Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Travel for Five

Over Thanksgiving we took the whole brood on our first trip since Zoe and Leo were born. Unfortunately, it wasn't a happy occasion - we were visiting Adam's dad at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He recently underwent a Whipple procedure - the same surgery that Steve Jobs had - for pancreatic cancer.

Still, the trip was good because it was a trial run for future traveling. We learned quite a bit, and it wasn't as hard as we thought it would be. Of course, Baltimore is only an hour and a half car ride away and we only stayed two nights. We got there in one nap. No airport, no feedings on the road, not even a pit stop for the adults. Still, the packing and planning weren't all that much worse than a trip with Sam. Make a list and take a whole day to pack - no problem! However, it was a bit shocking to realize how much formula we had to bring along, even though I'm breastfeeding about 40%. It's also a little scary because the formula we use (specifically for preemies) is not sold in stores but most be ordered through the mail. I suppose if we did run out, we could have just bought some regular formula. But the whole world of formula is still new to me and man, it sure is a hassle when you travel!

We also had some trouble with the sleeping arrangements. We got a suite with two beds and a sofabed, and brought the Pack'N'Play for the twins. But they were really too big to sleep in it together, so we ended up getting a second from the hotel. It was musical beds the whole two days and I have a feeling that's the way it will be each time. Each place we stay will be a new challenge, as will every age of the babies. Okay, we know that now and we'll deal with it.

Leo had one meltdown, but otherwise all three kids did a great job. Poor Sam. She's used to going on trips and doing new and exciting things. We told her that there was an indoor pool and we packed our suits, which was a huge mistake. It was almost impossible for Adam to even get out of the room to visit his dad, let alone go out for frolicking. But we did manage to get her to the pool once, and to take her on a walk along the water where she got to feed the seagulls. That, plus endless TV time, got her through 48 hours.

And here is the biggest shocker: I felt like I had a vacation! I stayed in the room almost the entire time. I fed babies and changed diapers, but I didn't have to wash dishes or fold laundry or make lunch or pay bills or give children baths or take Sam to gymnastics or write thank you cards or any of that stuff. And since the hotel room was a new environment for Leo and Zoe, they seemed to need nothing more than a few minutes on their playmat and they were ready for their naps. Sam got on my nerves the first night before we figured out that getting her out of the room was just as essential as breathing and eating, but after that it was okay. Almost restful. But really, in two full days, Adam made it to visit his dad only twice for an hour or so each time, and then once again on our way out of town. I suppose if we go on a trip where we actually expect to do something other than sit in a hotel room, it will be much more difficult.

So, we didn't really have a Thanksgiving this year. We called for room service Thursday night at 6:30pm and the hotel told us that they had a free Thanksgiving dinner available in the restaurant, but only until 7. Adam explained that we had newborn twins and there was no way we could get out of the room that quickly, so they allowed him to come down and pick up some food to bring up to the room. So we had turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and it was all really, really good! And free! Only in America. I'm thankful to live in a country of such abundance and benevolence. And one in which there are Whipple procedures. And formula just for preemies.

I guess we did have Thanksgiving, after all.

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