Guest blogger Paul Starke: My wife and I very shrewdly decided to skip the holidays and insanity at either of our families houses, and instead went to a lovely resort in Florida with our baby, just the three of us (crappy economy = desperate hotels = good deals!) We will now do this every winter. We're tanned, relaxed, and didn't have to listen to "Blue Christmas" on a loop in my mother-in-law's car stereo. Still, there were a bunch of things we learned on our first long trip with Luke. Here are the "12 Things I Learned on My Winter Vacation."
1. Don't bring all your baby toys: Out of desperation, I gave Luke a barf bag (unused) to play with and that's all he wanted for the rest of the flight.
2. The airport security "family lane" actually works! Had we known this, we'd have had a baby years ago. Or borrowed one.
3. The older you get, the funnier "Everybody Loves Raymond" becomes: I never quite cared for the show -- I saw a bunch of reruns on vacation, and I totally get it now.
4. While your wife's asleep on the beach, you can use the baby to "pretend" to be a single dad: I didn't do anything except go for a walk, but if I was trying, I could've gotten some room keys from many of the ladies who were "awwwwwing" over Luke.
5. Babies can't tell the difference between their bottles and minibar bottles: Why do they have to make them so tiny and cute?
6. Purell gets poo stains out of hotel carpets: But nothing can remove the icy stares from the housekeeping employees.
7. Baby Powder gets sand out of every crease imaginable: At least it did on me; I haven't tried it on Luke yet.
8. Saying "we have a baby" in an impatient tone will let you cut in line: It worked at the airport, at restaurants ... if people still don't let you cut in front of them, gently ram their calves with the stroller.
10. I want to move to South Florida now, not when I retire: Dinner at 5PM. No stairs. Lots of chain stores. Golf carts. Movie theaters. Mah-jongg. What's not to love?
11. I am never wearing shorts again: After looking at some of my vacation photos, I am starting to resemble Benjamin Button before he turns into Brad Pitt.
12. One of the awesome "firsts"? Taking your baby swimming for the first time. One of the less awesome firsts? Your child's first dump in the pool.