Toddlers - Worlds Worst Travelling Companions

Today's guest poster is non other than Sprite's Keeper. She took the high road and didn't post about booze or nudity, but now I'm officially stressed that my kid won't fit INTO the Pack n' Play. Thanks, Jen! I owe you one. Really. Ahem, so, when's your next flight?

Huh. The blogosphere in Canada looks surprisingly similar to the blogosphere in Florida. Except they say things like "eh" and "ya" and "God save the queen." (Who saves the king? What's his safety net?) Anyway, I'm sure you've gathered by now that Keely took the kid and the husband and traipsed across the Canadian provinces for some well deserved quiet time and asked a few of us to handle her site for the day. Of course, I am always happy to do so, but I do believe in equality among the posting masses so she'll owe me one. In fact, we're going on our own holiday come Labor Day so I may ask for some payback that Monday. (Ooh, wait. That's also the first Monday of the month, a HASAY day. That may work. If she loses weight, and she's been running so she should be losing, then I can reap the benefits. If she gains weight, I can just say, "Hey, that was Keely writing on my site! I'm being good!" I like this plan..

Wow, that tangent took up a lot of space.

Last week, when Keely was stressing over the trip and carting a Pack'n'Play across planes, trains, and possibly buses, I expressed sympathy (and maybe an LOL) (and those of you who read my comments, I do NOT LOL) and found my topic for my guest post. (Which I thought was more in taste than booze and nudity.) (If you were in the same email thread that I was, you'll know what I mean.) I miss our Pack'n'Play. Badly. It really was the best baby item we had for Sprite. Anywhere we went, she was set for a place to sleep. Spending the weekend at my parents as often as we do when visiting the East Coast, it took less than a minute to set her up for a nap or the night. She was comfortable, she was content, she was CONTAINED. (Can I stress the contained part any more? It really does bear a second emphasis. CONTAINED!!)

When we were planning our registry and all the crap we would have to bring into our home to keep a kid happy, the Pack'n'Play was the first thing we zeroed that scanning gun on. In fact, the only pause in our decision was whether we wanted to "girly" It up or go with a neutral tone in case the next child was a boy. We went neutral. (We're realists.) (And frugal. Do you realize how much those things cost?) We used the Pack'n'Play (later redubbed the Hose'n'Go after a particularly bad blowout as performed by Sprite and an easy clean up with wet wipes. Seriously, no stains! Is there any wonder why I love the damn thing so much?) for almost everything during Sprite's first two years. It served as a bassinet for the first three months when Sprite needed to be close by during those nighttime nursing sessions. Only when she started sleeping through the night (right around that third month) did it stop becoming a major character and resort to guest starring roles when we traveled.

When we vacationed anywhere, that Pack'n'Play had reserved space in our van. We used it everywhere whenever Sprite needed a place to rest her head (or her tushy when we were in places not quite baby friendly). Until..

(You knew this part was coming.)

She outgrew the Pack'n'Play. (Sob!) It just happened so suddenly. Granted, she had already transitioned to a toddler bed since I had caught her with a foot over the crib railing a few months prior and John had decided she could sleep on her Elmo couch one night and she did well, so I knew the day was fast approaching when we would actually have to WATCH her while out of town instead of slamming out a quick lullaby and re-joining the grown ups when her bedtime came knowing she would be safe because, hello? CONTAINED.

So, one night last fall, when we were planning on going out with some friends and my parents were going to "watch her" (quoted because the plan was that she would already be asleep when we left therefore their part of it was to go on about their night since the only thing the toddler was actively doing was drooling) and John and I gave Sprite her abbreviated bedtime routine and left her in the Pack'n'Play. Our friends showed up, we sat in my parents' living room and talked for a few minutes, and I quickly excused myself to check on Sprite one last time before we left.

(Yeah, this is the part. Right here.)

I opened the door to the darkened room and heard her breathing heavily. Huh? Flipping the switch, I found out why. She had climbed out of the Pack'n'Play and was enjoying a late night jump on our aerobed. She saw me see her and immediately crouched down as if that would erase the jumping I had witnessed. Somehow her reasoning was skewed because, um, she was still outside the Pack'n'Play. How would she erase that?

"Hi, Mommy," she panted.

There went my plans. My parents were already in bed, our friends were gearing to go out, and I still had an active toddler on my hands. I brought Sprite out to bestow some good night kisses on everyone and retreated to our room to make sure she fell asleep while John and our friends went out. (I told him to go. One of the people was his best friend who lives in California and this would mark the second time they'd seen each other in five years. Would I make him miss out on bonding with his buddy? Hell no! Would he owe me? Hell yes.)

Since then, we decided it was time to put the Pack'n'Play out to pasture. At least until the next baby comes. Sprite now sleeps on an extra toddler mattress we were given and we stow that one at my parents' since it cannot dismantle for easy traveling the way our Pack'n'Play does (or did). (Sob!) And of course, her journey to the Land of Nod must be supervised now since a toddler can get into a lot of trouble when left alone in any room that hasn't seen a child's intentions in decades. I can only imagine what the nights will be like when we head to Orlando on Labor Day weekend and she has an entire bed to herself. (John and I refuse to share a bed with her. She kicks. A lot.)

So, Keely, here's hoping your vacation brings a lot of happy memories and a lot of restful nights. And here's hoping Xander stays put in his Pack'n'Play and any aspirations for being an Olympic pole vaulter wait until you're back home and not worried about other people's possessions.