We had a wonderful vacation with only a few minor setbacks. And although going on a cruise with a 4-year-old is kind of like seeing the dream vacation you want without actually being able to have it, we had a pretty relaxing and fun time.
Not many photos with this post; we’re still sorting through the 1,800 vacation photos to find the best ones. I’ll probably have a “cruise vacation photo” post within the week. So today, I’ll quench your thirst (minor interest? uninterested politeness?) for vacation details with the things I learned on this Caribbean cruise.
- You don’t really appreciate your kid until you are exposed to other kids. This lesson was learned when boarding the parking shuttle bus at the airport. Upon seeing the Little One, a kid hurtled his way out of his seat yelling “Hey do you want to be my friend? Mom, I’m going to sit with him, OK? Yeah!” The Little One was (rightfully) a little put off by this friendly bundle of energy but politely sat next to this well-meaning but extremely hyperactive child for the whole shuttle ride. This kid barely took a breath, kept bouncing around in his seat, and had no concept of “personal space”–getting right in the Little One’s face while peppering him with questions and random information. It sounded a little like this:
Somewhere in there I picked up on the fact that this kid and his parents
were flying to Florida. And we were flying to Florida. And we were on
the parking shuttle bus at the same time. I had a sudden horrible vision
of our immediate future. I looked at the mom and casually asked:
“Soooooo…you’re going to Florida. Are you flying American?” She must
have seen the fear in my eyes and (thankfully) burst out laughing.
“No…don’t worry. We’re not flying American.” I smiled sympathetically
at her: “He must keep you busy, huh?” She nodded her head: “You have no
- It is possible to gain 8 pounds in 8 days. In the interest of science, I selflessly took it upon myself to see if you could gain a pound a day. The answer is an unequivocal Yes…You Can — especially with the help of unlimited chocolate croissants, gooey yummy cinnamon buns, tender crispy bacon, 24/7 access to comfort food, made-to-order crepe stations and so much more. I didn’t eat fruit unless it went into the chocolate fountain first. No dessert went untried. No entree at the 24/7 comfort food restaurant was unsampled. The food was decadent and delicious. And I even missed the chocolate buffet (more on that later). My cute little potbelly (remember that part of “Pulp Fiction”?) quickly morphed into a pot torso. Yuck.
- I can identify “Girl from Ipanema” based on only a few notes played on the piano. I learned this while playing “Name That Tune” trivia in the Fyzz Lounge one afternoon. I was quite proud of myself. But things went downhill after that. The only thing I came up with for the music from “Bridge Over the River Kwai” was “Comet…it makes your mouth turn green. Comet…it tastes like gasoline.”
- Perhaps my husband should have pursued his dream as a professional gambler. One of my husband’s constant complaints is that if he wasn’t “saddled” with me and the Little One, he would be living the high-life in Vegas and have a Black Label card at the Borgata. And regardless of his pleas to let him try the life of a professional gambler, I’ve always said “No. No. No.” But then he won $1,600 in the two on-board Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments, and now I’m rethinking my hasty refusal. Nothing makes a vacation sweeter than winning the money to pay for it in the casino.
- Even in the Caribbean, it is much colder in the pool once the sun goes down. One afternoon, the Little One and I went swimming in the ship’s pool and played on the water slide. It was great fun until the sun started to go down, and the water got really really cold really really fast. Plus we started sailing, and the wind picked up. I kept waiting for my husband to meet us at the pool edge with dry towels, but he was at a raffle that took much longer than anticipated. So once I saw my son’s lips changing from blue to purple, I realized I had to get the towels myself. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like getting out of cold water and being assailed by cold wind on a moving ship. It was FREEZING. (I know you have no sympathy while you probably shivered in snow up to your knees but let me have this moment.) I wrapped the Little One and myself in towels and then realized I didn’t have the key to the cabin either. So we tromped shivering and dripping all over the ship until we found my husband. (And no, he didn’t win the raffle.) From that day on, the Little One referred to that swimming pool as “the frozen pool.”
- They don’t sell t-shirts that say “I cruised on the Caribbean but all I got was this lousy head cold.” On the morning of day 3, I woke up with a sore throat, runny nose and achy bones. Somehow, a full-fledged cold attacked me in the middle of the night. (But I’ll take a cold over the Norwalk virus any day.) Although we had kept the Little One in virtual “lockdown” before the cruise to avoid vacation sickness, it was me who was felled. Nothing like feeling sick while on vacation. I was so sick that I even missed the chocolate buffet. However, this led to the next two lessons learned.
Blowing my nose in Cozumel.
Look at all the chocolate ice cream on the Little One’s pants and my pants. What slobs!
- They sell all kinds of drugs over the counter in Mexico. As I staggered off the ship in Cozumel looking for some kind of medicine to staunch the seemingly endless supply of mucus pouring from my nose, we miraculously found a drug store. And boy, they sell EVERYTHING in Mexican drug stores — from Cipro to Amoxcil to tons of other bottles that I was too dazed to read. I know this probably isn’t news to most of you, but it was kind of weird to see all these prescription drugs just sitting out on counters for the taking.
- A Tequila Sunrise, a beach chair and someone to watch your kid helps a head cold feel better quickly. Oh yeah, and free Internet service so you can get a brief blog fix isn’t so bad either!
- If you are offered an upgrade to first-class for only $90 a person, accept the offer. At the airport on the way home, we found we could upgrade to first-class for only $90 per person. Flush with cash from the big gambling win, we said YES! And boy did it pay off! Within two minutes of pulling away from the gate, they announced that we would be sitting on the ground for “about an hour or so” due to a runway being closed. Now, in coach, an extra hour on a plane with a 4-year-old who has only taken one nap in 8 days is like a sentence in hell. In first class, it was not a problem! Warm chocolate chip cookies! Bowls of warmed nuts! Actual food! Drinks! Comfy seats! Free movies! It was delightful and the best $90 any of us has ever spent!
- The Little One cannot be trusted to keep his mouth shut. At one point, I had told the Little One that we were lucky enough to have the “good seats” on the airplane for the ride home. That is all I said, I swear. It was all his idea to loudly announce “We have the good seats, and they have the crappy seats” while gesturing to the poor tired people in coach. And did I mention our first-class seats were in the last aisle of first class — the seats right in front of where coach begins? And the “curtain” wasn’t shut? And the Little One has a very loud voice? Even I heard him make this pronouncement, and my ears were clogged.
- Elves don’t show up to clean your house while you are on vacation. Darn it. I thought that magic dust I left behind would have worked. I guess it was just plain old dust after all.
Thanks for all your kind comments while I was gone. I’m going to be trying to catch up with all your blogs in the coming week, but I realize that is probably not possible so forgive me in advance. If you wrote something you are really proud of while I was gone, let me know and I’ll be sure to check it out and give it the appreciation it deserves.