… and now I am very ready for a vacation from my kids
We went to Hong Kong as a family recently and had a good time. Really, we did. Those Facebook photos I posted were not fiction. But upon reflection it was, in essence, only half of a vacation. Because when you spend that many hours taking care of two small humans, one of whom doesn’t let you sleep through the night, it’s exhausting. And I don’t generally take vacations to be exhausted.
Things get worse when you sit and reflect on why two adults would choose to escort two very small children (4 years old and 10 months old) when every memory I have tells me that nothing that happened to me at those ages stuck with me into sentience. I can barely remember my trip to Disneyland and that was when I was almost a first-grader.
I’m not singling out my kids as being bad travelers. Frankly, they did a great job. My son could be a lot more cooperative when it comes to sticking together in public and I cannot wait to stop changing his diaper, but otherwise he’s a good sport about seeing new places and eating strange foods. And my daughter is only a baby yet she handled her first airplane ride like a champ. She even fell asleep during our descent.
I’m more observing that as parents, we are necessarily held responsible for our kids and that responsibility is at odds with our natural vacation instincts. Hence we ended up spending many hours of the day at our hotel to let the kids nap, although the act of carrying them around made us want to nap too. This meant we rarely left the neighborhood where our hotel was located, which means we hardly had any chances to explore Hong Kong beyond the most touristy parts of the city.
It also meant we overspent on food. There’s plenty of cheap eats to be found in Hong Kong but when you’ve hauling one kid and one baby you simply can’t choose dining destinations on the fly. The hotel breakfast buffet was very expensive BUT the kids ate for free AND there were tons of things they could easily consume - so we ate there every single morning.
Contrast that with the Silvercord food court that had dishes from a dozen different countries, all giant-sized and bargain priced, but good luck finding seats for four. And a third of those countries love spicy foods. “Daddy, it tastes like burning.”
So we had fun and I don’t regret it but boy it would be nice to take a vacation without having to pack diapers and bottles. Without asking every morning if we should take the stroller or just take turns carrying a writhing human. Without pinning ourselves to a fifteen-minute-walking-distance-radius of our hotel.
In other words, who wants to house/babysit next summer? We have air conditioning, cable TV, wifi, high-definition video game consoles, and toilets with built-in bidets.
That’s right, toilets