Travels with Toddlers

by in Family and Faith

A three-year-old, a one-year-old, 2 suitcases, 2 car seats, 3 backpacks, 1 double stroller, 1 diaper bag and a suit bag. Did I mention it started to rain as soon as we started unloading in the open-air economy parking lot?

Traveling with toddlers is a little like walking tightrope – every moment has the potential for utter disaster. The only way to survive is a lot of humor.

We just returned from a week-long cross-country trip with our two toddlers, and the only word to describe it is intense.

Thankfully, we found a free luggage cart in the rain. We piled all our stuff on it and raced down to the shuttle where we went to Logan International Airport. After running our children wild and thoroughly terrifying our fellow awaiting passengers, we boarded the six-hour flight.

Toddlers don’t understand lines. This is one of the biggest problems of traveling. Waiting our turn to board the aircraft equals 10 qpm (question per minute). Waiting on the tarmac to take off equals 20 wpm and at least 5 LOUD spm (screams per minute). As they finally quieted down and the rest of the flight remained silent Bronson chimed in, “I tooted! I tooted on the plane!”

After a fairly decent flight and retrieving our baggage, Ryan and I used one hand each to guide the stroller and another hand each to tow a suitcase/car seat combo. In a ridiculously wide and teetering swath, we made our way through the Seattle airport to another shuttle. You should have seen us try to load and unload onto a bus.

Since Bronson was born in Seattle, we occasionally pointed out things we did with him when he was only weeks old. When we walked by the Queen Anne pool, I told him I went swimming there when he was in my belly. Several days later at 9 p.m., he told me this:

“When you jumped in the water in the pool with me in your belly, I cried. And held onto Beloved Elephant and sucked my thumb.”

Moments like that made up for the more common moments of the trip.

While Ryan went hiking with guys for a bachelor party, I took the two boys on our own hike in Gas Works Park where we looked at the Space Needle and watched the float planes land and take off on Lake Union.

Here’s a truth of traveling with toddlers: every event you plan for their pleasure and fun, they will find to be the most inconvenient, awful experience of their life.

A float plane flew right over our heads. I thought this would be great, but Oliver’s wide eyes and scrunched forehead and headache-inducing scream, proved otherwise. I carried both boys down the hill and back the car. We loved Gas Works Park for 10 minutes; we will now hate it for the rest of time.

When we got Molly Moon’s Ice cream (the best ice cream on the planet), Oliver managed to fall off the bench, hitting his head on the way down. I spent most of our first Molly Moon’s visit holding Oliver, sitting on the ground. (And the super-nice ice cream scooper brought me ice and an extra pint of ice cream for Oliver’s head!) I didn’t even finish my cone. On our second visit, Oliver managed to sprinkle his and Bronson’s ice cream dish with dirt.

Also, we cried our way through the aquarium, the $22 torture chamber.

I think their favorite part of the trip was hanging out at Dori’s house, the lovely place we stayed and where we used to live. And when you travel to a new place, you really ought to just hang out in a house, just like if you were at home.

We managed to time the zoo just right, so they really loved it for about an hour. Then, Bronson learned of the carousel and 20 qpm and 10 spm ensued. We bought some tokens, boarded the carousel, and Bronson began screaming to get off.

With all that said, it was really fun to see old friends and visit some of our favorite Seattle spots. We were there for a wedding, and by some miracle, Bronson (the ring bearer) walked down the aisle. He made friends with strangers and some of our friend’s children, and Oliver danced his face off.

The playgrounds in Seattle are awesome, so we spent a lot of time there. On our last night, Bronson told Ryan that he had so many friends, as he played with the other kids at the park. And that is truly what we all love about Seattle.

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