So the weather got better in Winnipeg! (And then got worse.) But for a few wonderful days it’s been like spring. Temperatures have climbed to a searing 10 degrees (and above)! The sun’s been shining. The snow has melted. And as a city, we’ve been venturing out of the caves where we’ve been hibernating for months. In a 3-day stretch, I took the boys for multiple walks to the park, had ice cream at Sargent Sundae (twice), barbequed steaks on the back deck, and even got the patio table set up. All of which has left very little time for sitting in front of the computer and blogging, or for wondering what it is about the sight of me that made one of my sons decide to plunge headfirst down a flight of stairs (I still haven’t gotten over that).
The onset of warmer weather has me thinking about travelling, again. In the B.C. (Before Children) era, J and I traveled often. For the several years preceding the twins’ arrival we would take at least one big trip a year, sometimes more, money and vacation schedules permitting. We also took a number of shorter trips, and many backcountry camping trips each year, because we live in a country and a province that is graced with kilometres upon kilometres of forests, lakes, and rivers. Many of these trips were planned and executed with only a few hours’ notice. We just packed up and went. And we loved it.
And then came kids. I always thought we’d be one of those couples that just packs up the kids and takes them with us (perhaps in backpacks? I hadn’t really thought it through). Kids weren’t going to hold us back, no way! In fact, last summer, when the boys were barely two months old, we seriously contemplated a road trip to the Rockies with them. But we were exhausted new parents in a strange new world, and even a discussion of the logistics of a road trip with newborn twins in a Honda Civic was tiring. Back then we were lucky if we could get out of the house for 20 minutes, never mind two weeks. We stayed put.
If only I had known! Back then, the boys slept 16 hours a day. They were immobile. They weighed less than ten pounds each. They were on a liquid-only diet. A road trip would have been EASY!
Now, they move independently and require somewhat closer supervision (by which I mean they need to be chased and monitored at all times, lest they decide to eat dog poop or push eachother into oncoming traffic). They eat real food, on a schedule, meaning we could not just eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch straight out of the box in the car at 9 pm and call it “dinner,” as has been our habit. We’d instead have to stop somewhere and eat a proper meal, thereby prolonging the painfully boring Regina-to-Calgary stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. Of course, the boys would not be content to sit for long stretches in the car. And they go to bed at 7:30 pm , which could somewhat limit our travel agenda.
But we certainly can’t put them in the middle of our canoe and paddle out to a lonely patch of Canadian Shield rock and set up our tent, hoping to enjoy the silence and solitude. Choking hazards, open water, bears…the baby-proofing in the woods is mediocre at best. And we want to relax.
There’s also the option of travelling without the kids, but I don’t think we’re ready for that. Actually, I know the boys would be fine, it’s me that I’m worried about. I might be okay for a weekend, but a whole week (or more?) When they’re a bit older, sure, but not yet. I get anxious when we’re apart for more than a few hours. I know, this isn’t healthy – that’s a discussion for another time.
I was having a chat about this with friends over dinner the other night. Three couples, two of which have kids, us included. The husband in the childfree couple mentioned that when they have kids, he’s still planning to take a one-week vacation every year with his wife, sans babies. Immediately my inner judgy voice kicked into gear and I think I might have actually said, condescendingly, “You’ll change your mind about that once the baby arrives.” (If I didn’t actually say it out loud, I was certainly thinking it.) It was jealousy, because for months I have been dreaming of beaches and palm trees and 20 uninterrupted minutes to finish reading The Great Gatsby, which I have renewed at the library three times now. (It should not take two months to read a novel!) And this couple had just finished showing us pictures of their recent month-long trip to Thailand – while all I had to show were pictures of my boys tearing into a basket of freshly folded laundry.
I’m at a bit of an impasse over this whole travel thing. More trouble than it’s worth? Maybe. But I can’t help but think – life is so short, and their childhood is even shorter. Even if it’s hard, and they won’t remember it, I want the memories, the stories, and the photos to show them later. And if J is driving and the boys are asleep, I might even get the 20 minutes I need to finish that book.