Every year my in-laws have a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition- they pay for all of us to come to a beautiful resort in southwest Virginia called the Homestead. I have told a couple of close friends about this resort, but I have never taken the time to really describe the experience to everyone in detail.
The Homestead was established in 1766 and has been a hot spot for politicians like President Taft (there's a "Taft" room. Yes, I know... Lincoln would have been more impressive) and Virginia Senator John Warner just to name a couple. Celebrities have also frequented the resort, if the pictures on the wall haven't been photo-shopped (and considering the lack of technical savvy here at the hotel, I'm doubting it). The rooms can be large or small depending on the amount of fortune you want to pay. There is a famous hot springs on site, golf courses, bowling ally, ice skating, spa, falconry lessons (yes, falconry), shopping... you get the idea. And since John and I were engaged in 2005, I have come to the Homestead with his family and had an incredible time, even if it does feel a little awkward walking among the wealthy and privileged as if I were one of them.
But this year is different due to the Beastling. Eric, sweet little guy that he is, does not react well to change and has always had difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Couple that with the fact that he's an easily distracted social butterfly who doesn't eat or nap in a place he's unfamiliar with and we have ourselves the makings of one hell of a Thanksgiving. Even though it's our second day here and tomorrow will be our last full day, Eric has already set up a predictable pattern of behavior. And most of it isn't pretty.
Which brings me to my tips for taking a baby to a resort.
(Keep in mind that these tips are more for older babies. Babies younger than 3 months can be taken to a Monster Truck Rally for a weekend and sleep through it happily)
Rule #1- Do not bring a baby to a resort in the first place if you can avoid it, no matter how much the in-laws want to show me off because, inevitably, the people they want to show him off to won't come to the resort that year (and, yes, that is what happened).
Rule #2- Make sure there are at least 2 adults with the baby at all times so that someone can have the illusion of rest while the other takes over the more dominant role of feedings, naps, etc.
Rule #3- If the baby won't nap, try not to raid the liquor cabinet for the $15 mini bottle of Chivas Regal. Because, with your luck, he'll get drunk and vomit all over the crib and then won't sleep at night.
Rule #4- Bring items that are familiar to your baby: a lovey or blanket and maybe even crib sheets and a bumper pad from your house so that your baby can smell home and hopefully rest better. Then ask the resort what size the cribs are so you don't end up carting all of this bedding 5 hours in a crowded Prius for no reason.
Rule #5- You will be tempted to bring lots of toys to amuse your baby while in the hotel room. Don't. Not only is it a waste of space during packing but your baby will enjoy playing with the t.v. remote, the room's refrigerator, table and chairs far more than his own toys. If all else fails and your baby is crawling, take him to a common room with long carpeted hallways and "walk" the baby until he is so exhausted from the exercise that he wants to nap (See Rule #3).
Rule #6- Remember when your baby vomits up every meal in the fancy dining hall, refuses to finish a bottle, won't nap, can't sleep at night, and has a screaming tantrum when you won't let him swallow the key to the mini-bar, that this too shall pass....
... And soon you'll be home where things may go more smoothly, but there won't be the free liquor. :-(