Sunday, July 10, 2011
Traveling with a toddler. Have you ever done it?
I'm a first timer and I'm here to tell you that it's not the easiest thing to do. In fact, I'll tell you right here and now that I think it's difficult.
It's especially difficult for people like me because my son and I thrive on routine. On the same faces and places. A vacation, while it sounds nice in theory, is the antithesis of the life we lead at home. At home there is a schedule, structure and Toph has got it down so well that he can predict what is coming next.
When things become unpredictable for a toddler, certain family-imposed rules fall by the wayside. In fact, we've become downright rule breakers. Here are some of the rules we have broken during our vacation:
1. Walking around with food. We have no high chair here and our laps just aren't as appealing as some of the other things going on in our host's home. Therefore, Toph gets to walk around with his food from time to time, simply because I'd rather him eat than not eat and sit on our lap.
2. Unabashed pacifier usage. We were really trying to cut down on the pacifier, but all these new stimuli can be too much for him, therefore, since the pacifier makes him feel better, the pacifier he gets.
3. Complete disregard of the bed-time routine. At home, we have a system. Dinner, music and dance party, bath time, book time, nurse time, sleep time. It's a science and the kid has it down. On vacation, we haven't been able to do all those things ever and very seldom has Toph gotten to bed on time.
4. Co-sleeping. When we finally have gotten Toph to sleep, he'll normally sleep until 2:30 and then he'll start to cry. I learned within the first couple of nights that he'll go back to bed quickly if he gets to nurse while laying next to me. I also learned that if I put him back in his crib he will wake up again for round 2, then round 3 and then I start to wonder if I have a newborn. However, if he stays in bed with me, he will go to sleep and stay there until 7am. You win, Toph.
5. Reverting to on-demand nursing at night. Yeah, we haven't done this in months and months. However, if it means a little extra sleep for the both of us, sure Toph, nurse away.
I am not sure how difficult it will be to try and get back in our routine at home. Initially, I was very guilty about breaking all of these rules until I realized...I'm the one who imposed them in the first place. We're on vacation! Things will be different on vacation...it's time to chill out and realize a couple of things:
Is Toph happy?
Is Toph safe?
Is Toph fed?
Is Toph having a good time?
Yes to all the above. So yeah, we're breaking some rules. But we're not breaking any laws and Toph is having a blast meeting new people and seeing new things.
Note to self: chill out and enjoy yourself.