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Tropical vacation with baby and toddler

GAYS MILLS - “It’s a REAL BABY!” a delighted tan fit man in a Hawaiian patterned one-piece short-short romper squealed. 

“A baby on the ISLAAAANNND!” another rather robust jolly man chirped. 

“You’re a brave, brave soul,” a middle-aged woman said gravely. All of this in a matter of blocks, while strolling down Isla Mujeres’ busy Hidalgo Street. 

“We should hang a little can around his neck that says ‘Tips! Thank you! Gracias!’” I quipped at one point.  Sweet little Waylon, perched upon his dad’s 6’3” shoulder attracted A LOT of attention on our recent vacation. Waylon on the other hand, really could have probably cared less about vacation, even if he was the star of the show. 

Despite what you may hear on the news, people in Mexico are very sweet, kind and friendly—especially if you’re an adorable, smiling three-month-old. 

Waylon was held and talked softly at by nearly everyone we met. He only spit up on one, the lovely woman who rocked him to sleep during a cookout for his Great Granny Janey’s 75thbirthday. I teased that Waylon and our one-year-old nephew Noah made the most friends on the whole trip, and all it took was a little bit of chirping and smiling and everyone on the Island was in love. 

At one point when we were out to brunch and Thatcher was being unruly (more on that later) and Waylon was perched on my shoulder, making eyes at the waitress and ladies in the open-air kitchen of the Luncheria. The waitress came up and asked how old Waylon was and if she could hold him. Desperate to eat my chorizo with two hands, I happily obliged. All of the women stopped what they were doing and came over to coo over the little blue-eyed baby. Thatcher on the other hand, was not very pleased, for as you see, Waylee Bop is hisbaby. 

“What is SHE doing with MY baby!” he grumbled, already tired and crabby from the heat despite only being out for an hour.  We assured him that Bop was just fine and she was just lovin’ on him because he’s a sweet baby. To this, he simply growled a grumpy T-Rex growl.  

This trip assured me that everywhere you go in the world, people love a baby. It also assured me that a hot, hungry, nearly three-year-old can make your life miserable, even in paradise. Thatcher loved vacation.  He politely introduced himself to many iguanas, met his redheaded Canadian friend Silas, played like crazy with his cousins, and swam in the ocean. He was best in the mornings and while engaged in play. However, late nights, hot sun, and a lot of wild play turned my sweet, smart, curly-haired boy into some type of gremlin creature that someone fed after midnight. 

He only managed to cause one major scene of toddler insanity, luckily. The guys had all went on a deep-sea fishing trip so my sister-in-law and I were left to wrangle the kids. We got brave and decided to go down to the pool right before lunch/nap time.  Thatcher did fairly well at first, but when it was time to go up to the room things declined quickly.  

As his older cousin jumped in the pool with a life jacket on, I asked Thatcher to stay out, I had the baby and couldn't help him in the water.  This was his cue to scurry away from me as fast as he could and step onto the ledge of the pool, all the while squealing about not wanting to go to the roooooooooom! Passing the baby off to my sister-in-law, I managed to wrestle him into the surfboard-sideway- carry. All the while, he was kicking and screaming. 

“I don't want to go to the rooooooomm!!! Put me down!!! Leave me a-doan mama! That's not fair mama!” the agitated toddler screamed.   

I scooped, a now very agitated, Waylon back up onto my other hip and we made our way to the cool air of the hotel room, where both boys promptly calmed down and fell asleep. 

Following a peaceful rest and some fruit upon waking, Thatcher reflected about his moment at the pool. Listening to him talk to me about not listening and running away was such a surreal moment. I ended up having a couple of other such surreal moments on this trip. This little, scrawny boy frequently has such an unexpected understanding of things, and a vast vocabulary to describe it that you easily forget that he’s not quite three years old yet. So when he had these breakdowns, it was difficult for us to manage. However, reflecting on it, I realize that I need to remember a few things—he’s still little, he needs more patience than I think I have in the heat of the moment, he needs more kindness than I may be feeling, and if I can just give him some time he always comes around.

I’m glad that this moment isn’t what he’ll remember about the trip, even if it is what I remember. He remembers the beach, the sand, the birds and the ocean. The things that make him happy—and not to be forgotten, his new favorite saying “Suck, suck a smelly old toe all the way to Mexico!” 

As for us, we’ll certainly go back, but maybe not until he and his baby brother are a few years older.