Thursday, June 22, 2006

Travelling as an attached parent

Iris and I spent most of the day yesterday travelling to WI. She was an absolute dream about all of it. Even better than I had hoped she would be. We didn't actually get back to my parents house until 12:30 in the morning (local time-- which was 10:30 on our time) so over ten hours total of travel, the vast majority of them spent strapped in to a car seat, she was seriously a trooper. Today, as expected, we relaxed the entire day. After having so many days of being crazy busy it felt a little wierd to just be hanging out. I am sure than after a few days I will easily fall in to the routine of eating and relaxing :)

Over the past few trips I have made with Iris it is starting to become clearer to me how much harder it is to travel as an attached parent, with an attached child. The biggest thing I am finding to be the challenge is sleeping arrangements. We have made several trips to see Matt's parents through Iris's life and this is the third time she's been to WI. All of the grandparents are sweet enough to set up a pack-n-play for Iris to sleep-- but there's one catch. One BIG catch. Iris doesn't sleep in pack-n-plays. She sleeps in bed. With me. The scenario usually plays out as follows: I lay her in the pack-n-play much to her serious protests. I don't feel safe putting her in the bed without me there because they are always high off the ground with no protection from rolling off. So, she screams "that one!" and points to the bed, to which I try to explain that she can only sleep in that bed with mama. She doesn't buy it. She falls asleep after much anguish only to promptly awaken about half an hour later, and will continue that pattern until she gets to sleep in the regular bed. This isn't such a problem when I actually can eventually take her in to bed with me (although my parent's full sized bed is mighty small for a pregnant mama and a two year old!) but sometimes I can't. Like the hellish several nights we spent at my sister's house last holiday season. Iris was in the pack-n-play and I was on the couch next to her. No bed. When Iris woke up, which she did about a million times because not only was she in a bed she hated but because she was also totally stuffed up since my sister's home is a germ factory, I dragged her on to the couch. With me. Two of us. On a couch. I am sure it threw safe co-sleeping rules straight out the window, but it certainly wasn't very comfortable and led to many lost hours of sleep. My sister wants us to come and visit her for a week while we are in WI on this trip. I want to see her, of course, but I can't handle another sleeping situation like that, especially while I'm pregnant.

I just don't really know what to do about it. Recently Matt's parents gave their guest bed, which was queen sized and perfect, to Matt. They are replacing it with a twin sized bed. Not the best for co-sleeping with Iris and impossible for me to so-sleep with two children. All of the places we visit are now almost nightmarish to sleep at. I don't want to make it my hosts problem-- what are they going to do, buy new beds? But I also don't know how to solve it. Do I lug a giant inflatable queen sized mattress everywhere I go so my children and I can sleep as we are accustomed? Hmmmm, not such a bad idea! I want to be a gracious house guest, but I'm not going to force my daughter to scream her head off every time she has to go to sleep in a pack-n-play, and then proceed to awaken with her every hour while she freaks out about where she is. I just want her in bed with me. I suppose sleeping on the floor is a possibility, but being as pregnant as I am and/or sleeping on a hardwood floor-- not so appealing.

Ugh. I just wish it was easier.


  1. Look into the inflatable matress - I have a twin one for Michael's room when I need to "cosleep" with him and it works great and is very compact - it takes a few minutes to inflate and even let to colapse, definietly worth it.

  2. I have an inflatable full size/double mattrress that would be big enough for you and Iris most likely. You can borrow it next time you travel. It's about the size of loaf of bread when it's all packed up.

    Also, could you put pillows or quilts on the floor next to the bed, or bunched around Iris until you come to bed?

  3. I usually do fine organizing a cosleeping situation when we reach our destination, but getting there has been a challenge. When I last visited Wisconsin via train in hot summer, pregnant and with a toddler, she and my belly slept across two seats while the rest of me hung off. I wouldn't want to do that trip again.


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