Never. Ever. Never. That’s a phrase Finley uses often in our household. I hate it when he says it, his lips pursed, his hairless brow furrowed. He doesn’t even have to throw in a foot stomp because it’s written all over his adorable face. But how can he be so certain about anything, and especially at such a young age? Never. Ever. Never. It’s so…final.
Of course, I’ve had my Never. Ever. Never. moments. And just like Finley, there are times I didn’t mean it. Or maybe I meant it, but then I realized I wanted a take-back.
An example that comes to mind is the time I said I would Never. Ever. Never. take another cruise. Especially with Finley. And certainly not on Royal Caribbean, which screwed me royally–hey, the name fits!
But now I prepare to say bon voyage again, because on Saturday Finley, my mom and I set sail on a 5-night cruise on Royal Caribbean. Let that be a lesson to Finley to Never. Ever. Never. say Never. Ever. Never.
When I said I’d Never. Ever. Never. take another cruise with Finley on Royal Caribbean, I had good reason. Royal Caribbean failed to deliver the baby food I pre-ordered on its website. (You can order items like baby food and diapers, and supposedly they will place the items in your cabin before you board.) As I learned that evening–after multiple phone calls to guest services and then an in-person, in-tears visit to the guest services desk–the baby food was not on board the ship. The baby food was not on board the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world at that time. Let’s just say the guest services representative ushered me to a back office to discuss this delicate issue; you know he didn’t want to have that conversation in front of all the happy passengers. He promised the ship’s chef would create any pureed concoction I could dream up. And he promised the staff would make special deliveries to our cabin and the restaurants. These promises did little to diminish my anger and concern; I knew Finley would refuse to eat anything that wasn’t pre-packaged and bearing images of a happy baby or cartoon animal. What choice did I have, though? For the next two days at sea, Finley turned his little nose up at every meal. Lucky for us, the ship was carrying five tons of fun-sized boxes of Cheerios. That’s what Finley lived on until we reached our first port in St. Thomas where my parents went on an amazing excursion…to Kmart. There they bought all the Gerber baby food. We all breathed a sigh a relief…well, not all of us. Finley breathed a mucous-filled cough, which is something I’d never heard him do.
In the eleven months since his birth, Finley had never been sick, which wasn’t surprising given the fact that he had never attended day care or mother’s day out. And so his little immune system was no match for the Royal Babies nursery program. For the next three days–the final days of our family cruise to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday–we cared for Finley as he became sicker and sicker. Each day, sometimes several times a day, we went to the onboard medical center. Each day we saw a different doctor. Each doctor assessed him differently.
Doctor #1 prescribed breathing treatments. That was a joy to undergo.
Doctor #2 prescribed antibiotics. He said Finley’s ears were swollen and that he shouldn’t fly the day we were scheduled to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale.
Doctor #3, whom we saw the morning we docked in Ft. Lauderdale, said Doctor #2 had prescribed too high of a dosage of antibiotics and that she saw no reason Finley couldn’t fly home that day as originally planned.
Confused and terrified, I took Finley straight to the closest pediatric ER after we disembarked. After waiting several hours, the ER doctor examined Finley and then looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “He just has a cold, Mama. Give him some Benadryl and get on the plane.” Which is exactly what we did.
The last two years have given me the opportunity to overcome the trauma of that trip. In addition, I have a few aces up my sleeve.
- I am a more experienced mother. That means I’ve learned what does and doesn’t warrant a full-on freak out. It also means I’ve learned to be prepared. This time around, I’ll have a medical goody bag in my suitcase.
- Finley can eat anything. That’s not the same as saying he will eat anything. He’s even pickier than his momma. But I’m sure the ship will offer some Finley food staples: chicken nuggets and pepperoni pizza.
- Finley’s immune system is stronger, thanks to a mother’s day out program at a local church. Of course, he could still get sick on board, in which case refer to #1.
I just hope these aces and Royal Caribbean don’t let me down. I Never. Ever. Never. want to doubt that a fun family vacation is possible.