The next morning I awoke at 5:30. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a 5:30 a.m. person, so I immediately shut my eyes tight and tried to go to sleep. Did this work? It never does. So when Shaun awoke and arose at 6:00, I got up too. Sonja slept until 7:00, Her refusal to drink her milk the night before was followed by another refusal to drink her milk that morning, so her routine was definitely off-kilter. With everybody up and ready to go by 7:30 – a definite first for this family – we headed out to our breakfast spot of choice, the Pig ‘n Pancake.
Sonja was in a good mood but all we could convince her to eat was some ham. After breakfast, we hit the souvenir shop inside the Pig ‘n Pancake where I found a couple of toys for myself, and Sonja rang the world’s largest wind chimes for everyone in the restaurant to hear.
After breakfast we packed up and checked out of the hotel, then hit the Seaside Aquarium. For all the hype the aquarium gets, it was pretty small, but Seaside itself is pretty small. We had a coupon for one free bag of food so we could feed the Seaside seals. As soon as Shaun threw in a fish, Sonja started shouting, “My turn!” and delighted in throwing in the rest of the pieces. The fact that it was slimy dead fish did not bother her, probably because she does not know what slimy dead fish is.
After we finished playing at the aquarium, it was still quite early in the day, so we went for a stroll in town. Sonja wanted to play on the beach again, but it wasn’t any warmer than when we arrived.
Eventually we wound up back at the mall since I had promised her another ride on the carousel. We paid our two dollars and she immediately went for the bench. When the ride operator, a different toothless old man from the one who was there the night before, went by to check all three riders were secured, he told me that since I had paid for only one person, Sonja had to sit in my lap. No big deal I thought, but Sonja felt much differently. She tried squirming away and when the ride took off, she threw a fit. My little Miss Independent did not want to sit on Mom’s lap and she was pretty pissed I was trying to make her.
Feeling a little defeated after that misstep, we got back in the car and headed to the outlet mall on the way out of town. Shaun took Sonja into Toys ‘R Us while I went clothes shopping. Two minutes later, in he walked carrying a bawling baby. We figured out that through the tears she was saying, “fruit,” so we gave her a fruit pack. Then we started walking around again, followed shortly by cries of “more fruit!” We let her have another one as we hurried off to get lunch.
With her belly full and the clock at noon, we decided to start home and let Sonja nap in the car. With both her and Shaun asleep as I crossed the Astoria bridge, I somewhat accidentally and somewhat intentionally took the scenic route (Hwy 101). We made just one pit stop in some unknown town, home to the World’s Largest Oyster. To keep Sonja happy the rest of the way, we bribed her with episodes of Mickey Mouse. We made it home, safe and sound, around 4 pm. (It seemed to take much longer to get home and I am still unclear if my decision to go left instead of right at the end of the Astoria bridge had anything to do with that, or if it was simply perception.)
For those of you wondering and for myself for future reference, here’s what I did right:
Planned ahead. Way ahead.
Drove ourselves and set our own schedule.
Formulated plans for the journey and on-site activities, but left lots of room to go with the flow.
Here’s what I did wrong:
Did not pay enough attention to Sonja’s hunger cues on day 2, especially since she was deviating from her normal routine.
Let that mean, toothless man spoil her carousel ride.
Did not bring proper beach attire, which in the northwest is sweatshirts and wool socks.
All in all it was a great first family vacation. Minimal meltdowns (though to be fair, we have a very well-behaved child anyway), and a mild shakeup of the daily routine. I look forward to the next adventure. I should probably start planning now.