Even before I gave birth to my daughter, my husband and I were making all sorts of family travel plans. We figured that some time before my maternity leave ended (so before 12 weeks), we'd take the baby to meet relatives in Minnesota. Then we figured we'd plan a late spring vacation in Europe, to give me something to look forward to and get me through those early weeks back at work. We'd always been intrepid travelers, taking off on trips three or four times a year with carry-ons only. So we were confident we'd be able to handle hitting the road with a newborn and have a blast.
What a bunch of idiots.
The first time we spent a night away from home with the baby (a visit to grandma, about an hour away) we packed one and half car loads full of stuff... And yet we still managed to forget diapers. Then it took ages to get our pack-n-play ready because we forgot how to set it up. Then the baby ran out of clothes after some projectile spit up incidents.
Needless to say, we've since decided we enjoy being homebodies.
But some day, hopefully soon, we'll be ready to get back in the saddle. And I'm already dreaming of the amazing travel adventures we'll have as a family. There are a few places I think Baby Em would absolutely love (though I admit I have ulterior motives as well).
Disney World. There's always this great debate over how old your kid should be when they go to Disney for the first time. A lot of people wait until their kids are a little older, so they can appreciate the experience more, and also remember it. I personally hope to be able to take my kid a little bit on the younger side, while the belief and the wonder are still super strong. I don't remember my own first visit to Disney, but I have this picture of me meeting Donald Duck, and you can just tell that I'm pretty much pooping my pants (not literally) with excitement. I hope my little girl will be just as impressed to meet her favorites. Plus I hear there are some really good day drinking opportunities at Epcot.
Harry Potter World. One of the best things about having a kid is having the perfect excuse to go places like this. I've been waiting for years! My husband and I plan to start exposing her to the Harry Potter books and movies as soon as she's old enough to have an attention span longer than 8 seconds. I think the only way my daughter could ever disappoint me in life is if she grows up and doesn't like Harry Potter.
New York City. Okay, this one's kind of cheating, since this is where we live. But it's an amazing place, and in a way I will always be a tourist in my own city simply because there will always be something new to explore. I can't wait to stroll through Central Park with her, taking in the gorgeous scenery and grabbing lunch from a hot dog vendor. And yes, I am aware that hot dogs are made of pig lips and pure evil, but in this scenario I am imagining that by the time she's old enough to explore the city, hipsters will be selling organic tofu pups out of carts.
Paris. The City of Light has such a special place in my heart. So special, in fact, that 1) I gave my baby girl a French name and 2) designed her a Paris themed nursery. It's also one of the first cities that my husband and I ever traveled to together, as well as one of the last places we visited on vacation before getting pregnant. Paris has it all-- art, architecture, fashion, and perhaps most importantly, pain au chocolat. As much as I'd like my little girl to grow up with healthy eating habits, I also can't wait to let her go a little nutso in a Parisian bakery. Especially since I'll be stuffing my face right alongside her.
Italy. See above about stuffing our faces, but with Italian food. I especially look forward to this as I've had to cut dairy from my diet due to an allergy on my baby's part. Which means I literally dream about pizza, day and night. And pasta. And all the things stuffed with cheese. Basically everything you can find in abundance in Italy. I also hope my baby will grow up with a love of art, so it'll be great to introduce her to the non-ninja turtle Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello, and Rafael. And again... cheese!
We may not be ready to head out any of these trips just yet, but I know we'll make amazing memories when we do. And diapers will be the first thing I put it in the suitcase.