By: Stacey Ellis
My husband had a great idea to be adventurous this summer and ‘get away from it all.’ So we booked a trip to Hawaii. We have always said when we have kids, they will simply go where we want to go. We’re not going to become shut–ins like a lot of our friends. We have numerous friends whose kids are approaching age 5 or older and have never traveled outside their home town. They haven’t even driven anywhere to stay overnight. And they certainly haven’t crossed time zones because that would be a “nightmare” on their kids’ nap schedules. Those who have traveled either bring nannies or grandparents with them. We figured, we can do this on our own. We have had only ourselves to rely on in raising our daughter. Our daughter has no grandparents who live near us, and even if they did, they aren’t very mobile and wouldn’t be any help. We have to seek out babysitters just for a night out. This vacation was going to be family bonding time and we were going to enjoy every second…including the 9-hour plane ride.
Okay, so we didn’t book a direct flight because we had a two-for-one fare if we flew through Seattle. We’ve been on 12 planes so far, what’s four more? Our flight departed at 6 am. That means getting up at 3 AM and leaving our house by 4 AM. We are pros, no problem. We had plenty of time at the airport. Our now 8-month-old daughter, who wants to do nothing more than walk holding our fingertips, was amazing on the first flight to Seattle. She hung out, flirted with the other passengers and did her usual –eating, pooping, sleeping. The second flight was definitely more tiring as we traded who would hold her, who would make the formula, and how many toys we could take out that wouldn’t wind up lost somewhere under the seats.
Kauai is a beautiful island. Lush and green everywhere. We hit the local Wal-mart, which was feet from the airport (planning is always good) and then hit the local Foodland. We stocked up on diapers and wipes, sand toys for her to play with, baby food, and enough food for us for the week. And we were on our way to the hotel in Princeville. The Westin resorts all have villas, which are equipped with full kitchens and one-bedroom suites. It was beautiful. The sun was shining, the roosters were cock-a-doodle-dooing. And our little baby girl was as happy as a clam. We were relaxed and ready for our week of sunning and relaxing to begin. My husband made a point to say to me, “I want to get some sun.” In case you missed the translation, that’s code for: You entertain our daughter while I lay in the sun and pretend for a few hours that we aren’t parents of an 8-month-old.
For the next seven days it rained. And I mean, RAINED. I kept accidentally seeing the beautiful weather in Los Angeles on my husband’s programmed Ipad. On the news, I kept seeing sunny skies over Maui and Oahu. Yet, Kauai was rain, rain, and more rain. We learned that May was the rainiest May on record in Kauai. Every day, when the rain broke, even momentarily, we’d throw on our bathing suits and race to the kiddie pool. It was chilly with no sun to warm it, but still we’d plunge in, give our daughter time for a good hard kicking swim, and race back to the room where our daughter would be exhausted enough to sleep for a long nap. It wasn’t until Day Three that we realized our vacation felt like being stay-at-home parents.
My husband and I both work. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but with the economy the way it is, and with my husband owning his own business in the advertising arena, my dream never came to fruition. I came to accept it and since I truly love my job, I don’t dwell on it. I must spend as much quality time with my daughter in the afternoons and on weekends. Now, three days into vacation, we realized, this is what it would be like if one of us stayed home (though both of us were there). Entertaining an eight-month-old on vacation on an island which relies on being outside for entertainment can be overwhelming when it simply won’t stop raining.
Two of the days we drove 90 minutes south and found SUN! We spent Memorial Day on the public state beach in Poipu. We nestled under a palm tree right on the beach – had our shade and looked out at the crystal blue ocean which had a nice jetty creating a “child’s play area” in the cove. The other we spent with my husband’s aunt who owns a house on the beach. Both days, our daughter splashed around in the ocean, tried to steal other kids’ sand toys, and tried to eat sand. It was absolutely blissful watching her absorb everything around her. She was loving every minute of her time in Kauai and didn’t have any clue that rain was mostly spoiling our vacation. So we too ignored the rain.
We tried to take her to the farmer’s market one day but the rain started falling sideways. We tried going to a beach about 20 minutes southwest –a deluge. We walked around a little shopping area and it poured so hard we had to go into a restaurant and order food we didn’t really need. Each time we got rained out, we looked at it as an adventure. Oh well, at least we tried and we got out of the hotel. And at least we were all together as a family which means we got to see milestones first hand without our Blackberries going off.
We watched her go from slow crawling to bolting across the room at record speed – a lot of time in the hotel room meant practice! We watched her cruise from furniture piece to furniture piece while walking. We watched her try new foods such as bitty pieces of bagel, chicken, and salmon! We watched her knock down sandcastles. We watched her start to understand how to wave goodbye with just her hand and not her whole arm. And we felt her first tooth poking through her bottom gum. All in all, there wasn’t much more we could ask for. Our vacation was perfect.