By: Kacie Bernstein
We took the plunge this past weekend and took our first family vacation (just the four of us) to San Diego. I couldn’t wait to see their eyes light up at their first glimpse of Shamu, excited to see if they would actually feed the sea lions. I was so happy as we entered the park, I actually got teary-eyed. We arrived a little early so only certain areas were open, and we decided to check out Shamu. It was truly spectacular to watch an animal that large at such a close proximity, and of course, it scared my son. A few minutes later we had our first accident of the day. He fell off a bench and hit his head –there was a drop of blood, but we were good.
We proceeded to feed the sea lions and check out the dolphin show, which was fascinating…for me! I gave both kids a bag of cookies during the show, and about halfway through saw one flying a few rows below; needless to say the cookies went away. The Sesame Street water area was a huge success, and luckily we knew to bring a change of clothes. After six hours, a few more bumps, some hugs, kisses, and tears, it was time to go. We headed back to the hotel, which they protested. I agree; there is no place like home. We took them to the baby pool –a huge hit –then off to Old Town for a great dinner. It truly was great, both the food and the children!!
We seemed to be on an upswing and ended the night with hugs and kisses. We woke up around 11:15 that night to my daughter coughing like the sea lions we fed earlier that day, crying and wheezing. After a lot of talking, my husband and I decided to call the doc. Per his instructions, we steamed up the bathroom then took her outside to the cold air, but there was no improvement. At 1:00 in the morning, my daughter and I were off to the ER, where they treated her for croup.
Sunday on our drive home my husband and I recapped the weekend. He had a great time. I was beginning to wonder if we went on the same vacation. He explained that he knew what to expect of our weekend, and, well, my expectations were set too high. My lesson of the weekend: instead of stressing over the flying cookie or screaming child in the restaurant, just enjoy the little moments because you can never get them back.
By: Kacie Bernstein
I finally did it. I took my kids to the park alone! My husband and mom have no issues taking them alone, but for me, well it just gives me way too much anxiety. There is a sweet little park down the street from our house; it is completely gated and my kids can use all of the equipment on their own. I loaded us up with tons of snacks, sand toys, and of course a cell phone in case we needed backup. I felt proud and accomplished; as moms of two or more know, this can be quite challenging.
More kids were entering the play area, but my attention was focused on two boys, probably 5 and 7, who were quite rambunctious. They were just being boys, climbing on top of the monkey bars, in capes, and jumping off. It made me nervous, and I was hoping that my son wouldn’t try to jump on the band wagon. I kept looking around –who was responsible for these boys? I asked if they were here with their mommy and they replied, no their babysitter. I saw a young girl sitting on the outside of the gated park…with her back to the play area. I was in shock, as were the other parents. These boys did not need a playing companion but someone to watch them and make sure they were being safe. I kept debating whether to say something. After all, was it really my place? Should I just mind my own business?
This went on for another 30 minutes. One of the boys left the gated area to go down a little hill that led to the LA River, which was completely out of eyeshot. WE all saw him leave, but the babysitter, not so much. That was it, I had to say something, after all, no one else was! I shouted to the woman that the child had just run down the hill. She replied, “that’s ok.” I shouted back with anger, “‘that’s ok’ to have your back to these children and not be aware of what they are doing?!” Her response: “they are fine.”
I was in disbelief, and my great day at the park with my kids had turned into disgust and anger. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided it was time to leave. I contemplated asking for the parents’ number to let them know about their terrible babysitter, but decided against it. I wished that I hadn’t; that morning haunted me all day!
By: Kacie Bernstein
I won’t lie…it’s been one of those weeks. One toddler is challenging, but two, well it’s enough to make you want to lock yourself in the bathroom…oh wait, I did!
At times this week I have wanted to run away, just for a couple hours of course, or maybe just one night at a great hotel! I have found myself yelling a lot, and turning into a mom that I am not proud of. But, I have also realized that sometimes it is the most challenging and trying of times that actually help to shape you into the person that you want to be. I have also learned to appreciate the little moments and try to not dwell on those times when my kids act like I’m invisible.
There are times when I don’t even want to be around me, and still, their love is so unbelievably unconditional. My daughter will just look at me with her crazy curls, big brown eyes and chubby cheeks and say, “Mommy, I love you.” It makes my heart melt.
My kids and husband were lying in bed together as I was getting ready for a bridal shower I asked my husband how I looked. My son said “Pretty Mommy”! These are the moments that make the tough days a bit more bearable; the hugs and kisses aren’t so shabby either. I always tell friends, kids will change your life forever, especially two at once, but there is truly nothing better.
By: Kacie Bernstein
When our twins were only a few weeks old I was given some very important advice: always be organized. I am the queen of procrastination but it made perfect sense to me, so I decided to put my best foot forward. I soon learned that with twins, this would be the only way to survive.
When they were infants I would line up their bottles for the entire day. They were, of course, on different formulas, one requiring that the formula be in the bottle first and the other, water first. We were stocked with formula, definitely enough for a rainy day or 20! Every night I would prep multiple bottles, diapers, and burp cloths in my room for the dreaded middle of the night wake-up calls, making sure that everything was an arm’s reach away.
At around two-and-a-half-months-old we started taking classes. I figured it was a good way to make friends and hopefully get some much needed pointers along the way. I would actually pack my diaper bag the night before and have it hanging from the stroller. I was the mom in class that others borrowed from -bottles, diapers, formula -you name it, I had it. Back then I wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without two changes of clothes, infant Tylenol, nail clippers, blankets -the list goes on and on. My husband thought I was crazy, but we always needed to be prepared for the “what if” situation.
As they got a little older and started eating solids, I would actually soak their oatmeal overnight; this way it would just need to be heated in the morning and their food would be on the table before I got them out of bed. Looking back, it might have been a tad neurotic, but it worked for me, and so far so good!
Lately I have been prepping a lot less. Maybe it’s because I finally realized that as long my bag has diapers, wipes, water, and food what can go wrong?
By: Kacie Bernstein
We landed in Nice, and besides being utterly exhausted since I was too upset to sleep, I needed to make sure that the kids were okay. We checked in with my father-in-law; he said all was good and so far they didn’t even miss us…which of course was bittersweet.
We checked in to the hotel and started our day of sight-seeing, eating, and drinking. I was fine from that point on and decided it was time to get into vacation mode. Due to the time difference, we would wake up every morning with an update of the kids’ entire day, and that they were doing exceptionally well. We decided to not call or Skype as that might turn everything upset down. Besides my minor meltdown, we had an AMAZING time away. The kids thrived while we were gone and were on their best behavior, that was of course until we got home!
Our week-long getaway was just a faint memory once the kids woke up from their nap, but those were some of the best hugs ever! For one week, they had become independent toddlers and we were able to just live in the moment and be free…and we are already planning our next, adult only, vacation!