When we visit family they are so kid hungry they don't want to be apart from them for a minute, unfortuatly, my kid is three and is holy hell without a nap!

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 01:18 PM"

I can relate. I get cranky if I don't get my nap, and let's just say I'm considerably older than 3!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 1:33 PM

atlmom -

I've been on the other side of it, camping with family who INSIST that their sons stay on exactly the same schedule they're on when they're at home and going to daycare 10 hours a day, so they'd make my children be absolutely quiet for 2-3 hours every afternoon and after 7:00 p.m. Ummm....we're on VACATION. LIGHTEN UP!! If you'd just go with the flow more often, your kids would be more flexible and they'd be able to sleep with a little noise and/or would be able to skip their naps now and again without having a complete meltdown. Don't punish my kids for enjoying themsleves and for being adaptable to different situations.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 1:35 PM

Dad of have an endowment? I gotta get me one of those! But what would I do with it?

I have worked on vacations with a laptop, but only because I loved what I was doing at the time and I got to save my vacation time for later. It was still a great vacation from the daily grind and it was BC, so I didn't feel guilty about not spending time with my son.

I've never had to cancel a vacation, especially not because of work and I don't have much else to add to the conversation.

Posted by: Working Dad | August 4, 2006 1:40 PM

When my family goes on vacation, I don't allow any ipods or personalized audio-visual devices in the car. However, everyone except the 4 year old makes their own CD out of our illegally downloademusic library.

I let my favorite daughter sit in the passenger seat and select the music while I sit in the back. Usually the trip starts out by me smacking my annoying son's knee and announcing, "Mommy! [Annoying Son] is past his border line!" Then my son and I will take turns tugging the oldest daughter's hair as she sits in front of us. When she complains, me and the boy blame to other.

Then I'll use my deep, virginia drawl to learn the baby redneck taulk. I'll say stupid things like "Why do ya always gots to end ya sentences with a preposition for?"

I wait and pop my first beer after 12:01 pm so I don't have to worry about turning into an alcoholic. That's when vacation family life really gets fun. My wife will complain about me drinking in the car and breaking the law, then I'll remind her about the music. We play the ABC game, the Ryme game and this gives the kids the chance to say "bad" words without getting in trouble.

Yes, I make sure we bring the empty milk jug. It works for us boys, but the girls have to hold it.

My poor wife!

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 4, 2006 1:41 PM

father of four,

I have to know, is your favorite daughter really your favorite or do you just say that?

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 1:49 PM

Fo4 wrote: "I wait and pop my first beer after 12:01 pm so I don't have to worry about turning into an alcoholic. That's when vacation family life really gets fun."

I had you pegged as an 11-count gin and tonic guy, myself.....

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 1:53 PM

Nah - I never thought anyone else should tiptoe around my child, partially for the reasons you mention (i.e., learning to do things out of the norm, to sleep easily, etc).
But when *my* family makes an effort to travel somewhere, so my child gets out of his environment and needs some rest, I think that should be respected.
Oh, wait, we don't visit my sisters anymore, that being one of the reasons...

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 2:01 PM

I bet Fof4 only has one daughter. I was the favorite daughter too and the favorite sister b/c I was the only girl.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 2:40 PM

I don't think anyone should cater to my kid either, but if I allow my kid to follow my Familie's schedule adn miss much needed rest after traveling, am I not catering to them?

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 2:43 PM

Nah, I bet Fo4 "favorite daughter" is the one that reads this blog.

I hardly ever post because I usually don't get a chance to read this blog until long after "close of business" and conversation has died. However, let me take this opportunity to wish Fo4's youngest a happy belated birthday.

P.S. to Fo4- your post about BF'ing (forever ago) made me spew my drink. It was your best.

Posted by: pro-nursing mama | August 4, 2006 2:48 PM

The timestamp might be working, but I just posted again and it didn't show up.

Megan- hope the bar went well.

scarry- when will you move? You'll still be a regular, right?

Posted by: pro-nursing mama | August 4, 2006 2:54 PM

Scarry, off topic, but my kids are "Oldest Daughter", "Favorite Daughter", "Annoying Son", and "Baby"

my "Favorite Daughter" is actually my favorite daughter and the whole family knows it. She happily does my laundry, bakes cookies, makes me coffee, and even pours the dressing on my salad . The wife and kids, knowing that she is my favorite, will send her alone to negotiate with me for family goodies such as dinner out, shopping, trip to the pool... I find it very, very, very difficult to say no to her and I pay dearly when I do. However, this is not the reason why she is my favorite. There is a moral logic that goes like this.

If in a sinking ship, this is the order of rescue:
1. favorite Daughter 2. Oldest Daughter 3. Baby 4. Annoying Son 5. Wife
I get rescued dead last after doing what I can for saving all the other women and children on the ship.

See, so there's a logic about "favorites" and it includes the sexists notion that females are more important than males.

I often ask the kids who there favorite is and they realize everyone can't be everyone's favorite. somebody has to make the bottom of the list, (usually me), and I think the kids mutually agree on each other's list and accept where they stand.

Now, if you talk about love, that's a completely different issue.

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 4, 2006 2:54 PM

Fo4- It would take forever to do, but you should collect all your past posts and start your own blog. You clearly have a following and I bet that a lot of the posts would stand on their own. Especially my personal favorites-- the woman who needed help and got kittens, the "milk dilemma", the pecking order....

Posted by: pro-nursing mama | August 4, 2006 3:02 PM

OK, off topic, but gotta share.
I have a six year old son who really likes pretty girls, especially older ones (ie women in their 20s). The other day, we were at a barbecue with my husbands very attractive 23 year old cousin, Carol, and her new husband. My son goes up to Carol and says, "I can be your boyfriend, if you like me." She laughs and says, "But I already have a husband." My son responds, "That's okay. I don't want to be your husband, just your boyfriend." I nearly snorted my drink.

Posted by: Rockville | August 4, 2006 3:03 PM

Pro nursing mama,

I'll still be here after I move, even though I annoy some people! Who cares right, some people annoy me.

Father of 4, I plan on having no favorites with my children.(although right now, I only have one, so I hope I can keep that promise.)

However, I do have a favorite nephew, even though finically I treat them all the same. I think it may be the same situation with him as it is with your daughter. He just plain likes me more, which makes me like him more. P.S. I really hope that annoying son is someone's favorite, perhaps grandma?

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 3:04 PM

I am going to get evicted for posting so much but I forgot to add the one about the answering machine.

Posted by: pro-nursing mama | August 4, 2006 3:04 PM

fo4's comment reminds me-- is it unusual for one of the parents to sit in the back seat with the kid/kids? We do this often, but rarely see others do it.

Posted by: Capitol Hill Mom | August 4, 2006 3:05 PM

Yes, I think I have a responsibility to 'cater' to my children, especially when they are under 2 and need naps.

I don't 'cater' in the sense that my 4 YO gets his own plates/cups/forks for dinner, but I do cook him his meals (but not on vacation, thank goodness!), until he can cook himself and can help out more.

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 3:06 PM

I have a friend who sat in the back when her kids were little and held up her daughter's head cause she was so freaked out that it leaned over when she was sleeping.
I see people do it, but since I am the adult and like sitting up front, I do it.
When we drive people around who can't sit in the way back of the minivan, I'll sit in the way back while they sit up front - and usually our 4 YO wants to sit back there with me. Which leaves the baby alone in the middle, and he doesn't much like that. I hope that changes soon!

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 3:11 PM


Who cares if it is off topic that is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. I especially like how he doesn't want to be her husband, just her boyfriend. You should send that into reader's digest.

Then again, on one of the other blogs, I was voted most annoying and you were my runner up, so maybe we just like the same things! :)

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 3:12 PM

My husband will sit in the backseat when we fear a meltdown. She loves it and he can play with her more easily (she is 2). I get carsick so that isn't really an option for me. I do much better in the front seat.

Leslie- doubt you are reading this late in the conversation and while on vacation....however, you should do a blog on:

1. child spacing (how that creates or disrupts balance)

2. favorites - came up yesterday and today, ways parents can strive for equality.

Posted by: pro-nursing mama | August 4, 2006 3:14 PM


I didn't mean "cater" in a bad way. I just meant that asking for a few hours of peace so a kid can take a nap shouldn't be looked at as harming other children and ruining their fun. I geuss I worded it funny, i am definatly with you on the nap thing!

Posted by: scarry | August 4, 2006 3:18 PM

scarry -

Certainly, if I'm taking my family on a plane to visit others, I do, to a certain extent, think that that those I am visiting should have the decency to not ridicule me when my child needs to sleep (and cater to me/my child for small things like that).

But maybe that's why their child is having so many problems. My sister keeps telling me that 'he just won't sleep anymore' when he clearly sleeps fewer hours than he needs - when I told her she might want to talk with the pediatrician, she actually said to me:
what's he going to do? How can he get my child to sleep any better than I can?
Well, um, he's worked with children, presumably, more than you have, so maybe he might have some insight. Maybe you wouldn't have to medicate the child (who kept getting kicked out of playgroups and can't play with others) - if you had other ways of dealing with his behavior, which quite possibly could be from the fact that he doesn't sleep enough.

Oh, wait, I digress.

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 3:24 PM

Father of 4- Hilarious!
and to SFmom- I think having the kids help with the vacation budget is a wonderful idea for that age.

back on topic- If I am vacationing for longer than 2 days, I will check my work e-mail. Other than that, people know not to contact me, my office won't blow up if i'm not there =)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 3:26 PM

"Sounds like your vacation from hell was caused by your having to actually take care of your own kids by yourself for "gasp" a whole week.
Next time pack a nanny."

What kind of ignorant comment is that? You can take care of your kids 24/7 and still find it stressful to be in a small hotel room stuck with a baby's schedule (naps, wake up early, go to bed earlier, etc) and not be able to watch tv late at night, sleep late, etc.

And somehow, strollers don't work well at the beach--they don't roll over sand very well.

There is nothing wrong with taking a vacation without the kids. I didn't realize that until my 2nd was born. Kids who are staying out of town with the grandparents are on vacation too. My parents live 3,000 miles away so the time my kids spend with their gparents is special. And it's good to reconnect with your spouse.

Geez, some of you are grouchy for a Friday.

Posted by: To PBeebee and others | August 4, 2006 3:29 PM

I went on vacation recently with the kids and was out of the office for 7 days. I don't consider it a vacation if I check my email. If I check my email, I would not put in for a vacation day.
If I do anything related to work, it is NOT vacation. I *so* needed that time off. Nothing will disintegrate without me, I am not that important. Neither do I want to be.

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 3:31 PM

Scarry, I did notice how we were voted Most Annoying and Runner up for Most Annoying. It made me howl. And then I thought, "Rats! I can't even win in that sorry contest." But to whomever I'm annoying, thanks for making me laugh. And take a pill. Life is too short.

Posted by: Rockville | August 4, 2006 3:38 PM

Pro-nursing mama wrote: "My husband will sit in the backseat when we fear a meltdown. She loves it and he can play with her more easily (she is 2)."

I usually threaten to put one or both of them in the trunk. It stops the meltdowns real fast. I learned from Fo4........

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 3:43 PM

But we don't have a trunk in the minivan!

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 3:48 PM

My favorite Father of 4 story: son's dream about squeezing his mother's breasts. It's my favorite because, oddly enough, that very same day, my 3-year-old asked if he "could smell my boobs." And hey, I'm pregnant, so maybe there is something different going on. I almost wet myself laughing.

And, Rockville, while we're off topic, the boob-sniffer, like your son, has a thing for the ladies. One of my husband's high school friends came to visit and brought his girlfriend. Boob-sniffer insisted on holding her hand the entire weekend! I imagine he'll be distressed when we go to their wedding in a couple of months. Or, who knows, maybe he could suggest the boyfriend-not-husband arrangement. :)

Posted by: niner | August 4, 2006 3:51 PM

To atlmom: cartop cargo carriers work just as well!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 3:52 PM

My son was breastfeed for a long time (don't dare say how long for fear of the booby police flaming me). I totally understand FO4's little boys dreams to squeeze his mommy's boobies. My son was booby smitten for a long time also, and I had a really hard time drawing some boundaries as he got older. After all, it is hard for a little boy to have unlimited access and then be denied for no apparent reason. We seem to have overcome that hurdle, but he still loves to snuggle in my bosom. After he was weaned, he told me often that he missed the boobies and that he loved them so much.

Posted by: Rockville | August 4, 2006 3:55 PM

Baby was weaned at 13 months. Is 14 months now. He pulls on my shirt when he wants some milk.
He gets really angry, too! I almost feel like he'll rip it.

Posted by: atlmom | August 4, 2006 3:57 PM

Scarry and Pro-Nursing Mama, thanks! Good to be back, I'm slowly recovering from the wretched experience that was the Bar.

Niner and Rockville, your stories are a riot! And Niner, congrats on expecting! My son is still nursing at 21 months, and I expect similar dilemnas. When he was learning the words and concepts of "open" and "close" he would sometimes stop nursing, pull my shirt back down and say, "closed." Then he would knock on my breast and say, "knock knock!!" It cracked me up.

Posted by: Megan | August 4, 2006 4:01 PM

Congrats, Megan. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

Posted by: Rockville | August 4, 2006 4:05 PM

To Rockville: I'm sure your husband was smitten by them, too....probably the boundaries were harder to draw there? ;-)

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 4:06 PM

Well, he was pretty good at sharing back then. Luckily, he doesn't have to anymore.

Posted by: Rockville | August 4, 2006 4:09 PM

"Well, he was pretty good at sharing back then. Luckily, he doesn't have to anymore."

You made me snort! Have a great weekend!

Posted by: Dad of 2 | August 4, 2006 4:21 PM

In all these posts, I saw only one reference to e-mails, and NO references to cell phones. My wife can't seem to get away from the latter, and often the kids and I have to wait while she finishes up an interminable conversation with someone back at the office before we can all leave for our destination for the day. Often some activities have to be cancelled because we run out of time because of this. SPOUSES, DON'T DO THIS TO THE PEOPLE YOU (OSTENSIBLY) LOVE!!

My worst experience was when I was trying to take a 4-week vacation with the family to Australia. Unexpectedly, I ran across a good deal on a flight there, and committed to it before I spoke with my boss. She was a new boss, and paranoid, and would not sign my leave slip -- 9 months in advance! Also, since I wanted Christmastime off, she made ME coordinate with the other people in my shop to see who'd get stuck covering Christmas -- how incredibly small of her! Luckily, I transferred to another department, and the old guy running things there immediately signed my leave without so much as a raised eyebrow. Different strokes...

Posted by: Gene | August 4, 2006 4:27 PM

I swear my older son knew I was pregnant with #2 before I did -- he quit if the flavor had changed!

Posted by: Derwood Mom | August 4, 2006 4:30 PM

My workaholic boss checks in and send e-mails to me when he is on vacation or when he calls in sick. I feel like telling him, "dude, you're on vacation! go away!"

Pro-Nursing Mama, thanks! I like to feel like I'm doing a little something to help people enjoy parenting. I reviewed the archives back in March, and by the way the posters treated one another, if anyone was considering having a child and read those blogs, they wouldn't be considering it anymore.

I have no aspirations of creating my own blog. Enjoy the stories. Share your own.

Dad of 2, You're hilarious too. Keep it coming.

Megan, Scarry, Rockville and all you regulars, have a good weekend. I'm out of here!

Posted by: Father of 4 | August 4, 2006 4:34 PM

Wait! Don't leave me, everyone; it's only 3:00 here! What am I going to do for the next two hours, work?!

Posted by: niner | August 4, 2006 5:03 PM

Derwood Mom, my husband's grandmother, who basically had Irish septuplets (7 kids in 10 years) noticed that that happened to her twice! She predicted that she was pregnant because the baby stopped nursing just like that.

When they took vacations--usually driving from DC to Michigan--they all piled into the station wagon, and whoever was the baby at the time rode in a box on top of a blanket. What car holds 7 car seats these days?!

Posted by: niner | August 4, 2006 5:08 PM

From one Atlanta mom to another: how odd that your child did not want to play a bunch of silly games and do "activities" with other children who are total strangers, instead preferring the company of his parents?

Are you kidding?

Posted by: Hate suburban Atlanta | August 4, 2006 7:12 PM

Sorry niner if you missed this, but here is where the snarky remark came from!

yes, you are correct, when I say someone should be home with the children, I do indeed mean the mom should be home with the children.

When you take on responsibilities, such as having/raising children, then you do that job of raising them. No b/s about "mom doesn't always want to stay home with the kids." Then maybe she shouldn't have kids then. It's a full-time and lifetime responsibility and if you aren't willing to put everyone into it that you should, then don't take on that responsibility.

Living in DC, I find that many people have different views of life; I was raised in the South were family values are a huge priority and more than picking your child up from daycare and heating up a microwave dinner for them b/c mommy is too tired from work and doesnt want to deal with her kids.

Posted by: southern belle | August 3, 2006 04:15 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 7:29 PM

'Canceled Vacation Tales of Woe'

It seems that it was Perry who had his vacation canceled, not Leslie. Granted, it wasn't what she expected, but at least she was still getting a break from work.

It sounds like many people who have posted are expecting their vacations to be like they were pre-children. A family vacation is for the family, not just the parents. As my husband has said many times, "We had our time before they were born, and we will have our time when they are grown, but now it's their time." We were together 7 years before we had our first child, and we are older parents. Maybe that is why we embrace how our lives have changed and don't resent 'giving up' things that we like in favor of family-centered vacations. Our daughter is now 18 and we never considered going on vacation and having the kids with sitters so we could have a night out. We had our nights out when we needed them, but never on vacation.

Posted by: kea | August 5, 2006 12:33 AM

Oh, boo hoo. You're off in vacation in a "rented shack" in East Hampton and oh woe, poor baby, your husband has to go back to work in order to support all your expensive habits.

And since anecdote is demanded, I went on all sorts of vacations as a single parent with a preschooler and beyond, including a trip to Egypt. I don't even much like vacations, but managed fine.

But you live off an ultra-rich husband and keep a dilettante's job for appearance's sake. You have all the money to buy peace and quiet. If you can't figure out how to have a decent vacation, it's not because of any universal parenting dilemma, but rather your innate need to whine endlessly about nothing.

Posted by: Cal | August 5, 2006 12:55 AM

cal, just shut up already?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2006 9:00 AM

oh no, I can't believe it, I actually agree with Cal!!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2006 11:20 AM

Probably no one is still reading ,but I have the ideal vacation. We rented a cabin in Maine, sight unseen, other than 2 pics. When we got there, it was heaven. Why? Could not dial out on the phones. Our cell phones had no access. There was no internet and the TV had 2 channels. We spent the entire vacation cut off from work and had a wonderful time. We are going back, not for the amenities, but for the true relaxation.

Posted by: Sunniday | August 7, 2006 8:58 AM

I don't have kids, only dogs, and they can ride in the back of my SUV in their crates on vacation. But there is a whole other set of issues there.....

If you have the chance to drive on vacation with your kids, please do it. My late father used to take a month off in the summer and he, my mom, sister and I would drive across the country. Yes, there'd be fights. Yes, we kids would find some things boring and "uncool". But they are some of the best childhood memories I have.

We drove from Massachusetts to places like Yellowstone, Dallas, Los Angeles or the Grand Canyon. Looking back, there were some oddities. My father liked Howard Johnson motels (this was the 70's) and we would only stay at Howard Johnson's and only eat at Howard Johnson's. By the end of the trip we didn't need to see the menus to order! My father took super-8 movies of the trips which I have now on DVD. I could not believe the way we dressed back then!

Dad passed away in the 1980's. Mom now has alzheimer's. She doesn't remember much, but she does light up whenever my sister or I talk about our vacations when we were kids.

Make time for vacations with your kids. They'll remember it forever

Posted by: daninannapolis | August 7, 2006 2:17 PM

I have to think this is like not taking kids to movies just because parents want to go see a movie.

The movie has to be at the right time, has to be engaging, and not too long.

Why wouldn't parents apply that to vacations as well?

Posted by: Liz | August 8, 2006 4:18 PM

We just drove from NC to Boston! With kids! And my husband invented a new torture: "If you all do not stop fighting right now, I am turning the air conditioner in this car off -- and turning on the heat!" Twenty sodden, sweaty, stinky minutes later he turned it off -- and it kept the peace for about 45 minutes after that. Try it at your own risk.

Posted by: Our New Discovery | August 8, 2006 4:34 PM

Take your kids on vacation as often as you can. Don't try to stick to a rigid schedule. It won't work. Do make sure small kids nap when they can, but don't try putting them down at the same time every day. Vacations are about ditching the schedules and RELAXING. Different nap times & different events will make your kids more flexible & better able to cope if something should happen to throw them off schedule. Again the key to a happy vacation is RELAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: gramma | August 16, 2006 10:09 AM

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