Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vacation, All I Never Wanted

Last Thanksgiving some of Chicken's relatives thought it would be a great idea if we ALL did a family beach vacation in NC. This location is nothing new to the fam. They go there every year, rent a big house and basically sun themselves into wallets while downing copious amounts of alcohol.

I went the first year we were together (10 years ago) and we have never returned. It's far, it's not cheap and it's just not my thing.
However, since we (the 'cousins') were all due to have babies this year, the parental units thought it would be a great opportunity for us to all spend time together. We would all get separate condos and have our own 'space' and get together at each other's places for drinks and dinner, etc.

At the sounded like it might be a good idea.
At the time....I didn't actually HAVE seven month old twins. I didn't KNOW what it would be like to ride in a car with them for UP to 14 hours. I couldn't IMAGINE that I would have those kids that need things 'just so' in order to be happy and content.

I THOUGHT, "How hard could it be? They'll be 7 months old. They'll be sleeping through the night. They'll sleep in the car on the way down there. We can put them in the stroller and go out to dinner. They can sleep on the beach while we relax. When they wake up they can play in the sand and we'll take them in the pool/beach."

Fast forward to 7 months old and....they don't sleep through the night. They won't sleep for the entire time in the car. Their sleep will be terribly disrupted and we'll probably have to do sleep training again. They won't sleep in the stroller in the evening and I don't WANT to undo all the hard work we've done over the summer to 'see' if we can just 'put them down' somewhere else. They don't sit up on their own yet, so that makes everything more difficult. We can never go out to dinner because they need to go to sleep by 6pm. We can't even go over to someone else's condo together because one of us has to stay home with the babies.
And we'll have very little in terms of help because everyone else has kids!

The grandparents will be there but they have 6 grandkids (4 of them under the age of 7 months)/3 couples arriving. So, we also won't have the 1-1 attention like we did in Argentina. Not to mention that we don't even all have condos side by side. They are spread out all over the place across this huge complex so we can't just run next door if we need something.

I have been stressing about this vacation ALL SUMMER LONG. It does not sound fun, it does not sound relaxing and it sounds like SO much work.

To make things worse, I have come down with a summer cold in the last 2 days and it just keeps getting worse. Today, I'm running a low grade fever and the boys are congested and FUSSY as hell. In fact, W2 has been crying the entire nap time. He has completely regressed this week and I am so scared of taking them out of their environment like this.

One of Chicken's cousins (who is newly pregnant and not going on this trip) has expressed a lot of concern over how hard this is going to be for us and how Chicken's mother is not going to be very understanding of our strict 'baby policy'. This is what I have feared for months.
Because Chicken's brother has one of those babies that is SOO easy. And Chicken's mother is around this baby all the time and we hear the comparisons. I know she's going to insist that we just disrupt the boys schedule and 'see what happens'.
I am so fearful of this that I've even done role-playing with Chicken so that she can practice standing up to her mother. I would do it myself...but we all know the rules with MIL's.

This is the same woman who refused to wash her hands before holding my babies and when I insisted, she later gossiped to other family members about how insulted she felt. This is the same woman who lets my babies watch TV even though I have asked her to please turn it off while they are in the room because they get over-stimulated and crazy. She wants things done her way and she needs to be in control.
She hasn't quite figured out that WE are the mommy's now. She had her turn and it's our game now.

I feel like there's no way out. She has paid for the condo as our joint birthday present and I'm very grateful for that. She is even loaning us one of her cars to drive down so we don't have to spend a fortune on renting a car from Manhattan.
If we cancel because I am sick, I will never hear the end of it.

But nothing takes away the fact that on Friday night at 2am, we are supposed to pack the boys up and drive up to 14 hours straight with me and them possibly feeling like complete shit.
I don't want to go.

Oh, and I have thrush. I was up all night last night as the boys cried for 2 hours straight and tiny little knives were being thrust through my right breast.
I finally took a pack of frozen berries out of the freezer and iced my tit til the knives stopped. Then the babies finally stopped crying and I fell asleep as well.
Right about that time, the cat started howling and woke me up through my ear plugs.
Fucking Cat.

Don't grab frozen mixed berries as an ice pack because they will melt and you will wake up and think that your breasts are bleeding and it will freak your shit out. Grab the peas instead.

I am a mess today. An absolute nightmarish mess and I really, really don't want to go.
I don't know if I'm asking for advice or just venting but feel free to comment.
I'm trying to find the positive, but I'm not finding it. If you see it, please point it out so I can adjust to a different point of view.
Right now, my viewpoint sucks.


H2 said...

Hopefully it will turn out better than expected. Just remind yourself that its a vacation for YOUR little family. And lol at the berries.

Anonymous said...

Um, it sounds like a big old pile of shit, if you'll excuse my french.

I am a crazy mean daughter in law and would cancel this shit if I thought it would destroy my life. Yes, I'm dramatic.

Still, maybe you'll go and maybe it'll be better than you think (I stole the positive slant from the person above me because I'm cranky as hell tonight.)

And yes, the berry thing actually *almost* made me smile, so thank you.

Jen said...

Well, a vacation is good. That's a positive. But, I experienced driving with one seven month old last month and not fun. But, maybe since you are leaving in the middle of the night (can you leave even earlier so that they might sleep half the way?) things will be smooth. I feel for ya! Grandma's have their own way and it is hard to convenience them your way is THE way. My mom watched chunk last Saturday night for Tiff's birthday and we got to her house at 9pm and chunk was up, playing with my mom! Hello, he goes to bed at 6:30!!!!! No good answer, but you are not alone in frustration and struggles.

Strawberry said...

My first thought was 'don't go.'

We've definitely turned down trips and reunions and things like that because we know how hard it would've been or will be.

But if you feel you can't say no, this isn't just a vacation, but a huge chance for you to dig your heels in, set boundaries, and not give a shit what other people think. I know how hard it is to not have an easy baby (but not to add another one of top of that), and so you will be planning your days around their schedule. Even if that means cooping yourself up in the evenings at 6pm while everyone else goes to dinner. And to hell with everyone else. You have to do what's best for your babies and what's best for you and the relatives are going to have to DEAL WITH IT. Hold your ground; it sucks, but it must be done. Remind them that things will be different once the boys are older.

Oh, and try to enjoy what you can :) Digging your toes (and your boys' toes) in the sand, getting in some walks on the beach. There will be good times, too. And thank goodness you have your own place to stay.

BTW, I hope the thrush eases away, ugh.

Michelle said...

I have never commented before but couldn't not this time. I think you have every right to feel what you are feeling. Can the hot chick go with you? Probably not, but it just came to my mind. I will be thinking about you, hope you and the boys start feeling better and that it turns out to be a better "vacation then you think it will be.

Dre said...

I would say just don't go, they will always find something else to get pissy about... but I know it isn't that easy. Too funny about her having had HER turn as a mom and it is your guys' turn... my husband got pissed at my mother for making a nasty comment about our parenting skills and told her to go "pop another out" if she felt like parenting. It got ugly, but it sure was funny. Yeah, peas or corn probably would work better.

N said...

I understand the feeling of not being able to say no.

MAKE it a vacation for you guys. Stick to your routines as much as possible. Stick to your boundaries. Do what you need to for the boys, and if anybody doesn't like it, they can go screw themselves.

I will say, though, if the condos are close together, you could probably get a baby monitor and bring it so that you could at least socialize some after putting them to bed (if you wanted to).

We're taking a trip for labor day weekend, and I WANT to go on it and am already dreading the sleep crap. I'm hoping that the work we've done thus far will help make things easier, even though I know we'll have to re-do a lot.

N said...

Oh, and if you think they might nap on the beach at all (I didn't think N would, but she wore herself out playing in the sand and water), a friend of mine had a brilliant idea and got one of those pea pods and used it on the beach for her daughter. She was able to nap and be out of the shade and away from sand while my friend relaxed and read and enjoyed the beach. (Much better than our not-thought-out plan of putting n under blankets. uh. hot much?)

AdventuresInBabyMaking said...

I am really torn here. On the one hand, I want to tell you to stand your ground and not go, lest you screw up the sleep training you’ve worked so hard for. Then I imagine the never-ending sh!t you guys would get for not going. Maybe everyone is right that there could be an upside. I mean, if you’re essentially holed up in your condo (and hey, maybe being spread far apart is a good thing!) when you want to, you can limit the time with them.

Then I think again about the sleep training you’ve worked so hard to establish... I guess the question is: in 6 months or a year or 5 years, will you regret not going? Or would you regret not standing your ground?

queerstork said...

Don't do it, not this year. It's not fair to you, Ms. Poulet, or the boys to go through that. Gracefully bow out, send best wishes and a hopeful promise for next year. It might be ugly and hard to do... but staying on track, staying sane, and getting the best sleep you can is the number one priority right now.

My two cents. xx!

K said...


When M and I have to travel against our will for family commitments (which happens fairly frequently these days), we try to focus on who we're doing it for ('cause it sure isn't us!) and how much it means to them. Can't say it helps any with the logistics, but sometimes it works like a labor focal point to take some of the pain away, or if not, it at least helps us feel superior and self-righteous about the sacrifice we're making. ;-) Good luck.

e said...

i agree with Michelle, any chance you can bring the (hot) nanny. We always traveled with a nanny as a kid, that way my parents could enjoy the trip. If you guys have your own condo maybe you can just squeeze in?

Anonymous said...

I think you have every right to back out if you want to. That said, it may not go as badly as you think. I was worried as hell about our recent trip (our first with baby) and he had a blast. He slept great and just astounded me with how cool he was. Of course, we had a 3 hour car trip, not a 14 hour one... We also set ground rules with the friends we stayed with (no dinners out, baby down by 6:30PM, curb the drinking). Also easier with friends than family, I know. Good luck with your decision and I hope it all turns out better than you think it will.

Heather said...

I can completely relate to your fear. I feel the same way every time we take our baby somewhere for an overnight stay. And, I can relate to mothers (mine) pushing their idea of how to parent the baby when I am the only mother who should be making up the ideas about parenting my baby. When we take the baby to my family's cabin, our sleep schedule is always messed up. My parents are not understanding of our sleep schedule and do absolutely nothing to help keep the place quiet during naps and early bedtime. It really peeves me off, and every time we go, I swear it will be the last time because no one is the least bit sensitive to the whole baby sleep schedule. But honestly (and I really hate to admit this), by the time we head home after a weekend at the cabin, we are all fine. The baby is fine. She goes back to her regular sleep habits once we're back home. We are fine. We do get some sleep. And maybe if I just approached the whole thing with a little more positive and go-with-the-flow attitude, I could have a better time and feel less stressed. I think I make things a lot harder on myself and my partner by stressing and worrying about how everything is going to work out. (I feel like typing this out is giving me a revelation. I should do this more often.) So, I guess if I had any advice, it would be to really try to enjoy yourself. Everyone will survive the trip. Hold onto that. You will be okay. Your babies will be okay. It could turn out to be a good time even. You might be surprised. I hope you have a good trip! And I hope you feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Oh girl! I completely hear you. We are supposed to leave on Friday morning for a weekend with M's family. I don't want to go! It's only a 4 hour drive but our girls HATE their car seats. And M's aunt is notorious for going in to get a baby that makes any sound or movement assuming they are awake. Ugh! I don't want to go. Sorry I don't have any good advice, just empathy... xoxo

Movie Gyrl said...

Sorry that this situation is so unfair to you. So hard to make a decision. Youre sick, twins are sick, schedules will be thrown off balance. Have you discussed with Chicken how she feels? I know sometimes you can get wrapped up into your own feelings when you have so much on your plate.
Damn it that her mom already paid and got you a car. It's as if she wanted to guarantee you guys wouldnt have an excuse to back out.
I so conflicted on what advice to give. Dont want you to go and it's pure hell for all of you. But on the upside it might go well. The boys may love the beach and may surprise you being in a different environment. (Told I was conflicted.) Hope whatever you decide works out :)

Dee said...

I agree with e, see if Nanny can come. I used to join families all the time as nanny. I loved going!

Anonymous said...

Hey going to be the lone bitch here and say....try to suck it up for your partner. I bet it's important for her to have the boys spend time with her family. It's hard to balance family demands and desires with your partner's needs. Sorry you are sick, but I guess if your partner truly expresses her desire to go and spend time with her family- you gotta suck it up.

That being said- my partner and I just returned with 2 year old twins from the outer banks. It was an 8 hour drive, but yeah it can be up to 14 hours. Long ass drive. LOVE your blog.

Next in Line said...

Ah puff this is a tough one. I am sure that you will get through this which ever you decide. Aren't four month old babies easier to travel with? I miss those days. I think the sleep routines will come back and it won't be as hard as all that sleep training work you have already done.

Is there any other way to get, train anything that doesn't require car seats?

PS Having twins should be enough of an excuse to get out of anything

B and D said...

If you are well to go, I vote for bringing the nanny :) At the very least, absolutely stick to your schedule and screw the harassment if you get any. I also second the Pea Pod for the beach if you can get one! I hope that it is much better than you are anticipating. Feel better!!

SP said...

It sounds like a scary time (the drive and the attitudes), but it may not turn out as spooky as you expect it to. You don't know unless you try.

I don't know you, but it may be worth asking yourself if you are sweating all of the possibly terrible stuff because you really don't want to go (for reasons other than nap schedules). I know this is terribly presumptuous of me, but I just thought I would ask. If the sleeping were better and you weren't sick, would there be another reason not to go? If not, then forget I asked.

How does Chicken feel about the whole thing? I can't advise you, and 14 hours sounds like a long way to drive to go to sleep in a condo at 6pm, and have breakfast with a woman who mocked you for wanting clean hands around your baby...but, she did pay lots of money for you to be there, so you must be wanted--really wanted. Might it be worth it to go where people want to be around you?

Anyway, you seem like a smart lady. I'm sure you will make the best decision for your family.

K J and the kids said...

I feel for you and want to say don't go...HOWEVER It sounds like you don't have that as an option.

I think that your mind is the place to start. You have to go because your MIL paid and because you support your partner and because life will never be the same if you don't go :)
BUT. if your mind is prepared for will be great.
Figure out what your little family could do while others might want to do something that doesn't coordinate with naps and stuff.
Let ALL of the guilt of not hanging out with everyone go and just resolve yourself to the fact that you are going but probably won't spend a lot of time with anyone else.
Make sure to use nap time as a good opportunity to bow out of the MIL's conversation and leave your wife there to visit and catch up. You could even do this at night. Both of you could put the kids to bed. Because I know that getting stuck alone with the job can be a nightmare. Once everyone is settled and you have ordered room service or bought a movie to watch on TV :) Send the wife out to socialize and show face for your family. This way you can relax, the babies are still sleeping around their same time and the family gets some time with Chicken. Keep cell phones readily available so if the babies DO wake aren't stuck with 100 % of the work. That will just make you super bitter. Oh and make sure to have an alcoholic beverage too. ha ha

If the kids are sick...their sleep schedule is probably fucked any ways. What's traveling going to do that a snotty nose hasn't already done ;-) (just trying to find the silver lining)

Oh and maybe consider borrowing or buying a cheap mirror or something that goes on the headrest to entertain the babies when they are just sitting in the car and awake. It might buy you a little time.

Take earplugs and ipods. That way, you can at least drown out the crying if it's constant and you just can't take it any more :)

Long and not a lot of help...but I wanted to add my 2 cents.
It's going to be rough and their will be times that you regret your decision....BUT you are such great parents and amazing at what you do that I'm sure you'll make this whole trip look like a piece of cake.
Good luck !

Anonymous said...

Shit ... Sorry for all this worry you have right now.

Three thoughts come to mind.

Number one: Your family consists of 4 people; and you and Chicken are in charge of making sure those 4 people are ok. To hell with treading carefully around anyone else?

Number two: how did you feel before you went to Argentina? Did you feel these levels of anxiety about it? Did everything turn out as you expected it to? Was it hard? Did you cope?

Number Three: How about you get on the phone with MIL and just let all these thoughts and anxieties spill out in to one big mess? She was a new mum once (although not to twins) - make her understand that this is genuinely hard for you, articulate every single fear you have, and let her know that the last thing you want, is to feel like you're letting the family down - see what her suggestion is?

I hope your health get's better soon and lets you deal with this x

duck said...

I totally get why your freaking! We did travel, albeit it was a 2 hour flight with 3 month olds, but their sleep was messed up and they found it hard to adjust to sleeping in a pack n play, and it took 2 weeks to get them sorta back to their normal sleeping patterns (and these babies are not on any kind of scheduled sleep here at home so I would imagine that if they had a strict schedule it would have been a whole lot worse).

S said...

We just got back from a vacation in NC....the drive was ROUGH with just one 3 month old. Sorry!
It took us 12 hrs to get there, with some traffic issues and having to stop lots for a very unhappy baby who didn't appreciate that much time in his car seat. We planned the trip during the pregnancy and thought he'd sleep in the car....not so much! LOL. We stopped in Baltimore on the way home to break up the drive which worked so much better.
Had a great time once we were there - but we did discover that our kid doesn't sleep anywhere and prefers his bed for naps.
Stick to your routines and just try and enjoy being somewhere else.

Inlocoparentis said...

Just sending some solidarity your way.

tbean said...

Puffer--I read this yesterday and have spent 24 hours trying to come up with some perfect advice or solution to your dilemma. And yet I show up here, empty handed. But I'm thinking of you guys and hoping that you make it through the next week unscathed. Whatever you decide, time will pass. And you'll get through it.

pugmama said...

Puffer, first of all, sorry to hear you have thrush. Your MIL sounds like a real trip.

Here's the thing: This week at the beach will be what YOU make it. Visualize yourself having a nice car ride, playing in the sand with your boys, relaxing with Chicken when the kiddies are napping and sleeping at night.

You can't change Grandma, but you can control how you deal with her. Try to keep your cool. That babies will feel your stress and freak if you are stressed.

You are going to have a nice time. You will look back on this vacation and say, "We all survived and had a good time."

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog since I found out I was pregnant with twins. My boys are 2 1/2 months and I SO hear you about not wanting to disrupt a routine. We have started baths at night and jammies and even though they might not "get it" quite yet I DO NOT want to disrupt it for anything! Therefore I don't go anywhere either and if we do, we are back so we can do baths at a decent time. That is quite the dilema and I so feel your pain, I am crazy right now and would not go at all and would not care what anyone else said--they DON'T live your life everyday and know how hard it is to get babies to bed and stay sleeping and how much we pray for it everyday!! Don't listen to me though, I'm sleep deprived...

Amy said...

I understand the underwhelming feelings of going to spend time with family with whom you're not particularly fond, but it is your (at least Chicken's) family. I know you've had a rough time with the boys' sleeping routines round the clock, but in the whole scheme of things, this will be a blip on the screen. Disrupted sleep schedules - even if it takes a month to re-train them - really isn't the end of the world. The family doesn't get to see the babies often and won't ever get to see them at 7 mos. again. Those experiences and memories win out in my book. I remember traveling with our first at 8 mos. old and how horribly he slept while we were traveling, but the memories we have from that time are far out-weighed on the positive side. I think a positive outlook before going will help you - even if the trip ends up not being at all fun for you. Think of the big picture, at least for Chicken and your boys. I wish you the best on this trip! I hope you're feeling better.

Schroedinger said...

Good luck... I hope that you are able to re-form your relationship with this side of the family. You & Chicken are mommies now and that is your first priority-- skip the dinners and the drinking and try to enjoy what you can. That the condos are spread apart might be a blessing, from what you describe.

I hope you find the god side of this forced family time. You will get major points just for going (this is what Speedy says to me every time she drags me to her family's things.)

Queentammiefer said...

Good day very cool blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally, I’m satisfied to search out so many helpful info here within the put up, we’d like develop more techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing. . Hotel in frankfurt-Oder