Let’s take a break from the school-musings to talk about a different subject, because once again I could use some advice. A PR company has invited both Riley and I on a complimentary trip to DC in order to participate in a corporate-sponsored event promoting the “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” movie. The event includes flying out to DC, touring the Smithsonian Air and Space museum at night, and probably some other festivities along the way. The tour lasts about an hour and the event ends at 12:30 AM.

So here’s my question: would you go for it? I mean, there’s the whole flying-across-the-country-with-a-preschooler thing, the late night aspect of the event, and the fact that while he’s not nearly as uncontrollable as SOME of my children (I AM LOOKING AT YOU DYLAN) he has definitely mastered the art of triggering Spontaneous Parental Brainstem Combustion via Turbo-Whine (see also: the “Why” Factor).

He might think flying in a plane is awesome, he might lose his shit. He might love the museum beyond all reason, he might lose his shit. He might really enjoy staying in a hotel and hanging out with just Mom for a while, he might . . . you get the idea.

Book it and hope for the best, or hope we get another invite a few years down the road?

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Merrily
13 years ago

ummm, yeah GO!

wealhtheow
wealhtheow
13 years ago

DO IT! This is the best time of year to visit DC (I’m assuming the trip is scheduled before July). National Air and Space Museum is really kid-friendly. It will be a wonderful experience, and hello, FREE!

The Metro is actually not that bad with kids, as long as you’re not riding during rush hour. And even then, people aren’t rude to your face, they just sigh and roll their eyes and think really evil thoughts. There are always tons of elevator outages, though, so it’s not terribly stroller-friendly.

Lizzybee
13 years ago

DO IT!

MRW
MRW
13 years ago

I guess I’m another voice of dissent, but that’s because my son would have been a total mess if I tried to keep him up late at 3.5. He is an early riser and even 9:30 west coast time would be late enough to make him hyper and cranky as hell. That in combination with being without spousal support for when his crankiness officially went through the roof would be enough to make me turn it down. However, if Riley isn’t an early riser and can handle being up past his usual bedtime, I’d say go for it. The plane ride might be a bit awful, but the rest would probably be fine.

Kate
13 years ago

Find an older, more emotionally-stable kid to take and go. :)

KB
KB
13 years ago

My 3.5 year old absolutely thrives with one on one time with a parent. We went cross county to see the gparents, just the two of us and it was awesome — just know there is a limit to how many days he is willing to be from home. We learned on day 5 that 4 days away is our limit…

JenO
JenO
13 years ago

Do it. If he loses his shit, at least you won’t have paid for the trip. Some kids can fly great – my 3 are excellent flyers and have been flying since they were 6 weeks old (by product of living halfway across the country from my family). Some kids will lose it no matter when they start – my nephew is terrified to fly (has flown many times before) and will cause a HUGE scene on any plane.

If he can handle it, you will be ready for that trip to Hawaii. ;)

April
April
13 years ago

I don’t know. This sounds like too much possible risk and not enough reward to me. He’s so young he probably won’t remember it. It sounds kind of nightmarish, to be honest. I just took a plane from California to Washington D.C. and *I* almost lost my shit.

Sunny
Sunny
13 years ago

No kids here, so I can only give advice from the sidelines.

Regardless of the destination, I think it’s a neat opportunity for you to spend one-on-one time with Riley. Since Dylan’s birth, he’s been sharing the spotlight and this would allow him to have you all to himself. On the flip side, JB will have Dylan solo and that’s good too.

If you think Riley would handle the plane ride okay, he doesn’t stress out over schedule changes, and if he’d find the museum fascinating, I’d go for it. Watching him wide-eyed and excited will be a pretty special moment for you too. Like a previous commenter mentioned, bat-shit crazy kids will be a dime-a-dozen around there, so I’d hardly worry about a minor meltdown. As for what he will or won’t remember, you may be surprised at what he’ll recall from the trip. He’ll certainly know it was special and probably pop-off with all sorts of random memories in the years to come. Good Luck.

Aubrey
Aubrey
13 years ago

Do it, definitely. My parents took me to Disney World when I was 2 1/2, and I still remember a lot about the trip. He may not understand the significance of seeing the Wright Brothers’ plane or anything, but there’s a lot of stuff that any little kid would enjoy.
Good luck!

Amy Pollak
Amy Pollak
13 years ago

I wouldn’t think twice about taking him. We’ve traveled with our 4.5 year old since he was 4 months old (first plane ride was actually to Seattle from Chicago) and have even taken him out of the country multiple times. Even at a young age we talked about it a lot before leaving so he’d know what to expect, like he needed to nap on the airplane, brought plenty of snacks and books and just went with the flow from there. It’s great to spend so much time with him and look at things through his eyes. I say go and have a great time just the two of you!

Laura Porras
Laura Porras
13 years ago

I haven’t read all of the responses yet, so I apologize if this is a repeat, but GO FOR IT!!! I have a 3 1/2 year old son and worry about that same thing, but I’m always surprised at how well he’s behaved when we’re doing new things. What a cool opportunity for you guys! Bring a lot of things on the plane – a portable DVD player or an iPod that he can use will take up a lot of his time. And remember, if he screams the whole time, the flight will eventually land and you’ll probably never see those people again :)

Cara
Cara
13 years ago

As the parent of a child exactly Riley’s age plus a younger one (mine just turned 2), I would definitely say go for it. My son gets so little one-on-one time with my husband or me and he’s always much better behaved when it’s just the two of us. I think he would think it was really cool getting to go on a sweet outing all by himself with you!

Jess
Jess
13 years ago

Do it! A free trip (yeah!) and the memories he will have will make you the AWESOMEST mom in the world. Really, it will!

Keaton
13 years ago

They’re paying for it, then? Book it! If he’s going to lose it, it might as well be on their dime – that way, at least you’ll know if he’s ready to travel or not! =P

Melissa D.
Melissa D.
13 years ago

Book it. Worth the risk and what a cool thing for you guys to do together!

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

GO FOR IT!!!!

Gina
13 years ago

I’d do it in a minute. It’s a great opportunity and will probably be a big adventure for him.

Michelle in Maryland
13 years ago

Go!

Sunny
Sunny
13 years ago

One other thought, for the love of GOD don’t let them book you on motherf*cking American Airlines. Otherwise, YOU may be the one we need to worry about, not Riley!

Erin
13 years ago

Dude! Do it! Are you kidding? If it sucks, it sucks, but its still a day or so alone with your baby, right?

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

I’d do it, too. Even if Riley complains about a few things, he’ll be awestruck and filled with excited chatter when he gets back. Stories to tell Dad. He’ll also feel extra special.

Christy
Christy
13 years ago

I say book it with absolutely no expectations. Meaning, don’t have high hopes of it being the best trip ever. If everything goes well, you’ll have a great memory. If not, you at least had some alone time with Riley which you probably don’t get much of. He might surprise you with your undivided attention. Even if he’s a good walker, I’d bring an umbrella stroller just in case. Unless you’re ok with the piggyback thing.

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

DO IT!!!

And I live in the DC area if you need help/tips/advice/etc.

DO IT!

Meli
Meli
13 years ago

Go, go, go. But have a plan.

We always jump at an opportunity but have the plan that we will bail out on part if necessary. There is no reason to stress over it–just stay calm and have a plan!

Pick one thing you want to see at Air and Space–make that your goal and then head home if you feel he will lose it. If you see more than one thing call the trip a success! If you don’t want to do the late night trip you can always try to head over to the museum earlier in the day–although it is always crowded with highschool kids on some kind of trip this time of the year. They are usually really “polite and helpful.”

I live in DC and would be happy to meet up with you at the airport and provide you with a car seat. We have many extras for some odd reason (hand-me downs, friends, etc.). No strings attached–and I’m not a creepy stalker I promise!

Go! It’ll be an adventure!

alfredsmom
13 years ago

no he is not a little young. Go for it. He will look back and LOVE it even if he hates it at the time! lol. You’ll be happy you did it too, even if all hell breaks loose.

ritchiewoman
13 years ago

Do it. And here’s how. Book Riley a window seat. Book yourself the aisle. If you are lucky, no one will book the middle seat and you will have the row to yourself. If they do, you can either swap with the stranger or say, “hey man, it’s your problem” and read People magazine. Bring a DVD player and enough goldfish crackers to feed the plane. A couple crayons or one of those magna-doodle boards will suffice. The flight will be over before you know it. I’ve done it with Charlie several times – once in first class! The other people in the privileged section were shooting me death stares when we boarded, but by the time they left, they were singing my praises as a parent and commenting on how cute he was. It’s all because I had the Cars DVD, but whatever. The hotel will be so cool for him, as long as he’s sleeping with his momma, and the event may work out – it may not. But it will be over before you know it so it’s not that big of a deal.

You’ll have fun. He’s right at the age where traveling can be more of an adventure than a pain.

Jess
13 years ago

Do it! The more they travel when they’re young, the easier it is when they’re older because it’s totally old hat for him. And he will totally love it. And it’s free! Do it!

Swistle
13 years ago

I vote do it, but I’ve been just about climbing the walls so that might be influencing my decision.

Dude, also, get one of those Fisher-Price Kid Tough portable DVD players. They are awesome.

Cobwebs
13 years ago

Whoof. I’ve flown from VA to CA with a pre-schooler, and also from VA to the UK with a pre-schooler. It’s do-able, but it’s a challenge.

If you’re going to be there, like, overnight, I’d say it isn’t worth the trouble. If it’s a couple of days, it might be fun. The Air and Space Museum is very cool.

A couple of tips for flying: Request the bulkhead seats (which offer more legroom), and watch his fluid intake. For some reason mine wanted loads of juice both times we flew, and he wound up not processing it and becoming a vomit fountain shortly before landing. Oh–and pack clean clothes for you and him in your carryon luggage.

Swistle
13 years ago

Oh, but the charge on those things only lasts, like, 2 hours. And we’re talking about cross-country. Never mind.

Also, skimming all the “DO IT” comments makes me feel like saying, “OMG are you serious?? Don’t do it!”

Valerie
13 years ago

Do it! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity of FUN! Sure, he might lose his shit, but he’ll also have a great time. And it could turn out to be a really special time for the two of you.

Valria
13 years ago

BOOK IT!!

Whatever pain in the ass opportunities arise the awesomeness of the event memories will far outlast the “others”

Kelli
Kelli
13 years ago

If you don’t do it, some day Riley is going to read this post, turn to you from the computer (or whatever new gadget everyone is using instead…) and say “MOM! I cannot believe you didn’t take me on that free trip to DC when I was a kid! How uncool!”

So I say, GO! Carpe Diem!

Melanie
Melanie
13 years ago

Go for it!!!!!!!

Christine B
13 years ago

I totally say GO! And I say this as the parent of three kids, one of whom is prone to extreme shit-losing at age 3. The way I see it is this: it’s you and Riley…all you have to do is manage the two of you. If I had the chance to take a trip (for FREE) with my 3yo, I’d do it. I can totally handle her if she is all I am handling. Add in her 16mo old brother and 10yo sister and well…I might lose *my* shit.

The memories alone are worth the chance that there may be some negative behavior, in my opinion. And besides, like others have said, if it’s too much, you bail and go back to the hotel and order room service. :)

Kim S.
Kim S.
13 years ago

GO GO GO.

Crystal
13 years ago

Totally book it. I thought they same about our 4 year old when I booked our Disney Vacation.
My son is the type to lose it over something like wearing a striped shirt.
Turns out, he did great on the entire trip.

Does Riley have a Leapster? If not get him one, and few games, and a cool piece of luggage for his very own. You will be golden.

Kelsey
13 years ago

My reaction is to tell you to do it! While knowing full-well that I would not. . . but I’m a big chicken when it comes to traveling with the kids (although it’s a different beast for us because of food allergy issues).

Jill
Jill
13 years ago

Do it!!! We can’t even begin to think about coulda, woulda, shoulda. What an awesome thing, special for the two of you…and paid no less

Maureen
Maureen
13 years ago

I’m another vote for “do it”. I don’t see why it matters if he doesn’t remember the trip-isn’t the point the experience itself? Hopefully having fun in the moment? If we waited to do anything fun till our kids remember the event-they would lead boring lives until about 7.

Like many wise people above said-if it starts to go to hell-bail and go back to the hotel. There are portable DVD players with 12 hour batteries, you could load him up with fun movies and TV series he likes.

Good luck!

Marie Green
13 years ago

I just got home from DC yesterday- it’s beautiful there this time of year. I’d go in a heartbeat, but my BFF lives there.

I’m sure there will be other offers, so go with you gut!

Christina
13 years ago

I think you ought to do it. First, DC is awesome. 2nd, Riley will rise to the occasion. 3rd, years from now you will be glad you did it. 4th, it is special one on one time with Riley on a big trip so he will be in awe. 5th, can I go???

Erin M.
Erin M.
13 years ago

I think it’s kind of ridiculous to say “he won’t remember it anyway”– couldn’t you say that about, oh, everything he’s done since he was born? Gee, why bother taking him to story time at the library? It’s not like he’ll remember it when he’s 20.

Go. Have fun. Take pictures. Let him take pictures of his favorite things and share them with his class when he gets back. (I’m a preschool teacher, and we encourage all the kids who go on vacation to share stories and pictures about their trips when they get back, and it is always amazing to see what the kids remember, and the questions their friends ask, and how excited they are to talk about what they did.)

Also, what Riley will “remember” when he looks at the pictures is that his mom is awesome (and brave!) and took him on a once-in-a-lifetime mommy-son adventure when he was 3 and a half years old.

And if he’s a pill the entire time, you take pictures of THAT and you have a photographic guilt trip for when he refuses to take out the garbage in ten years.

Erin
13 years ago

You. MUST. Go.

I think the potential for shit-loss is low, compared to the awesome trip with your eldest son potential.

Have a great time, take pictures and tell us all about it so we can live vicariously through you.

steff
steff
13 years ago

Go for it!

Traci
Traci
13 years ago

DEFINITELY do it!! Mine tend to do better when they’re alone with me- it’s a special occasion and they really enjoy that one on one time. As for DC itself, there’s a lot to do there with a four year old. We moved from Austin to DC last year when our youngest was four, and we spent a lot of time out and about. If he needs a break and you’ve got a car, drive up into Rock Creek Park and let him throw rocks in the creek and run around on the trails.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

I think it would make him feel very special if he got to go on a trip with you and got to have all the attention focused on him for a little while. I vote yes.

Laura
Laura
13 years ago

“book it, book it, book it”
you don’t know me, but picture me chanting this and banging my fists on the computer desk.

Stacy
Stacy
13 years ago

Another vote for NO here. My now 4.5 year old has traveled to Ireland (3 times) and Florida (3) times (Florida with just me) and it’s really a lot of work when you are by yourself. Small children just don’t understand that when they decide they are bored there is still 3 more hours left of the flight! No amount of explaining will sink into their little brains. My son spent the entire flight KICKING the seat in front of him. I spent the flight leaning over him and desperately trying to hold his legs. Also keep in mind he has traveled a lot for his young age. He’s just now getting to the age where air travel isn’t the soul-sucking hell it used to be. Riley is just a little too young to remember it and personally I don’t think it’s worth it.