Traveling to Mexico with Two Toddlers

Yesterday, Sofia and I sat out on our front porch and talked for a while.  We were basking in the success of completing a week-long international vacation with two toddlers.  The two boys had just fallen asleep inside and we felt victorious. I talked about how my parents were in their forties or fifties before they traveled abroad.  I hadn’t traveled abroad until a few days after I graduated high school.  And here we were, getting our toddlers used to the idea of traveling the world so young.  It makes me hopeful that they won’t remember a time where they didn’t travel.

That being said, what an exhausting trip.  After getting back from our good friends’ wedding Monday, we had a day and half to rest up and pack for our trip.  We left on Wednesday the 24th.  It was the first time I had been on a plane since May of 2019.  One thing I forgot about flying is the sheer amount of time it takes.  We were only in the air for five and a half hours to Mexico City.  But we drove to the parking lot, took a shuttle, waited to check our bag, went through security, found our gate, waited to board, go on the plane, installed the car seats, taxied forever, and then took off.  I was amazed at how well they did with waiting in line and dealing with the crowds.  Sure, we were helped a lot by a spare phone, a tablet, a Switch, and our own phones.  But I’ll do what I need to in order to get them through it.

The flight was eye opening with the kids.  Henry has zero fear of flying.  Noah was terrified of the turbulence.  Regardless, we had almost no crying on the flight there or home.  We were smart enough to do direct flights.  I didn’t want to deal with getting stuck in some Texas airport with the kids.  The kids were even able to get a bit of sleep.

We arrived late.  I had made the decision to rent a car and try my hand atg driving in Mexico.  It was my first time driving outside of the US and Canada.  We drove to Sofia’s Uncles’ House that night—which basically is on the other side of Mexico City from the airport.  I learned a lot about the rules of the road that night.  Potholes everywhere.  Dangerous merging is the norm.  No signs to warn you when a lane is about to disappear.  It was quite an experience.

We spent a quick night at his house before heading out in the morning.  We drove about two and half hours North to Querertero.  Sofia’s parents moved there back in January.  We hadn’t seen them since before Covid.  The drive was nice.  As someone who grew up in Colorado, road trips are how I get a good feel for where I am.  Seeing the massive bustle of Mexico City followed by the countryside, followed by the smaller bustle of Queretaro set a good stage for where we would be spending our time.  

We were in Queretaro from Thursday through Tuesday. That first night, Sofia’s parents wanted to show us a cute part of town.  We hung out in this courtyard next to a church.  We got some street corn (IT’S CORN).  Sofia got an amazing leather purse.  We convinced her parent’s to have dinner with us an one of the strangest restaurants I’ve ever been to.  It was open air but between two buildings.  There were five or six “food trucks” set up there.  But it was a restaurant.  You sat down, the waitress would take your order and bring it to the food truck that made it.  It looked like later on in the night or weekend it was more of a club environment.  It was a great place to start off our Gastro Tourism.

Until the end.  The boys started to get antsy and were running back and forth.  We paid the bill and started packing up.  I took my eyes off Noah for a second while he was playing near the entrance to the restaurant.  When I heard crying, I looked back and saw him sitting down in the same place.  I walked up to him and even told him. “That’s why we don’t run around in restaurants.”  I pick him up like I always do.  Once he was on me, I placed my hand on the back of his head to try to sooth him.  The back of his head felt soaked.  I pulled my hand back and looked at it.  My hand was covered in blood.

I immediately try to grab Sofia’s attention without causing a scene.  When she finally looks at me, she gives me a look that I know means, “Everything okay?”  I just shake my head.  When she gets to me, she sees the blood on my neck and thinks that something happened to me.  I tell her it is not mine.  I tell her and her father we need to call an ambulance.  She grabs Noah and we rush him over to a sink.  Holding a terrified and screaming two year old horizontally as you wash his hair is a complex task.  Eventually we washed enough out to find two small but somewhat deep cuts on his scalp.

By then, we had the attention of the entire restaurant.  Since they have a stage and seem to turn into a bit of a club, they had a full first aid kit.  Some waiter broke it out and directed us to the stage.  Sofia held Noah as the waiter cleaned the wounds and applied antiseptic.  The bleeding stopped.  The whole thing probably lasted twenty minutes, but it was absolutely terrifying.  I was grateful that we didn’t end up in the hospital.  By the time we were heading home, his shirt was covered in blood.  

The rest of our time in Queretaro was far less eventful.  We got to wander around town and see a few different placed and eat a lot of good food with Sofia’s parent’s.  On Saturday Night, they even watched the kids and gave us a much needed date night.  We went to one of the best restaurants in town—”Casa Verde.”  We got a bottle of Mexican Wine, three appetizers, two entrees, and a desert.  I was way too full.  But the food was fantastic.  Sofia even told me I had to try one of the things before he would tell me what it was.  It was crickets.  They were wonderful.

We spent a full day in Tequisquiapan— a cute tourist town about an hour away.  The boys got to ride a train.  We got to try some amazing ice cream.  And the boys became absolutely fascinated with some pinwheels that we bought them.

The night before we left, we played a card game with Sofia’s parents.  It is the same card game we play every time the family gets together.  I still don’t know the name of it, but I have gotten better at it.  After that, we went to bed and did everything in reverse.  We drove back to Sofia’s Uncle’s house at the tail end of dinner party.  The next day we headed out way too early and hung out in the Mexico City Airport Lounge (I’ve never been in an airport lounge before—it was quite nice).

From the time our plane landed to the time we were in our car was a little over two hours.  That was when everything broke down.  We had a pretty good flight.  But the boys were exhausted and Sofia and I were brain dead.  By the time I we got home and put them to bed, hangin out on the front porch and celebrating was all the energy we could muster.

It was a great trip.