We just arrived home from Aruba, the land of tropical skies and tropical flowers. It was actually our second trip. My husband and I went last year by ourselves, and this year we all went. ”All” includes my in-laws, as well as my three kids… So last year was more of a vacation, and this year was more of a “family trip.” Yes, there is a difference, and anyone who has kids knows exactly what I’m talking about! (After a family trip, you almost need a vacation in order to fully recover…)
The original plan was for my husband and I to get up at 4 a.m. in order to shower and pack last-minute items. Around 1 a.m. I decided not to go to sleep at all. So, I was the one sleeping in the van on the way to the airport. The airport was the usual experience, only worse. Getting young kids through security without losing any belongings or children is always stressful, but my oldest son (who is on the autism spectrum) has an unusual walk which somehow set off the security scanner. As a result, he and my father-in-law were pulled aside for a special screening. I’m sure national security has no bigger concerns than the elderly and autistic eight-year-old boys… Anyway…
So, that was how our trip started off, but it was actually a pretty great trip. With a little help from portable electronics, our boys did awesome on the airplane, and my daughter amazed me every single step of the trip. She took to the airplane, the pool, and the hotel just as easily as can be. And she was fascinated by all of the salamanders and lizards. She took off after one iguana, and listening to her cackle maniacally while chasing him was the funniest thing!
Although he looks like a monster close-up, he was actually just about the friendliest iguana I’ve ever seen. Before my daughter came over and spooked him, he and I were staring at each other for the longest time. He literally just stood there and let me take twenty pictures of him. (Perhaps he has dreams of going to Hollywood…)
Everyone did end up getting sunburns, but no one drowned and we all had fun. I actually was the least sunburned of the whole family, but somehow managed to burn the tops of my feet. Odd. I’m not quite sure how that happened except that I had them in the baby pool a lot. My husband and both boys burned their shoulders pretty badly. And all of us came home itchy (since insects live year round in the Caribbean). The grass always seems greener elsewhere until you start counting your mosquito bites…
We went back to many of the same restaurants we went to the first time, including this place where you eat off a hot stone, and had a really funny experience. This little boy kept coming over to our table and bringing my daughter his cars. She was happy to take his toys, but apparently that was the extent of her interest. When he leaned in to kiss her, she backed away and started crying. We all burst out laughing, and my husband announced, “Now, THAT is spectacular!”
What do you want to bet that won’t be the scenario in another ten years? Oh well. If all else fails, we can always just lock her in her room for the next twenty years, right?