December 17, 2011

Sanibel Island with a Toddler

There's been silence here. Because I've been in paradise with my family. And. My kid has been A-Mama (ing) (like with an italian accent) me like no body's business.

A few thoughts on our trip:
The Go Go Babyz wheely travel thing was AMAZING. I don't think we could have gotten through our trip without it. Hints: leave it ON when you install the seat on the plane and ask for a seatbelt extender the minute you get on.

Bringing a cooler with food was also fantastic. We had T's soymilk with us along with cheese and other goodies which saved us when things got crazy.

Airlines and Aiports for Toddlers:
San Francisco (SFO) and Southwest were amazingly easy child-friendly experiences. Continental and Ft. Meyer's airport was not. At all. I guess I missed the memo when Continental and United merged, but I specifically bought Continental tickets because I have vowed I will NEVER buy United again after multiple horrible experiences AND bad customer service (or NO customer service) - and then we get to the airport and we're getting on a United plane. LAME.

The way there he was an angel. It was exhausting for us, but he was great as long as he had one of our undivided attention.

The way back coincided with his bedtime and went about three hours past it. So he was horrible. He was tired and couldn't get comfy and then vomited all over everything - including the Ergo, so I had no way to hold him without my arms DYING. Plus, we had a really scary bathroom experience where I had to grip my kid and the walls to ensure we didn't go flying across the plane when major turbulence hit. I have never been more scared in my life. And guilty. NEVER get up - even with a major diarrhea explosion diaper - if the fasten seatbelt sign is on.

Anyway, back to paradise:

We were in Sanibel Island, Florida with my in-laws. We rented the Zyreep (like syrup with a Z) beach house at the Island Inn.

The entire place was fantastic. The roads are flat with separate bike lanes so you can cycle anywhere you need to go. We rented a bike with a baby seat for the week and T LOVED to ride.

It is lush and clean.

And it was 80 degrees. Even when it was a little cloudy or overcast, or those days it sprinkled, it was totally fine.

Thank goodness we got a house, though. I'm not sure T could have handled a hotel room at this point. The kitchen was stocked really poorly (no can opener or salad bowl), but overall good decision.

Amazingly they had all of our favorite grass fed, organic stuff at the local grocery store. Even un-sweeteened organic soy milk (which can be hard to find even in San Francisco). I was able to call ahead and have groceries delivered INTO our house - next time I'll order even more stuff.

Some strange things about Florida:
A lot of people are super bossy. Old ladies telling me what to do with my son. Telling me that I'm playing with him wrong or right. Telling us what bags we have to check. Just generally all up in our business!

I had to let it go and thank GOODNESS they were old or I might have actually put some in their place.

The worst was on the plane after he threw up and we were both still covered in barf. One women comes up with a plastic alligator and says that she thinks maybe he just needs to play with something. The darts of evil must have come out of my head. Like I didn't bring toys for my kid?

Apparently, hippy San Francisco parenting is not appreciated. At one point, I let T go wading in a little water when we were waiting for the touch tank aquarium tour to start (which by the way he was way too young for since he just wanted to splash in it).

I took off his pants and the looks we got were pretty telling that that was taboo. When we were getting out and I was going to re-dress him - a very nervous fast talking man made it VERY clear that we were to use the bathroom to change his diaper (even before any diaper changing started). He must have thought we were all going to get naked or something.

There appeared to be a lot of judgement there, and when I finally talked about this with my in-laws (and bubbs) they explained that much of the South is that way.

I was sure to be aware of other people's feelings and tried to keep him dressed when we were out of our little rental house. Plus, I realize that we probably judge here too, just not over the same things.

Getting to the point: my son would prefer to be naked over dressed. All the time. Floridians would prefer he be fully dressed, socks, shoes, even in 80 degree weather.

Isn't his beach hair amazing?

We slept family style on the very comfy king sized bed...

Bringing the monitor was key and we sat in the yard, eating cheese and drinking Riesling while reading the Times while the baby slept. Which we NEVER get to do.

The amazing skies from our front yard (we had a house within an inn with a few different types of accommodations).

Dude regressed a bit when it came to a bottle - he was kinda obsessed with his bottle and we let him be, since we figured he was in a strange place with new people. He drank it in the sun by the pool.

Why is this picture hilarious to me?

These colors, turquoise and magenta, are all over Sanibel. They are also the colors we're going for in our backyard. Meant to be?

The nature that just washes up on shore was interesting even to me. And usually, I kinda could care less about shells.

Grandma taught T about picking up shells and throwing them in the water on day one. But he would get sad when they would go away and want US to go find them again.

Despite the fact that he hadn't seen her since he was a year old (and such a different baby), upon seeing his Grandma, T ran to her and pretty much didn't let her go the entire time. He would call her name from bed when he woke up in the morning. Well, he would call, "AANNNNMA!"

We made Cioppino - which is a treat in itself - but then my brother in law made home made garlic bread - which was EVEN more amazing. We had homemade bread the entire trip.

Pizza dough from scratch.

I am seriously in mourning for the sunshine and was so easy to just bring the boy outside and let him run when he got whiny.

Bubbs rented a paddleboard for an afternoon and T hated when he would go out, but loved to carry the paddle.

How amazing are these beaches?

I was totally floored that bromeliads grow wild here (you know, plants that don't need soil) - in SF they only grow in these cool hangers and at plant shows, but in this "hiding place" they were covering the trees.

Fashion Police: I swear I used to think these hats were child abuse. I know it is horrifying. But my kid wears it and it protects him from the sun.

The pool was his obsession. The best game was blowing bubbles and stealing mama's sunglasses and throwing them into the water. We were all perma-prunes by the end of the vacation.

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