Day 5 in this beautiful place. There’s some things I’ve learned about vacationing with little kids. It’s not a vacation. I’m not complaining. I guess I just forgot we don’t have a nanny.
We finally arrived Wednesday in Eleuthera, a long skinny island in the Bahamas after a very long journey starting with the red-eye in LAX to Fort Lauderdale. Then a short flight to Nassau with an interminable layover there. Then finally another short flight to Rock Sound. The trip was harder because Shep was sick with a fever and I realized midway through so was I. I was going back and forth between sweating and shivering. Not the best trip when you’re sitting upright all night holding a baby. I got not a minute of sleep but thankfully Shepard and Pippa slept most of the flights. When the owner of the house we’re staying in, Pat met us at the airport I was practically delirious.
We got to the house in Rock Sound in the south of the island at 5pm and I had the singular focus of finding a bed and lying in it. We were all so sticky and hot I got in a cool bath with the kids, changed all our clothes, put Pippa in the Pack n Play Pat had nicely set up. Shep and I got in another bed and went to sleep for a nap. I didn’t even look around the house or beach. I just needed to lie down flat with no baby or luggage attached to me. I was so out of it I don’t even know what Alan was doing. I meant to nap for an hour or so but I woke up in the middle of the night hearing Pippa crying. It was pitch black dark and I was disoriented and soaking wet. I found Alan dead asleep sitting on the couch, his mouth gaping open. I did the bare minimum to get back to sleep. Changed my clothes, took out my contacts, changed and nursed Pippa and got Shep into a Pull-Up. Thankfully he hadn’t wet the bed yet. Then we all slept til morning.
I went directly outside in the early morning to take in the calm turquoise water directly in front of the house. It was so beautiful. There’s a little dock and a couple steps down. It’s so shallow that Pippa can be on hands and knees in the water and Shep can walk out quite a ways. Alan is ready to spear fish for dinner but we’ve only seen little tiny guys in the bay so far.
I’m trying to adjust to island life. Everything is sooo ssllooooww. It’s hot and sticky. The early morning calm is my favorite before it gets too hot. Then our swims before dinner are great. I’m also trying to be at one with the bugs and I’m not doing so well. We’ve found about a dozen wasp nests on the outside of the house and there’s nothing that makes me scream and panic more than buzzing, stinging bugs. There are little flies, big moths, sand fleas, spiders, mosquitos and teeny tiny ants in the kitchen. I know bugs are just a reality in the tropics. They’re not going away. It’s just a matter of managing them. Hopefully in the coming weeks I will make peace with all these creepy crawlies.
So yes, we are in paradise. The water is thrilling. But the reality of vacationing sans nanny with a crawling baby is that it’s not really a vacation – especially on the beach. She has to be held or managed the whole time or she gets sand all over her hands which quickly go in the her mouth and eyes, then the crying starts. Kids still wake up early and need to be fed and entertained and changed and napped and made content 24/7. I think when we were planning this trip I was conjuring images of our honeymoon, a month long relaxing adventure in Mexico. Driving around exploring cenotes, reading on a hammock for hours and napping whenever I wanted. We would sleep late, start drinking beers at noon, eat dinner at 10, sip tequila, stumble home whenever. Well, I didn’t think it would be quite that carefree with kids but I did imagine uninterrupted time for reading, writing, swimming and sleeping. I don’t know what I was thinking! We pretty much have the same schedule as at home. The kids have the same needs except even more so here because there’s so much sun screen and sand and hats and water safety involved.
I know I sound like a brat complaining about a vacation in the Bahamas. Don’t get me wrong. It is beautiful here. I’m writing for the first time in months at a little wooden kitchen table looking at the inviting blue water just outside the window. Shepard is asleep but Pippa is pulling on me. She was content for about four minutes with an assortment of tupperware containers and a wooden spoon. Alan went out fishing. I can’t say I’m getting a whole lotta R&R is all and I guess I thought I would since we are on this island for a month.
I keep thinking about that NY Times article last Sunday about a “child-free” life and how childless couples are actually happier in the short term and I totally see why. Much of childcare is lowly grunt work. Couples without kids can frollick on the beach unencumbered by ten tons of baby crap, take romantic swims, stay out late – do whatever they want. And that spontaneity is good for a relationship yet very difficult to pull off with kids. Of course childcare is just a part of being a parent but it’s a big part in the early years (like right now). The article goes on to say the happiness factor grows exponentially over time. As the kids get older and grand kids are a possibility the happiness factor switches and childless people are less happy in their older years. Facing growing old and dying alone, those carefree vacations of your younger days don’t seem so worth it. I guess if you don’t have a family make sure you have lots of money to take care of yourself when you’re old.
Well, this blog post took a turn. Now, for the rest of my no-rest filled vacation…