One thing is for certain after you have a child holidays are never the same. Gone are the days of taking a book to read by the pool, late nights and lazy mornings. A toddler brings many challenges and taking them away on holiday is a whole new territory and a definite eye opener.
We recently headed off on a little family break to the South of France taking Little D with us. A trip of many firsts, her first time on a plane, her first time braving up and paddling in the sea and her first time of spending a whole week co sleeping with us.
Let’s start with the plane, Devon was out of her mind with excitement, at the airport she could not contain herself and the high pitched squeals that she projected as she ran round in circles were nearly audible only to dogs. The plane was a whole new juggling act, I found the age of 19months to be a bit of a limbo age for flying. Not old enough to have her own seat, she couldn’t understand why she was forced to sit on my lap, hated being buckled to me, and isn’t young enough to sit still for more than 30 seconds. Take off and landing were full of tears and her best contortionist impression as she tried to break away from me. The rest of the flight consisted of wandering up and down the aisle as she attempted to make friends with the entire plane.
We were holidaying with friends and they also had 2 young kids, 3 under 5s running round from sun rise to sunset, feeding off each other’s energy, not knowing when to stop is both adorable to watch and exhausting when you have to prise Devon off her little friend for the 20th time in an hour as she doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to hug her all the time.
The downside to holidaying with friends and all the constant excitement is trying to attempt a bed time routine. With a constant fear she was missing out, our usually easy to settle child turned into a monster who developed a fear of the travel cot and would only settle if star fishing in the middle of our bed. Thank God for huge, low level continental double beds where we only had a few rolling out of bed mishaps!
The best thing about holidaying with a toddler is the constant joy in their eyes, most of what they see and experience is new to them. The simplest sites, smells and sounds bring pure excitement. I imagine holidaying is possibly cheaper as they don’t need constant entertaining as the new world seems entertaining enough. And with that brings proud parent, heart soaring emotions and face in palm moments. From Devon falling out of a stationary land train when we turned our backs for a second and her first scuffed knees to the sheer pride as she got over her fear of the sea and went from being cautious and timid to dress off up to her knees confident, excited squealing was concluded with a temper tantrum when it was time to drag her away after she slowly started to turn blue from the cold and her refusal to leave as she loved it so much.
The downside to holidaying with a toddler, their inability to sit still. Now Devon is fully walking she wants to be on her feet constantly. You need to have an extra 20 pairs of eyes to keep a check on her, she just wants to run and explore. Being away from familiar surroundings I constantly felt on edge making sure she was close by. Trying to banish the thought of the child snatching videos I had unhelpfully been shown on Facebook. Thankfully she had a little backpack with reigns that she could taste a little snippet of independence with.
On our journey home we reflected on our whirl wind week, how we were so incredibly proud of how she had taken the upheaval in her stride but grateful it wasn’t longer than a two hour flight. We finished off with a new found respect for any parent who is brave enough to take a toddler on long haul. Hubby and I might not have come home feeling refreshed and relaxed but we certainly made some memories and that is the greatest gift!