Monday, February 4, 2013

Vacationing Without the Kids

Right before Christmas, my husband and I took a long over due vacation.  A 5 day trip to Disneyland. Alone.  Without our daughter.

{I know what you're thinking.}

We had always wanted to go Disneyland together but life just got in our way and we were never able to make it work.  But that all changed when we started planning for our trip in June.  Our daughter knows about Disneyland, but doesn't really know what it is and we wanted to go before she knew what she was missing!  (We plan on going back with her in 2 years.....I can hardly wait!)

My parents were generous enough to come stay at our house while we were gone.  Our girl was over the moon.  She loves her Grandma and Papa and doesn't get to see them often.  I completely trusted my mom and dad with her, but in 3 years, we had never left her for even a night.

6 months was plenty of time for me to worry about leaving our daughter for that long. I scoured the Internet for tips to make it easier on her and her caregivers. There wasn't a whole lot out there, so I did it myself. I thought I'd put it out there for anyone else in the same situation!

Be advised, I found all kinds of ways to offend grandparents while they are watching the kids!  There's even an entire forum dedicated to the subject!  I called my mom to ask her if she minded if I put something together. She thought it would be helpful, so I went for it. I didn't schedule every moment, I didn't lay her clothes out for every day, I didn't leave cooking instructions for Macaroni and Cheese; all no-no's according to that forum!  I was more concerned with letting my parents know about our girl's quirks and emergency information.

I bought a cheap red pocket folder and just put the paperwork in the pockets.

All of the emergency information was in the left pocket:
  • Emergency contacts
  • Doctor info
  • Our address (very important)
  • The address and phone number of where you're staying, flight info, etc.
(All of that was on one sheet of paper). 

Behind it, I included a medical release form; I just googled it and found one that covered the bases.  It basically authorizes medical staff to treat your child as they normally would if you were there.  There was a place on the pocket to slide a business card, I just slid our insurance card in there.

In the other pocket were several pages:
  • Working the TV remotes (why is every TV different??)
  • Our daughter's typical meals, snacks and drinks.  At the top, I wrote that it was okay to deviate from 'the list', that it was okay for them to spoil her while they were there.
  • Her 'schedule'; this included wake up time, TV time, eating time, nap get the idea.  And again I reiterated that it was okay to do their own thing.  (It really was okay with me, but it made me feel better to leave them with something to go by if they needed it.)
  • Discipline; time outs, etc.
  • Dosages for medicine in case she got sick
  • Leaving the house; what she likes to bring with her, etc.
  • A list of stores and fun places to go with their addresses
  • The last page was just random stuff like when to give her a bath, her favorite show on the DVR, where kid movies are...that sort of thing.
Another thing I did to make it easier was to have the diaper bag ready with plenty of diapers, wipes and a change of clothes.  I had aspirations to pre-pack snacks for the diaper bag, but that didn't happen. 

Since it was Christmastime, there were all sorts of easy art projects at Michael's.  I bought a different one for each day we were gone.  A 'ready to decorate' gingerbread house, a new awesome coloring book, a few of those 'foam' crafts.  It didn't matter to me if they used them.  I just wanted to make sure my parents had plenty of things to do with her if they wanted.  Turns out they used them all!  We had all sorts of fun art projects waiting for us when we got home

My parents said that they really appreciated having the folder and that they used it every day.  It took a lot of guess work out for them. 

It was hard to leave my little girl for that long; and giving up control.  I cried all the way to the airport!  But in the end, the trip was so good for our marriage; and our girl was no worse for wear when we got back. She had a wonderful time with her grandparents.

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