We traveled to Spain over the holidays with my mother. Here are 10 things I learned about traveling across the globe with two young children:
1. Line your pockets with candy before heading to the airport. You have no idea how many minutes of standing still in lines the promise of Skittles will buy you.
2. When your 3-year-old tells you he's "too tired" to keep walking the streets of Barcelona, don't carry him around. Instead, just challenge him to a race to your destination. All the energy he needs to keep on going is contained in the words "ready, set, go."
3. If both your children fall asleep in the middle of a guided city tour, don't ditch the rest of the tour and rush to the hotel hoping for a family nap...they'll both wake up before you get there and exhibit more energy than ever.
4. Your 3-year-old will think that going up and down the escalator in the metro is the most exciting part of the entire trip. Gaudi and his funny looking buildings can suck it.
5. Your vision of perfectly behaved children sitting around a table in a tapas restaurant is a fantasy. In actuality, you will send your husband out to get Chinese, which you'll have to eat inside your hotel room's bathroom because the baby finally fell asleep and you'd rather eat dinner from a toilet than risk waking him up by turning the room lights on.
6. While you might think that visiting an authentic Spanish butcher shop is a foodie's dream come true, your 3-year-old will most definitely not. He will immediately cover his nose, declare the place stinky and proceed to have a meltdown to the dismay of the shop's employees and other patrons.
7. Traveling with a baby is easy; your boobs are the answer to everything. Hungry? Boobs. Sleepy? Boobs. Tired? Boobs. Fussy? Boobs. Yes, everyone from airplane passengers to double-decker bus tourists will see your breasts, but at least your baby will be quiet, which is more than I can say for the 3-year-old.
8. Do not let your 3-year-old sit in the baby's stroller, not even for a little bit. He will not give up his seat under any circumstances and you'll end up carrying him up and down all sorts of stairs as if he were an Egyptian pharaoh.
9. Between the time difference and the change in routine, your oh-so-close-to-sleeping-through-the-night-7-month-old will revert to his newborn ways and wake up every two hours. It's really cute how you thought you'd get some rest while on vacation.
10. Your cute baby can double as a perfect distraction for getting your way in a foreign country - or domestically. Those chubby cheeks will disable an airline employee's ability to concentrate, thus saving you from having to pay an additional fee for that checked bag.