First road trip, with the babies, that is.
With holiday week-long shut down at Bob’s work, he tagged on a week of his six-week parental leave after the holidays. Because he had the whole two weeks off, I had the bright idea of taking a road trip with the babies. They would be 3.5 months by then, so I felt that we should be able to go away with the babies. Honestly the idea of taking a road trip with the babies scared me. How would one even begin to plan a trip like that with all the logistical issues that may arise. My friends with twins as well as parents from the local parents of multiples club encouraged me that it would be totally doable, and plenty of people have done that in the past with their three-month olds. I opted for an Airb.nb rental rather than a hotel room because of the pricing as well as the access to a kitchen and second bedroom. With bottle feeding and diaper changing, the ability to access a sink and water plus a living room with couches to feed the babies was essential. After much consideration, a town up north about 1.5 hours away was our choice since the drive wouldn’t be too long, but it was far enough for us to feel like a road trip. The rental listed all the necessary amenities as well as a pack n play for the babies’ bed time. The rental fees were reasonable. Armed with tips and encouragement from fellow twins parents, we booked the rental and were praying for the best.
Instead of using suitcases like usual travels, I filled up three clear storage boxes with baby stuff: clothes, burp clothes, towels, sleep sacks, sound machine, formula, bottles, drying rack, changing pad, diaper cream, etc etc etc. The thing was, I couldn’t pack a lot of essential things until the morning of the trip.
We managed to get on the road later than planned and checked into the rental after the time that I wanted. The babies were screaming for food.
The rental was fine. It was crammed with a lot of stuff. Too much for me. And when we sat in the living room for feeding, my nose started itching. It kept on itching for the next three days, which meant that the living room was very dusty. The pack n play was set up in the second bedroom. Although we brought a spare, we opted to put both babies in the same rental one just for the convenience of it. Plus the second bedroom was small, so one pack n play was more than enough to take up room. The babies barely fit into the same pack n play but we figured that would have to do for those three nights. The rest of the rental was fine except for a few strands of hair on the shower stall and the bathroom walls. I guess housekeeping didn’t do that good of a job.
That night was New Year’s night. I hadn’t thought about the difficulty of finding a place for dinner, but the restaurants that we drove by were all dark. We finally drove to a mall that had a couple of restaurants open. By the time we parked the car and walked over, one restaurant was already closed. That left us with the pub next door. Good thing they took us in with our massive double stroller. The food came out fast and we all had a good time. But it was way past the babies’ feeding time and bed time. I had a feeling that Okra would have a hard time in the middle of the night. Lo and behold, he woke up at 4am crying. We usually let him cry for a little bit at home because he sleeps in his own crib. Although it is in close proximity to Bunny’s crib, we are comfortable letting him cry trusting that she won’t wake up. On the trip since they shared the same pack n play, I was trying to avoid waking up baby girl. I immediately picked up Okra and took him to our bedroom. I think that was a huge mistake. The more he was comforted, the harder he cried. This lasted about an hour, and we decided to feed him and Bunny at 5am. Needless to say, the next day both Bob and I were exhausted. And the next morning there was a large quantity of ants hanging out in the bathroom by the bathroom mat. Very gross.
Exhaustion didn’t stop us from going out. Where we stayed was very close to restaurants, coffee shops, and shops. We had visited this town quite a few times before we had these babies. We pushed the babies in a stroller and walked to brunch. We visited the visitors center, coffee shop, a yarn shop, and an antique/thrift shop. The babies couldn’t go into the yarn shop due to the steps in the front of the shop. Talk about all the things that I never noticed prior to having to push a stroller. So I met Bob at the thrift shop later. When I was waiting for Bob to look at trains, I was pushing the twins around and spotted this Precious Moments figurine. You can see it in this photo:
Don’t you think that I had to get it? And I did.
The babies were really well behaved when we were out and about, but going out with them was tiring. We stayed in for the rest of the afternoon and even ordered food to be delivered to us. We just simply did not have enough energy to pack them up for another outing on the same day. After the 7pm feed, it was time for bed for the babies. Bunny is usually okay with going down, but Okra had an extremely difficult time. Rocking him didn’t work. We eventually had to swing him in his car seat in order for him to go down. It took over an hour to put him down. That night, after their 10pm feed, Okra woke up at 1:40 crying. This time I immediately took away Bunny from the pack n play and let Bob deal with Okra. It took 40 minutes this time for Bob to calm him down while I slept with Bunny next to me in the next bedroom. The funny thing was, Bob put Okra down diagonally on the queen bed. When he returned to the room after getting a drink of water, he tried to put Okra back straight but the baby would have nothing to do with it. He started screaming again, and Bob had to put him back to the original position which just left 6 inches of room for Bob to sleep. Poor daddy did not sleep well at all that night.
With two nights of minimal sleep, we were again exhausted the next day. But we were very excited because we made a decision to go to a Peruvian restaurant that we visited before and loved. Let me just tell you that the food was to die for! We had 3 kinds of ceviche, pork stew with a side of beef heart, steak, and yuca fries.
Everything was so delicious and I savored every single bite. Once again, the babies were so good, and we all had a wonderful time. It was the highlight of our trip and that was the only thing that we did that day. We went back to the rental and let the babies have a chill afternoon so they could nap better than being out and about. The third night, Okra (along with Bunny) slept well until after 5:30am. It seemed like our baby boy finally got used to the new environment.
There was one little incident that left a little negative note in our get away. I texted the host of our rental to ask for a late check out at noon time so we could feed the babies. He responded with “no” because the housekeeper was going to show up at 11am for a cleaning. Of course I honored that and tried our best to get out of the house at 11am. Bob started loading the van at 10:55am and I was putting the babies in the carseats. At 11am, we were upstairs in the second bedroom trying to put away the pack n play. We finally did, and I did a final walk through. We were in the van at 11:06am. I know exactly what time it was because we were trying to figure out if we should go to town or go home and feed the babies at home. We decided to go home. However, once we got on the freeway, we realized that the two Boppy pillows (that the babies use for every single feeding) were left on the couch. We drove back to the rental to retrieve the pillows. Later that day, to my surprise, I received a request from the host through Airb.nb for $75. It was for the penalty for rescheduling the housekeeper. After going back and forth with the host, I finally understood what happened. The housekeeper came by after 11am and saw that our van was in the driveway. Instead of checking with us, she told the host that we were still inside the property. The host asked her to return later to clean, but she requested $75 rescheduling fees. Of course now we had to pay that $75. What made me upset was that the host never checked with us to see if we were on our way out. Through his messages, I gathered that he believed that we ignored his text and decided to feed the babies in the house past the checkout time. He wrote a review about me saying that we checked out an hour late, when in fact we vacated the property by 11:06am. I was very upset that he made assumptions about us that we were feeding the babies there, but it was just not true. He was basically calling me a liar which I loathe because I am an honest person. I believe that when the housekeeper saw our van was when we returned to retrieve the pillows. I had never rented a place or a hotel room where there was no grace period for checkout. We paid the $75 but I maintained that the penalty was unreasonable and unfair. It was not about the money but about the principle. The only things that we did wrong were 1) leaving 6 minutes late and 2) forgetting some very important things at the rental. I was mad for a couple of days as it left a bad taste in my mouth for our first road trip with our babies. But I decided that it wasn’t worth my time and energy, so I let it go.
All in all it was a great trip despite that little unfortunate incident. We now know that we can survive and still have fun with the babies. Everything was very low key. We would have gone out more and would eat out instead of ordering takeout if we didn’t have the babies. But I didn’t feel like we were missing out. We were building memories as a family and that’s important. This trip also allowed us to once again realize how blessed we are to have so much help at home. Without my mom and the night nanny, Bob and I were truly on our own. The time we had by ourselves with the babies was very trying and testy, but we survived. (LOL) We had to figure everything out ourselves, and I couldn’t just call out to my mom for the things that I needed done. Plus we were not in the familiar environment of our home so we had to figure out a new set of routines for those few days. It was challenging, but it was definitely the right decision to go away. Having kids shouldn’t and won’t stop us from having fun and living life. I am just so glad that we went and can’t wait to go away again when the babies are older.