Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daring for Denver

The prospect was equal parts dreamy and diabolical. I couldn’t ignore the appeal of a four-star hotel, scores of child-friendly attractions, a little more time with Erik, and no extra costs. But the challenge was sobering: six consecutive nights in a standard hotel room with our children. If you ever saw an episode of the daily Nap Wars in our home, your palms would be sweaty at the prospect of no keep to fall back to and much-reduced sound insulation from neighbors.

For years, Luke has reigned as my arch-enemy in these battles, but just lately he’s become a tiny bit more cooperative. Just in time for Eleanor’s emergence as a menacing foe on the napping battlefield.

Eventually, the Hyatt, hubby, and mile-high city won out and we’re all planning to join Erik on his upcoming Denver business trip. I’m hoping for the best on the sleeping front, while plotting defensive strategies. Does ‘toddler in the closet, baby in the bathtub’ sound promising?

I’ve also given thought to our tactical equipment. Luke’s outgrown the pack ‘n play and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to fit it in the car for Eleanor, so I started researching other sleeping options. We have a few upcoming trips to hotels and campgrounds, so I was willing to make a little investment for child sleeping equipment that packs up small and will last for a while. For those of you who may face similar objectives, I report my new sleeping arsenal at the end of this post.

Here’s hoping that our two new child travel beds spend many hours holding sweetly sleeping children. After all, our last trip to Denver was decidedly dreamy. Erik and I were on our honeymoon!

Our new zzzzz-makers:

I considered the Graco Travel Lite crib, but decided that Eleanor would outgrow it too quickly. I also thought about the PeaPod Travel Bed, which is a less expensive option and well-reviewed. But some reviews mention that you have to zip up the side after putting a baby down to prevent her from rolling out, and the zipper is a little noisy. So the PeaPod was a no-go for our light-sleeping, quick-rolling princess. The Baby Bjorn travel crib looked great but was too pricey and a little bulky.

So that left the P&T Traveller. Reviewers noted that it’s hard to set up and take down, but I’m counting on Erik’s tent skills to take care of that. I’m also hoping that his expert setup skills can protect us from the durability issues that a few reviewers experienced. I love the way it folds up to the size of a large purse and only weighs 7 pounds (less than my purse). And it’s longer and narrower than a pack ‘n play, so it can fit a child up to age 3. The size plus the sturdy construction would allow us to use it for Luke on nights that we can get a hotel crib for Eleanor. When I was able to find it for $100 on an ebay auction, the deal was sealed!

For Luke I wanted a toddler air mattress. These are smaller and tougher than a regular twin air mattress, and they have bumpers on the sides to prevent a child from rolling out. I might have preferred this one but it was on the more expensive side. So, for $59, I ordered the Aerobed version and think it should work for Luke through most of elementary school. The reviews for it were so glowing that I might want to swap Luke for it if our queen-size camping air mattress keeps on leaking air. I’m sure Erik would love to have Luke’s feet massage his back overnight!AeroBed Kids Bed. Authorized AeroBed Reseller.

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