Time was, when we were first marrried, that the prospect of a trip was filled with great anticipation. New sights, new sounds, new foods, new people. Now, with three children … not so much. Trip planning now involves boarding the cats, cancelling the newspapers and mail, doing laundry for three sloppy boys, coordinating clothes and clean underwear for same, and packing.
Packing for one was a breeze. Packing for two was not so bad. By the time Wild Thing came along, I had everything down to a system. Packing for four, however, is exponential. They all want to help. Each one distracts the other. It’s a wonder we get anywhere with everything in tact.
It’s more than packing suitcases, too. Each boy needs a suitcase and a backpack filled with activities to keep him occupied on the plane. Each boy needs to carry his own backpack. Wizard is good at packing things for himself: six or seven books usually do the trick. Wild Thing, OTOH, has no concept of what is appropriate to bring or how much he can carry. WT will pack one or two tooo-easy books — and will never read them. He’ll also pack a ton of toys too heavy for him to carry himself. Inevitably, I have to edit his backpack. Moose sort of follows WT’s lead: he’ll pack a ton of books to read (read “to have read to him”) and a few toys. Then he’ll be jealous of WT’s toys.
I used to buy them special new toys and books to take on the plane. No more. They lose and destroy stuff as soon as they open it. Now, they have to choose from their own libraries and boxes of broken crap.
In at least one respect, traveling is now easier. No more diapers and diaper bag. No more stroller. Each child can carry his own backpack and pull his own rolling duffel. Wizard is particularly helpful b/c he can carry stuff for us or his brothers, too.
We are off for a week in The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Mr. Franklin, the Liberty Bell, a few cheesesteaks “wid”, and in-depth exploration of Chinatown. When we return, we’ll be storied, well-fed, and quite sleep-deprived.