We just got back from a week long vacation to Pompano Beach, FL. But this post won't be about the great time we had. It's about traveling. With kids. And Murphy. And her stupid law.

I'm a planner. A list maker. For the world to make sense in my head, everything needs to be in it's place. Always. So when it comes to traveling with kids, I started making a list of everything I need to pack for them. I would keep that list on the dining room table a few days prior to our trip, and as I used something baby/kid-related, I would jot it down. Like the bottle brush, teething tablets, Motrin syringe...just obscure items that can be easily forgotten. Can these things be purchased while on vacation if/when they are needed? Sure. Have you ever had to wash the 37 parts of a Dr. Brown's bottle without the silly little brush, or try to soothe a feverish, teething child at 2a? Finding a drugstore in a new city isn't the kind of adventure I want in the middle of the night.

In addition to my list, I have my bag of tricks. Literally. I stock up on small toys and books from Target's dollar bins and whip those babies out one at a time at the slightest meltdown. In that bag of tricks I always take a change of clothes for the kids. Because you never know when an upset tummy due to motion sickness might strike. Items that go into said bag are always on the list.

This plan worked great. Until I deviated from it.

Enter the morning of August 20th. I never made my list. I've got this down by now, right?! So off we go. Arrive at the airport with time to spare. Smooth sailing...err flying! Until we land. As we wait to get off the plane, Matthew turns to me and says "mommy, I don't feel...." - Yeah, you know what comes next. He threw up on himself, and on his baby brother who he was standing over. Great. We wipe them down as best we can, get off the plane, and I head into the bathroom to change them into...NOTHING. I forgot to pack the change of clothes. It could have been worse, I know. All we had to do was get our rental car and take the 15 minute drive to our hotel. It's not like they spent the whole day that way.

Fast forward to that night. The boys are all shiny and clean after a much needed bath. I go to get Matthew's pajamas on and...I never packed them. He likes to sleep in long sleeve, long pant fitted "jimmies". And I have nothing. I didn't even pack a long sleeve shirt and sweats because - well who would pack that for Florida in August?? So after putting up a bit of a fuss, he fell asleep in a t-shirt and undies, with the promise that we would find him some "jimmies" the next morning.

Except we can't. Guess what, no one wears long pajamas in Florida in August. We went to 3 stores and found nothing. My sister did get him a pajama set at Walmart (that was 2 sizes too big) which he refused to wear, because they weren't like his Carter's jimmies.

So, the moral of the story is: If something works, don't fix it. The one time you deviate from something, just might be the time Murphy creeps in to play a cruel practical joke. She's evil that way. Clearly, she's never traveled with children.



Tonight as I was tucking Matthew in, I asked him what he was going to dream about. We used to have a silly game where he'd answer "doggies, with baskets and flags in their mouths!" (Long story.) Tonight, he answered "I'm gonna dream about someone stealing me and keeping me forever." Why on EARTH would he dream about that? This was no time to ask questions, I thought. He was upset, I could tell. He buried his face in his pillow and didn't give me buzi (kiss) night-night. I laid down next to him, rubbed his back, and told him mommy and daddy will never let that happen. Because we're family, and we protect each other, and keep each other safe. And he added "and love each other". Yes. We love each other. I talked about how we remind each other to always wear a seat belt, to always look both ways before crossing the street, to always hold hands in a parking lot, and always stay close in a store. And promised him that mommy and daddy won't ever let anything hurt him. I rubbed his back as he drifted off to sleep, and hoped that he would have a happy dream tonight.

And now, I sit here and think "I can't possibly keep that promise". Of course I do everything I can to keep him safe. And he's at that age where it's not enough to just ask him to do/not do something, he needs to know WHY. WHY does he have to stay near me at the store? Why can't he play out front by himself? Why do I need to see him go back inside while I go for my morning walk? Why can't he open the front door when he hears the doorbell? It's a fine line: telling him the truth and protecting his innocence. And yes, for several of those examples I have told him "because we need to stay safe, so that I don't lose you and no one tries to take you." I mean, as his mom, I need to send a clear message to him. Make him aware of the danger of doing some of these things. And I really try not to be a "because I said so" kind of mom. But in doing so, I realize I have stripped him of some of that childhood innocence. A place where everything is as it should be, and no harm can ever be done. But we don't live in that place. How do you balance this with your kids? I'm struggling here, because he is still my baby...at almost 4.5. And I would love to put him in my mommy bubble until forever, but I can't. I'm not sure I'm ready for him to learn that not everyone has his best interests at heart. Not everyone is out to keep him safe.



The other day I saw a quote that read:

"It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear."- Dorothy Eislin

And I actually got choked up. My eyes locked on the nearest wall, looking for little traces of children. Not exactly fingerprints, but I spotted some scuff marks, toys strewn about the room, a few stray Goldfish crumbs that I missed earlier in the day...all things that indicate that children live here. Small children. Small children that are growing right before my eyes. I often get tired of picking up the same toys day after day, arranging the same books, washing the same sippy cups. "It never ends", I think to myself as I fold another load of onesies, tees, and shorts marked 18 months and 5T. But it will. It won't come to a screeching halt. It will be quiet, and gradual. One less sippy cup. One less crumb. One less item purchased in the baby/child aisle. Once less thing to pack as we're leaving the house. One less fragile item I will have to place out of reach.

"This, too, shall pass..." I often tell first time moms dealing with growth spurts, and teething pain, and sleepless nights. But THIS...this age of little hands grabbing at me, big smiles as I walk into their rooms, tight hugs as they cry for mommy to fix something only mommy can fix, THIS, too shall pass. Hopefully, not too soon.


"Mommy, is my tongue blue yet??"

The beach, a cold sippy of water, and waffle fries...doesn't get much better than this...