When your children are young the thought of taking them on summer vacation can make you want to run for the hills. It isn’t just the short attention spans, the thought of carrying a potty seat with you to all destinations, or the fact that staying in a hotel room is not a viable option.
It’s also the realization that young children come with lots of STUFF. A double stroller, a stool so that the potty in the rental house can be reached, a baby gate (not kidding here people) so that the baby does not find the bright orange Spic N’ Span cleaner under the non-babyproofed kitchen cabinet, and some kind of a portable highchair. You must realize there will be no room for souvenirs on this vacation or perhaps any other for the next 5 years. There will be no room for a 5th pair of underwear or the good camera. By day 5 we will be in dirty underwear taking photos with our phones, and remembering that traveling with kids is a completely unpredictable and exhausting experience.
We potty-trained our daughter 2 weeks ago and although she is doing great, she is not comfortable going in public without her own Sesame Street potty seat which we clip to the stroller whenever we leave the house. I try not to think about the ramifications of this too much. I just use my anti-bacterial wipes and hope to avoid roundworms, rotavirus, crabs, and everything else. When you have a 2 year old, it’s the best you can do.
Our vacation to Richmond, VA began wonderfully. We stopped off at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine near Fredericksburg, VA (what, you’ve never heard of it?) which was where he died in 1863. We spent a few moments feeling thankful for modern medicine before arriving at our rental house which we discovered through AirBnB.
On Monday morning we headed over to the Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park. The playground was fantastic, there were small plastic vehicles the kids could climb in and pretend to drive including a train and fire truck. My kids would have happily stayed in those two attractions all day.
In addition there was more of a traditional playground with swings (including baby/toddler swings), slides, and a hand-cranked platform. Some part of the playground area was in the shade at all times. If you have time for a walk up the hill you can find many animals at the Meadow Farm- admission for admiring the animals is free and they currently have some adorable baby lambs. My daughter also enjoyed the duck pond that we passed on the way.
When we got back to the rental house it became clear that we wouldn’t be spending much time in it this week. Although relatively clutter-free, we did not anticipate the rickety lamps and old-lady tables. Our children discovered these immediately and went in for the kill. The lamps were put in the closet and the tables were stacked on other furniture. Although I had contemplated bringing outlet covers from home I decided that was just ridiculous. Turns out that wasn’t a ridiculous idea at all. We managed to borrow some from a colleague and they are the only reason I am able to cook food when home alone with my kids. It’s as if my baby has a death wish. Electricity? Yes, please!
In a frantic attempt to escape to a more kid-friendly zone we headed off to the Tuckahoe Area Library. It was a thing of beauty. Not only was the children’s department as large as my entire library back home but it overlooked a lovely outdoor walking path. The windows were huge, there was light everywhere, the volume of books put a smile on my face. We missed storytime but the kids had a great time playing with all the different activities and reading together on the comfortable furniture.
Vacation is a wonderful thing. This one is a bit epic and so there will be further installments when I can get to them. The bottom line though is that Richmond is a fantastic destination with young kids- we are loving it.