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Two weeks after my youngest child was born, my book was published. That meant I immediately started traveling around for media events for my publisher. My little one has always loved nursing and has never been willing to take a bottle, so she was with me for every event, every appearance, every flight—we were together. In general, our travels together have gone fairly smoothly. However, this last trip was, on some levels, a complete nightmare. Take heed, parents. These are some things that definitely can happen to you when you take your toddler across the country to a beach.
1. You will spend the entire hour and a half of your first flight trying to keep an active and excited toddler happy in a teeny tiny space. She will finally fall asleep exactly 5 minutes before landing, so you'll have to wake her in order to deplane.
2. You'll sit on the airplane for your next leg of the journey, and enjoy a lengthy delay due to lightning strikes in the area. Your sleepy toddler will sit quietly and patiently for the duration of the delay. (Bahaha!)
3. You'll nurse your little one until takeoff, and suddenly become aware that she is in desperate need of a diaper change. Since the plane is finally preparing for takeoff, you're stuck in your seat. The flight attendant will animatedly exclaim, "Oh man, what is that smell?" Thanks, kid.
4. Every flight will be delayed except the one time you were hoping to eat during the layover. You'll have to run to catch that one. #hangry
5. You'll want to run away when your child decides to throw a tantrum in a restaurant.
6. At the beach, your toddler will promptly stick her face into the sand, trying to eat it. You'll be finding sand in every diaper for the next week.
7. Your toddler will catch a cold and be a mess of snot and tears for much of the trip.
8. You'll decide not to go to Disney World, because dang. It's stinking hot.
9. Your husband will go golfing for two of your five days at the beach, and you won't be bitter about that.
10. You'll forget to buy your toddler a life vest for the boat ride, so she'll get to wear Big Brother's.
11. You'll look at other travelers lounging all day under umbrellas, drinks in hand, and wonder what that would feel like.
12. You'll Google "child-proof hotels" for future reference.
13. Much like childbirth, the pain of the experience will fade over time, and you'll be left with the kind of memories that can only be gained in the midst of the chaos that is raising children.