I’ve been lucky enough to attend BlogHer twice and am gearing up for a third trip. For some reason, Ken was the one who discovered that BlogHer even existed - and that BlogHer07 would be in Chicago. He encouraged me to go and, of course, I took Reid. (I took Reid everywhere, she nursed until she was 4.) At my first BlogHer, I wrote that I’d finally found a playgroup that I wanted to attend and this sense of belonging has kept me returning. Reid and I weren’t staying at the conference hotel, though, and so I headed back to see her, Aunt Karin and Shea as soon as the sessions ended each day. I attended only one evening party. Admittedly, the conference, expo hall and party schedule were all much smaller but I was at a point where being away from Reid for 8 or 9 hours was more than enough.
While I was in the conference, Aunt Karin, Shea and Reid saw the sites of Chicago. They had a wonderful time and I was a teensy bit jealous. I planned a vacation to Chicago in 2009, in fact, so that I could see some of the amazing sights that they had taken in. This might mean I’m like the kid who wants to eat the cake and have it, too.
Last year, I attended BlogHer10 and I sort of brought Reid. We arranged to go to New York City with Aunt Pam for five days before BlogHer started (I’d learned my lesson about not seeing the city the conference was in) and then Reid and Aunt Pam left while I stayed on. It’s a scary thing, kissing your child goodbye when you know that they’re going on an airplane without them. Statistically, flying is safer than driving but it’s a less familiar risk and I was worried. They got back to Grandma Joyce’s safely and weren’t troubled at all and I stayed on to attend the conference and many parties, kid-free.
For BlogHer11, I am blending these approaches. We’re going to arrive in San Diego on Monday and we’ll explore La Jolla, Legoland and other exciting venues (to be named later) together until Thursday. For the conference itself, I’m planning to attend the sessions, have supper with Reid and Cousin Sari (Reid likes people to have their “rank”) – unless they’re not done exploring whatever part of the city they head to that day – and then go back for parties. Anyone who is missing their kids will be welcome to join us for dinner.
I don’t think Reid will mind me leaving for the evening because she’ll have her super-cool cousin (who is at least 30, I’m a responsible mom) to hang out with. I think it will do me good to have a break from the unreality of the conference – it’s fun but it doesn’t seem entirely real – and also to get a bit of sensible food in me. I recall eating way too many canapés in lieu of supper last year.
While I’m in the conference sessions, Sari and Reid will see the sights of San Diego. We have a membership to the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which entitles us to free entry to more than 330 science museums in North America, including the Rueben H. Fleet Science Centre and the San Diego Natural History Museum and I imagine those will be on the list of places to visit. (If you don’t have a membership to your local science museum, I highly recommend one. It’s a great deal for so many reasons.) I’ve bought Go San Diego cards so that we can visit lots of places and not have the pressure of “it cost $$$ to enter, we’re staying” for the venues that aren’t as amazing as we thought. Sari and Reid will be able to choose from the list of 48 options. We’ll have Monday to got to the beach and then we’ll get our tired (and, hopefully, happy) selves onto the plane on Tuesday.
Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it.
Do you have strategies for when you take your family to a conference? A story to share from having done so in the past?