We are home! After spending four days away for our annual Christmas trip to Long Island, just about everyone in the family is excited about getting to sleep in their own beds tonight.
The original plan was for us to go from the 22nd to the 28th, although I’m not sure why we ever thought that such a long stay was a good idea. We quickly amended that plan and departed once the Cutlet returned home from school on the 23rd.
According to Google Maps, the trip to the mother-in-law’s house takes five hours without traffic. Thanks to rain, a mix of holiday and rush hour traffic, a couple of less-than-cooperative toddlers, and an insanely slow staff at Wendy’s, it took us four hours just to get out of Maryland.
Fortunately, the rest of the drive went a little better. The twins (eventually) went to sleep, and we arrived in Long Island not long after midnight. Once we brought the children inside and got them settled in their respective beds, it was close to 1 AM. Mrs. Cutter and I were exhausted, but a good night’s sleep was not in the cards for us.
Travelling with six people (the au pair came with us) is not easy, especially when two of those people are under two years old and still sleeping in cribs. With that many people, fitting everyone into your in-laws’ downsized home can be tricky.
Mrs. Cutter and I had to share a room with the twins, which isn’t ideal under perfect circumstances. When one of them has a cough that keeps waking him up, it’s extremely difficult to get much rest. Mrs. Cutter and I eventually had to go downstairs and sleep on the couches. (Fortunately, there were no demonic cats around to hiss at us.)
Mrs. Cutter was feeling somewhat ill herself, and after a busy day of Christmas Eve festivities, she pretty much passed out in the loft. The Cutlet had slept there the night before, but I told her she would have to sleep in the guest room with her siblings. She protested a bit, but I think I used Santa Claus as rationalization and she accepted her fate.
I tried to join Mrs. Cutter in the loft, but the sofa bed is barely usable for one person; for two, getting a comfortable night’s sleep is nearly impossible. I soon found my way downstairs to the couch once again.
In our exhausted state, we found it increasingly difficult to deal with the twins. Travel with one year olds can be tough; They are mobile, and like to get into everything. This makes for a harrowing situation in houses that aren’t child-proofed, as you have to keep constant watch over them.
After a couple of days, we were all growing agitated. There were too many unfamiliar situations and unfamiliar faces for the twins to deal with. Meltdowns – from children and parents alike – were becoming more frequent and intense. On Saturday afternoon, we finally came to the conclusion that it would be best for everyone if we started the journey home.
This time around, we broke up the trip to make it more manageable. We stopped at my parents’ house in Pennsylvania on Saturday night, and then finished the journey on Sunday morning before most of the holiday traffic was on the roads. Thus far, we regret nothing about that decision. (The Cutlet was sad to have to leave early, but she was pretty much the only one enjoying herself.)
Hopefully everyone sleeps better tonight, and we all wake up feeling healthier and happier. And if we’re smart, we won’t make any further attempts to travel for at least another six months.