The 5 Times I Wanted to Pull My Hair Out the Most During Vacation with a Toddler
Sometimes I feel like being on vacation with a toddler is like being on the road with a tiny Jack Kerouac. It’s fun and great and mystical and magical and also you’re always wondering, are they high, or really high, or drunk, or what? And you’re just trying to make sense of it. It’s not bad, but holy moly, it’s….it’s something.
Someday I will apologize to my daughter for using our family vacation as blog fodder, but not today, because mama is tired and needs a beer on the rental patio please. Not today, toddler. Not today.
- The first time I wanted to pull my hair out during vacation was during the meltdown at home before even leaving the house. There was something that needed to be done that did not want to be done, mama. I am a monster for not understanding this. Meanwhile, the dogsitter will likely arrive for their noon-ish visit any minute now, and if there’s one thing I want to avoid, it’s paying someone to let my dog out when I’m still at the house, struggling to get out the door. No thank you please.
- The second time I wanted to pull my hair out during vacation was when frat boys were loud in the halls of our little motel. I’m a professional librarian by day, I know how to shush, and I very rarely try to use that superpower in public, but I’m doing it here: shhhhhhhhhhhh.
- The third time was when my daughter was loud and screeching about how, once again, she did.not.want.to.do.that.one.thing. (Was it going to the potty? Getting into jammies? It might have been anything!) I’m sorry, other parents of toddlers trying to sleep. My child is now the frat boy dudebro motel-neighbor. Alas, my child is also utterly immune to my librarian shushing superpower.
- Real talk: have you ever gone to a restaurant with a sandy-from-the-beach toddler who’s only barely slept in the car and who’s mostly subsisted on crackers and apple juice (my fault!) who’s pleading politely to get lemonade, and you decide now is the time to be a monster who insists on water? That whole drama clocked in as the fourth time I wanted to pull my hair out during vacation. Touche, parents who give in. I get it now. (But also, please for the love of god, servers, if you see a kid whining for a sugary drink and the parent is trying to insist on not, maybe don’t be all, “Shall I get the lemonade?” even when I know that for everyone in the restaurant this was the correct suggestion. But still! Argh, y’all. )
- Having to explain to my child that sometimes fun things end. It’s like trying to explain the meaning of life: we have fun, then the fun ends, and we can be sad about it, but we can’t sob uncontrollably forever, or nothing will ever get done. Honestly, in this case it’s not the vacation or the travel that’s hair-tearing, but life. It is so hard to explain life to such a tiny person. And thinking over all these things, I’m sure it’s easy to feel like your world really is crumbling around you when the beach trip ends, when the lemonade you want is refused, when you don’t want to do the thing but the People In Charge are insisting. So as vacation continues, I’m trying to remember that this is her first vacation as a non-baby-ish little person, and that’s a big change. She probably wants to tear her hair out, too.