When we booked our tickets and made plans to spend a week at a resort in Los Cabos, we knew it wouldn’t be a trip of carefree day-drinking round the pool or fun tourist excursions and late night entertainment at the resort. We were bringing our almost 18 month old along with us, so instead I envisioned us sipping margaritas and playing with our babe, splashing happily in the pool, crushing a book or two while Lily Rose napped, eating mass quantities of authentic guacamole and chips, and walking serenely along the beach as a family. We went into it knowing it would be harder than traveling just the two of us. But like most things in parenthood, and in life, reality wasn’t quite so picture perfect!
We assumed she would sleep at least some of the plane ride, since she’d slept the full 7 plus hours on the way to the UK. But now she could walk. She was done nursing. And she was in.to.everything. Even with a supply of her beloved soothers, she cried and craved attention. She wanted to play and explore the plane, walk the aisles and entertain strangers; essentially, be anywhere but stuck in her seat. At some points she wanted to sleep, but she just couldn’t get comfortable. Gravol only made her more antsy! Thank Gawd for Little Baby Bum videos (like crack for our kid!), episodes of Bubble Guppies, piles of snacks and tolerant strangers sitting next to us (and the very tolerant dude sitting directly in front of us, cause Lillers quickly found out how fun it is to kick the seat, eeeek!). I spent time on Pinterest, got advice from mom friends and ran around in search of supplies to make her a pack of entertaining travel toys. The pill organizer pack filled with cheerios, gold fish and raisins was a win; stickers and colouring books were a good filler, bright sticky notes were something new, and her new baby doll helped make her happy at times. But in the end, it was Jon’s tablet that gave us 15-20 minute intervals of peace.
Once there, LR handled the long wait at customs surprisingly well, we found our bags and bus quickly, got much needed Coronas for the ride and traveled to the resort while our babe finally got a few minutes of shut-eye. Even in the lobby while Jon checked us in, Lily loved the fun of climbing on and off the low wicker couches (these couches and the fish tank in the bar were pretty much highlights of the trip for her!). Once in our room, she ran around excitedly, ready to explore again. But when we went around the resort, she didn’t want to be strapped in her stroller. When we first tried the pool, it was too cool for our suddenly sensitive tot. The first night wasn’t horrible, but it definitely wasn’t fun. We knew we’d be using Lily’s nap time for some shut-eye ourselves.
We didn’t get to enjoy any shows at the resort at night, but we were so tired from the sun, some drinks and a sassy toddler that we almost looked forward to climbing into bed at 8pm when we put Lily down. Most nights she woke up crying at 2 or 3am, and had to be brought into bed with us, something she never wanted to do at home. In the morning we took her to the beach to watch the waves crash on the shore, but she didn’t want to walk along in the sand with us, she clung to me and wanted to be carried. She was too young to play on her own at the resort’s kid’s club, so that was a bust. She was overwhelmed by new sights, tastes and sounds.
Our little fruit lover didn’t want anything to do with the beautiful spread of tropical fruit at breakfast, wanting instead to stubbornly feed herself sugary cereal, making for messy mornings. She only wanted to eat snacks and treats the rest of the day; guac and chips, cheese quesadillas, hotdogs and ice cream. She didn’t want to wait to eat until the dinner buffet opened at 6:30 pm (pretty much her bedtime!). And she definitely didn’t want to wait for us to try the lovely meats and cheeses before diving into the main courses. She didn’t want to sit strapped into a highchair while we waited at the à la cartes, unless it meant she got a whole plate of guac to herself, the second she sat down, or had my phone to play with as soon as she was done eating a bit of something. One night we got excited at the sight of the Italian buffet, and hoped our little pasta-lover would finally fill her face and give us a chance to enjoy it ourselves. But Lily spat out the spaghetti, cried and threw it down on the floor. It took me ten minutes and a quick trip up for seconds to discover it was in fact SPICY spaghetti. Oops, #momfail.
Once Lillers settled in (about 4 days into the 7 day trip!) it was quite fun. She splashed in the water, floated in her blow up toy, sat at the swim-up bar with Jon and entertained other guests as she sipped her virgin daiquiri. Who cares that we stuffed our faces with Mexican bar food, and missed out on mussels and other fancy fare at the restaurant at lunch, cause enjoying snacks pool-side while Lily coloured and consumed hotdogs was much easier. And she even made use of all her travel toys as we got ready in our room before dinner, while giving her plenty of snacks so she didn’t go mad with hunger;0
She was down to one nap, so we took turns sleeping beside her, or sitting on the balcony of our room while the other chilled at the pool. I didn’t get much reading done, but at least we were able to enjoy the margaritas and beers, with the gorgeous view of the ocean in front of us. Or we took her on a walk and she slept in the stroller while we perused the grocery store for fun Mexican fare and used the wifi at Starbucks. We chose not to do any excursions; realizing Lily would likely ruin it for others! We ventured off the resort the last night to nearby San Jose, and while Lily cried the whole walk there, she eventually fell asleep and we got to sight-see around the beautiful town and take in the art festival. Then she woke in time to watch some cool dancing in the street, and a delicious Mexican meal complete with her very own big plate of fancy guac;) We’d gone with a couple we’d met there, who could sympathize with our traveling-with-a-kid-plight, cause they’d brought along their almost one year old…and for them too, the trip was for from the relaxing Mexican vacay they’d enjoyed pre-baby.
We can laugh about it now, giggle about the spaghetti fail, the days we had to leave lunch early, the nights we woke to a screaming toddler and took our frustrations out on each other. The horrible flight home has faded enough for us; it was a hard day, but it was just that, a day. We know we will likely do it all over again someday; we just might be the crazy parents who always bring their kids along! We have family who can take her for a night or two, and we are very thankful for that, but leaving her for a week is not likely going to happen. So we have a choice: either we never travel (boo to that!), wait till Lily is older and hopefully less of a nightmare (can’t see that happening haha), or…we just suck it up and learn to appreciate the experience, toddler tantrums and all! Oh and asking Gramps to come along next time might just be a brilliant idea;)
So the sunny days are worth the sleepless nights: waking to her smiling face and morning snuggles all together in the big bed made up for the middle of the night crying and too-early starts to each day. The missed Mexican meals, day drunk buzz kill and not being able to get all the R&R we’d hoped for was worth it for squeals of delight when she saw new birds and fish, hearing her say “bird” repeatedly and point to the sky, make fishy faces each time we asked what fish say:) The look of wonder on her face as waves crashed on the beach was worth her being so clingy again; we had our toes together in the sand, on a beach, in Mexico!!!
On the last day away, a kind man collecting garbage along the beach brought her a pail and shovel, and she finally played in the sand beside us. Our girl was along for the adventure, game to experience this strange place, sometimes she just needed to know that Momma and Daddy were right beside her for it all<3