Quickly I can name a handful of highlights of a recent family vacation. It was an amazing trip to Martha’s Vineyard, with stops in Boston, New Hampshire and Maine, leaving us with wonderful memories and beautiful photos. There were lowlights too, almost all involving shared hotel rooms with our kids. It’s no vacation when it comes to sharing a room with two amped up kids operating on a different time zone.
There are four of us – two parents and two kids – which should work fine in a hotel room with two queen beds. That’s the theory, anyway. I cannot remember a time when this has worked smoothly. We always start out with high expectations, which either means we’re optimistic or naive. The kids would start together in one bed, while my husband and I sat in the dark, with the only light coming from a phone or an iPad. Immediately, things would get territorial. “He was putting his feet on my side,” or “she was trying to take my pillow!” That gets annoying fast. Then the kids take it to the next level: they band together in pursuit of making us flip out.
This is all going on in whispers, as were cognizant of other hotel guests – even though this is all playing out by 8 p.m. anyway. “Get back into bed!” “Stay on your side!” “Stop poking her!” “Stop talking!” All of this is in terse whispers.
Next up was the separation. One kid in one bed and the other in the other bed. They would try to communicate between the beds. We’d force them to face in opposite directions. Eventually, after what felt like an eternity, one would fall asleep, and calm would be restored as the other child fell asleep too.
Once they fell asleep, we’d try to move them, so they were bad in the same bed. The transfer would go well enough, but the problems flare up early in the morning. They’d wake each other up early, really early, and the hijinks would start again. Once I’d had enough with the morning drama, I elected to keep the kids separated all night. I shared a bed with my daughter, but this didn’t help give me any more sleep. She’s always been an occasional sleep talker, oddly enough bickering with her brother even in her sleep. She kept moving closer and closer to me until we were finally sharing a pillow. I’d gently move her back, but then the karate kicks began. I clung to the edge of the bed.
My son wasn’t any better. He also kept moving over so much that even though it was a queen sized bed, it might as well have been a twin. This was a second failure.
Each night we struggled through getting them to sleep. It didn’t matter how much we wore them out, they always had manic energy come bedtime. Thankfully the majority of the trip was at a house where the kids had a separate bedroom or else, I wouldn’t have survived. I wonder when the kids are old enough for an adjoining room, yet by the time they’re old enough, they might enjoy sneaking out through their own door, so that’s not an easy solution. Not to mention, it would double the cost of each night’s stay.
The rest of the vacation was magnificent, the type of vacation that is sad to end, but the one thing that made returning home a huge relief: separate bedrooms. They could fall asleep without interference from each other, and even better, we had a refuge away from them.