Staying in a hotel with three little ones

I was invit­ed to a con­ven­tion this week­end. It starts in 5 hours. Want to go?”

I looked up from my work com­put­er. “Um. OK. Do we have a room?” “Not yet, but I want­ed to check with you first.”

Fast-for­ward 5 and a half hours and we are pulling up to the hotel. The dri­ve was 1 hour, give or take, and it took us an hour to load up the car. Before that, we hasti­ly packed every­thing we thought we would need, but there was­n’t enough time to do that well.

We are on the sec­ond night of this trip, and this is going bet­ter than the pre­vi­ous night by far. I have learned a lot in these two days. Things to pack and things not to pack. How to get the lit­tle ones to go to sleep while shar­ing a cramped hotel room. How to keep them that way. (Hint: it involves hang­ing out in the hall­way, prefer­ably with a beer.)

Packing on the fly

We packed a duf­fel bag with the chil­dren’s stuff, and one with ours. We planned for one night. By the time we got there, we had both inde­pen­dent­ly decid­ed that we would be stay­ing for two. This caused some issues right off the bat. The girls are in the same night-nights tonight that they were in last night. I don’t have enough con­tact lens­es. None of us have enough clothes. But we are mak­ing do.

We have a full dia­per bag with plen­ty of dia­pers, wipes, and pull-ups, but we for­got the swim dia­pers. The baby nev­er made it into the pool, (for oth­er rea­sons), and some­body we met at the pool gave us one any­way, but I made a note of it for next time.

It was easy to grab the dia­per bag, which is always pret­ty much ready to go.  Packing our duf­fel bags was more chaot­ic.  Clothes and night-nights for the kid­dos and for our­selves, bathing suits, “float­ies”, tooth­brush­es, tooth­paste, more.

Entertainment

We brought along our lap­tops and an HDMI cable, and I am glad that we did.  The orig­i­nal plan was to plug the Roku into the TV, but I could­n’t get it to authen­ti­cate to the hotel net­work.  Don’t know if it was user-error, or if the Roku can’t sign on to a net­work that requires a brows­er to authen­ti­cate.  I did­n’t waste any time fig­ur­ing that out, I just pulled out my lap­top and grabbed the HDMI cable.

At nap time (by far the most dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate), I set up some of the girls’ favorites on YouTube (a treach­er­ous place, to say the least, post on that some­day), and put them down.  The girls shared a bed, and the baby was in his pack-and-play set up between the beds.  The girls were so excit­ed to be sleep­ing in a new place, while shar­ing a room with their par­ents that they did­n’t real­ly sleep, but they did man­age to zone out enough that they got some rest.  Without the enter­tain­ment, I don’t think we would have been successful.

Keeping busy

My wife was at her con­fer­ence from break­fast until din­ner, so we had the whole day with a strange and new hotel to explore.  We start­ed with the hotel restau­rant, for break­fast.   This was my first time with all three chil­dren and a buf­fet.  I was­n’t sure how best to han­dle it, but I put the baby in a high-chair and I told the girls to wait patient­ly.  I could see the table from the buf­fet line, so I was able to see that they were behav­ing themselves.

While we were eat­ing, a man with a par­rot on his shoul­der walked by.  The girls were very dis­tract­ed by that, and I had to remind them to fin­ish their break­fast.   Mommy stopped by for a minute, too, and that was very exciting!

Once we were done eat­ing, the first order of busi­ness was to find the man with the par­rot.  We found him after a short walk, where we found sev­er­al par­rots on dif­fer­ent perch­es, and their care­tak­er.  E pet one of the par­rots, Rio, but JR was too ner­vous.  I did­n’t push.

Jekyll the parrot.
Jekyll

After meet­ing the par­rots, we walked around the grounds.  It is a beau­ti­ful hotel, with a lot to see.  There was a pond that was full of tur­tles.  They must have been used to being fed, because as soon as they heard us, they all col­lect­ed around us.  We could­n’t reach them from where they were, but every­body, includ­ing I — the baby — was very inter­est­ed in watch­ing them swim.

Turtles
Turtles

Later, we got to see some big­ger tor­tois­es, who were just walk­ing around in the same area that we had ear­li­er seen the par­rots. E got to touch one of them too.  She loves animals!

Tortoise
Tortoise

Swimming

After nap-time, we head­ed down to the hotel pool.  JR is an ear­ly swim­mer, with the help of a floater.  They have come a long way from when I was a child, I would­n’t have been com­fort­able with­out it.  She wast­ed no time get­ting into the pool and start­ed swim­ming around like a lit­tle fish.  I got into the pool with E, but she was­n’t quite com­fort­able in the deep water, so I let her go into the shal­low kid­die pool (which I was quite thank­ful for), and I set up shop in between the pools so I could keep my eyes on both of them.

At first, I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous about let­ting JR swim by her­self, but her con­fi­dence, plus the sta­bil­i­ty of the floater even­tu­al­ly eased my fears.  The baby stayed in his stroller, and the girls splashed and had a great time.  As I men­tioned ear­li­er, I did­n’t even have a swim dia­per for the baby, so I did­n’t intend on putting him in, even though a nice cou­ple with a baby about I’s age gave me one of theirs.

It was pret­ty unevent­ful.  We ate din­ner next to the pool, and then we went inside to find Mommy.

Wrapping up

After a long week­end of fun, we were all beat, and ready to come home.  We packed every­body up in the car, drove home, and put every­body to bed.

Next time, I’m going to make sure I have a list:

  • Diapers
  • Swim dia­pers
  • Sunscreen
  • Bathing Suits
  • Stroller
  • Play pen
  • Laptop
  • HDMI cable (a long one)
  • Snacks
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