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Help from My In-Laws

Dori Pelz-Sherman
San Rafael CA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 5, September-October 2001, p. 170

I really wanted to attend this year's La Leche League International Conference in Chicago. But it seemed incongruous that I leave my children behind in California and travel to Chicago in order to participate in an event that celebrated families, mothering, attachment parenting, and breastfeeding. I may do that to attend future conferences, but with three-year-old twins and a two year old, my children would have been lost without me.

Still, they were too old to play on the floor during lectures, and too young to participate in the children's activities. What was I going to do with my children while I attended sessions? I had almost given up on the idea of attending the Conference when my in-laws, Tom and Ronna Sherman, came to the rescue! They flew to Chicago from Minneapolis, stayed at the Hilton just down the hall from us, and together with my husband, showed our children the town!

This is how it worked. In the morning, I kept the youngest one (who is an avid morning nurser) with me, while the twins, my husband, Michael, "Peepa," and Grandma played in the Conference Playroom (which was fabulous this year). They had lunch at the hotel, then ventured out to spend the afternoon at Chicago's museums with all three children. My children were so busy they never even made it to the hotel pool!

While this plan seemed far-fetched in the beginning, once we got through the traveling part, making it work was easy. While it is always a bit of a vacation when the grandparents are around our house or when we visit them, this situation was different. We have never, as a family, stayed in a hotel. For once there was no laundry to be done, no after-meal cleanup, no everyday stuff to get in the way of just having fun and being together. My youngest, Zoe, turned two during the Conference and it was great to celebrate such a special day with her under these circumstances. The fact that I didn't miss a conference session is a testimony to how interesting the Conference was, since going off to explore Chicago with my family was tempting!

I highly recommend this "all hands on deck" approach to other parents in the same boat. If you are considering the 2003 LLLI Conference, consider the abundance of family-oriented activities the San Francisco Bay area has to offer. Why not make it a family slumber party you'll never forget?

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