Our trip to the east coast ended with nary a hitch. I was only truly alone with the kids during our 4-hour train ride from NYC to Boston and on our flight back to California, and they were such troopers, staying close to me while we navigated the tunnels and crowds, and keeping the bickering down to a minimum when I really needed it.
Although it was stressful to keep my eye on them for a week straight and my list of things to do was heavily abbreviated because of the kids, I had a great time and really feel like we got closer because of this trip. Here are some lessons learned from traveling whilst outnumbered by children:
1. The coolest thing about the iPad is that it can be a different device for every user, and for us, it is an absolute gamechanger when it comes to travel. Although we flew JetBlue and had a TV screen at every seat, just knowing that their favorite movies and TV shows were contained inside a device with an 8+ hour battery life made all legs of the trip (and the downtimes between excursions) so much more palatable for all involved. It will definitely be with us from now on.
2. The NYC weather report changes by the hour! I lugged 10 pounds of galoshes cross country because I thought it was going to storm the whole time we were there, and the kids wore them once and I couldn't even put mine on because my feet were swollen from the travel. Man, I definitely wanted to pitch those boots every time I had to pick up our suitcase. However, the travel rain jackets I bought on a whim really came in handy because they made great windbreakers as well, perfect for the warm and humid spring evenings.
3. Although I have seen the Statue of Liberty 3 times previously, introducing my kids to her made it a completely different experience. Same goes for Central Park...who knew there were so many playgrounds? And one of them (Adventure Playground) looks like it will outlast humankind:
4. Thank god for the age 4. It is so much less tantrumy than 3. God bless 4.
5. For a 7-day trip, we had one full-size suitcase, one kid-sized travel suitcases, two backpacks, one large tote, and a stroller. Isaac wore one backpack and wheeled the small suitcase while I wore the other backpack and tote and pushed the suitcase with one hand while maneuvering the stroller with the other with varying degrees of success. Luggage manipulation was definitely the hardest part, and we still had to do laundry once during the trip (well, New York's finest $1/pound pick-up and delivery laundry service did).
6. For some reason, every time my kids sat together in the back of a taxi or someone else's car, they went into this crazy-hyper mode where they just couldn't keep their hands off each other, inevitably poking/kissing/taunting/grabbing each other until one of them cried or yawped. SO ANNOYING and distracting to the driver. That said, you would think of all people, NYC cab drivers would be accustomed to strange noises coming from the backseat, but a few of them were quite agitated with the kids, so I eventually just sat myself in the middle seat just to separate them from each other, and I did note the irony that I was now riding bitch.
7. Be sure to introduce "Make Way for Ducklings" to the kids before a trip to Boston. It was magical to see the places described in the book in real life, and there is even a statue of Mrs. Mallard and her babies in the Rose Garden across from Boston Commons.
PS: I am once again participating in NaBloPoMo for the month of May. This month's theme is "MAYBE," so in a last-minute attempt to accomodate it for this post, I answer the question "Would I ever attempt traveling solo with both kids ever again?" with "Hmmm...maybe."