A week ago my family and I went to the beautiful St. Maarten for our much-needed summer vacation and I thought I’d share our experience, particularly how sleep played a part since this is a website about sleep (and okay because I’m obsessed with it). 😀 Thankfully, I had some frequent flier miles to pay for one of the tickets and we opted to have my younger son (now 18 months) sit on our laps, since it’s the last chance before we are required to pay for him. Here’s our summer vacation story.
Trouble began when my “good” sleeper decided to stay up from 10p to 2am the night before our trip! Ugh! He has never done that, but of course that night he did. I attribute it to feeding off the excitement about the trip because I don’t think he fully understood we were going anywhere. The problem was our flight was at 7am! Our plan was to get up at 4 to get to the airport 2 hours early! Oh boy. Vacation was not off to a great sleep start AT ALL. My almost 4 year old (who inspired this site) was in our room at 3:45 a.m. (he was really excited about the trip), so we went ahead and started getting ready.
The travel portion of our trip was actually pretty good. I prepared a carry-on with snacks, new books and new toys along with a portable DVD player, and the boys’ loveys (see more travel tips here). Both boys miraculously napped on the way, too. This is a miracle because my eldest son is still a “sleep fighter”, but he willingly decided to take a nap on the plane. Woah. I can’t say the same for the way back and he was up from 6:30 until 11pm! But, he was good the whole way home, it was only the next day that he had some behavior problems, but a nap helped that immensely (even though he hasn’t napped since about 2 1/2).
Once in St. Maarten, after a rental car snafu, we had a great time swimming in the pool, going to the beach, the zoo, and snorkeling. Unfortunately, at the zoo, my son was bucked by a goat in the petting zoo and the reason for the title of this post is because while we were on a boat, my older son fell off the seat (okay I fell off too LOL) and his face ran into the side of the boat and he got his first black eye. 🙁 Those were the worst parts of our trip, but on a positive note he learned to doggie paddle and LOVED the beach!
Sleep-wise, we started at a disadvantage with the night before even with two naps on the trip there. I prayed I would be wrong, but if you’ve read any of this site, you know over-tired babies tend to wake extra early in the morning and start short-napping. My boys are no exception. The baby napped only 30 minutes (normally a 2 hour nap) the first day and every day on the trip started waking earlier and earlier every day. At the end of the trip we were at a 5:50 a.m. wake-up. 🙁 He did have some good naps while we were there, but we were off routine and schedule so much, he just didn’t sleep well and oh, we started to co-sleep because he and his brother were in the same room and he wasn’t sleeping all that well in the Rent-a-Crib (though it was a nice one and I brought his crib sheet from home) and I didn’t need two boys up!
After our trip, it took about a week to get fully back to normal, but here we are back at 2+ hour naps, a reasonable bedtime and 11-12 hours at night for the baby and a normal 10 hours for the almost 4 year old. I do think our trip has seemed to tip the baby into a 6 hour wake-time before bedtime, which is challenging considering a few days he’s been going to sleep after his big brother. The trip has also seemed to increase separation anxiety for the 18 month old and I hope that gets better, soon!
All in all, the vacation was really great. Obviously, I didn’t get to catch up on sleep as much as I wanted, but I did get to relax, at least. I even read 28% of a book, for pleasure. I know I read that much because right before the trip I used an Amazon.com Gift Card my Dad gave me at Christmas (yes it took me that long to use it) to buy a new Kindle, which is essentially an electronic book reader. It is very cool and easy to travel with. I guess I’ll finish the remaining 72% of my book on my next vacation, since I rarely have time these days to read for pleasure (aside from sleep books).
I hope most everyone’s babies and toddlers were sleeping well while I was gone. I have fully caught up on sleep helpdesk tickets, now. Took a few days, but not bad enough that I won’t go on vacation again. 😀