After a flurry of last minute packing and de-stuffing on Saturday, we started our trip!
Friends of ours were also traveling through the San Francisco airport on their way back from an almost two-month trip in Europe with their toddlers. Their daughters are some of Theo’s closest friends from preschool, and it was sweet to watch them chase each other around the airport after being reunited. (There were also tears after crashes onto the floor, but that’s the drama of toddlerhood: tears, bliss, tears, bliss).
Overall, the plane ride was fine, though Theo didn’t sleep quite as much as we’d hoped. (Then again, who ever sleeps on airplanes as much as they’d hoped? Not me certainly.)
After landing, we spent two nights in Dublin. My mom booked us a room at the Hilton using her super-consultant-who-travels-a-lot points, so everyone was especially polite to me, assuming that I must be her. Eventually, I stopped correcting them.
The breakfast buffet had an Irish breakfast side and a continental breakfast side. We mixed it up.
Theo slept on a nest on the floor. (He did this voluntarily at home as well.)
On our only full day in Dublin, we visited the Kilmainham Gaol. As we were standing in line, several employees stressed that the contents of the tour would be very political and said that if Theo got bored, we could just tell the guide that we needed to leave the tour. This may have been code for “your son is too young for this tour,” but we went anyway. After all, unless the tour contents were going to be about dogs and trains, Theo probably wouldn’t really care that they were talking about politics. As with most activities in life, taking the tour with a toddler was harder, but mostly manageable.
As a more toddler-friendly jaunt, we also made a whirlwind stop at the Dublin zoo (and indulged in some pre-zoo scones and tea, as pictured below.)
The second night was rough. I’d assumed that since Theo had mostly slept the first night, that he’d officially reset to the new time zone. This turned out to be very much not true. He woke up screaming at 11:30 pm and didn’t go back to sleep for about three hours. Normally, we’re pretty comfortable letting Theo cry himself back to sleep, providing that he stops within five minutes or so. Since we were in a hotel room, we didn’t want to wake up everyone else by letting him cry, so I ended up lying on the floor beside his nest, telling stories about a boy whose super-power was meditation (it was late).
The train ride down to Cork the next day was difficult too. After several days of traveling and not enough sleep, Theo was the crankiest I’ve ever seen him and was loudly declaring “No” to pretty much everything we proposed. Normally, we get lots of comments on what a happy child Theo is. There were no comments of that nature all day. He did fall asleep for a bit on the train, which was relieving, but much too short.
After arriving in Cork and spending a couple of hours sorting out the fact that our rental car agency didn’t actually have any cars left even though we’d made our booking months ago (grrr… rental car agencies), we drove to the cottage we’re renting for a month near Skibberean. The drive was mostly uneventful, though Theo does now know how to yell “Stay left!”
The cottage and Skibbereen are both lovely, but I’ll save that for another post.