Saturday, August 8, 2009

Travelling with a toddler

So the following photos are in reverse order of what you need to know about travelling abroad with a toddler.
It will all end well but know that unless you prepare as though you were launching a military-type campaign to capture a well-defended beach head, you are doomed.
Know also that anyone who defines such a journey as a "vacation" is clearly childless and most likely clueless as well. Such a description is akin to classifying Saving Private Ryan as an entertaining and informing travelogue about the beaches and near-coastline features of France.
It will help you, should you ever venture off on such a travail, to spend whatever funds are required to secure seating for all the individuals in your party. The entire notion of 'babe in arms' is something that should be confined to Broadway productions revolving around the love interests of 1950's teenagers. For starters, a toddler is decidedly not a babe. Even should you be blessed with an angel such as our Gabriel understand that a little person such as this cannot comfortably confine themselves to the approximately 1 cubic metre apportioned to each individual on Air Canada flights in aging Airbuses. For you Dads - treat your wives extraordinarily well in advance of the trip for it will be they who bear the brunt of your toddler's squirming and impatience.
Remember also to bring your own food. What Air Canada served up was swill inappropriate for any living, sentient being. They offered beef or chicken. I was hard pressed to identify either but did suss out a tiny green bean within the offal.

If you're renting a car...spend the money to purchase a cover for the child car seat. Unless you're comfortable with plunking your child into a scene from the early portions of Slumdog Millionaire you'll be happy for the investment.
Accommodations are always a challenge. We were lucky to have great friends host us for all save three days of the 17 we were travelling. Just remember what Mark Twain wrote many years ago, "House guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days." Be very sensitive that you're an invading force well capable of upsetting the equilibrium and routine of a family who are, after all, complete innocents in this affair. And, if you have height and/or weight beyond 5'4" and 135 pounds, you will not have a bed of sufficient size for yourself...never mind you and your loved one. is unlikely your beautiful little child will adjust well to the time change and when you toss in unfamiliar surroundings, noises, diet, and general're pretty much guaranteed that the first real sleep you'll achieve is approximately five days after your return.

Your outings should be carefully planned. A day at the beach in most countries is a delight. A day at the beach on the Isle of Wight in mid-July is akin to dipping your toes into the waters off Baffin Island.
Yes, you'll find lots of IOW natives frolicking about. Recognize though that when the temperature climbs above eight degrees C these people start the air conditioning.
If however you can find a real steam train to ride that will be your ticket to heaven. Can't speak for little girls, but I think it is a universal truth that little boys LOVE trains and especially ones that spew smoke and steam and have a genuine 'whoo-whoo' whistle and click and clack and chug just like Thomas the Tank.
Highly recommended especially if you can convince Nana and GD (Grandma and Grandpa) to join in the fun.

Before leaving, have someone take a picture while you still have hope and imagine that you are in fact about to embark on a voyage of relaxation, reinvigoration, and recreation. It will be the only memory you have of the naive hopes of stupid fathers without a clue of the reality of travelling with a toddler.

Yup, prep for invasion.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

Seriously, can hardly wait for the next that my innocence is gone.