Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Travels with My Tot

I have sufficiently recovered from my holiday with Scarlett, that I can now talk about it.

My wonderful two weeks away. Lounging in the sun at the pool, swimming in fresh lake water, leisurely walks, afternoon cocktails, catching up with family and friends over long dinners and coffees, a road trip singing along to the music...

And chasing after a toddler as she runs towards the road, or tries to strangle the dog, or insists that she's staying in the play room of the clubhouse, or runs circles around the table during dinner, or needs to climb up the jungle gym for the umpteenth time and must be carried back to the bottom, or jumps into the play pool fully clothed and with shoes on, or wants to watch the "TV" (aka iPad) and Ice Age for the 10th time, or I try to talk to the other important people in my life with one ear and one eye on the tot. And mentally preparing myself for the journey home, a 5-10 hour drive depending on personalities, alone, with Scarlett. Just a small window into the world of single-parenthood.

I think we did pretty well. Our first week of holidays was lovely. Our family of three works well together on a lazy holiday. But then Scott left us and I am happy to report that Scarlett and I survived the second week together. With lots of "da da da da's", gelato and ice cream, the iPad, and silly toys and regular old routines.

Holidays with a tot is just like regular life, except without the work for pay part. We went for lots of trips to the playground or in the sand, or play room, swam when we could, took walks to the lake or around the park, played in the trailer, ate, painted and crafted, and gloriously, still had nice long afternoon naps-most days. It was probably no or more less restful than normal life.

But then the packing and travelling part is not to be done alone with a toddler. I did manage it, but should have recruited help as we were both traumatized by the process-the packing portion at least. Perhaps if we went on a regular holiday without the coolers and food and trikes and toys to pack. And perhaps if the packing didn't require jenga and rope knotting skills as I wrestled everything into our truck. And perhaps if that wasn't the one day that Scarlett decided to skip her real nap.

My daughter was wonderful for our drive back to Calgary. She spent 3 hours with 3 toys in her hand, talked to them, talked to me and then slept a little. (Note: These were new "found" toys, which may have provided enough novelty). I passed food and drink to the backseat occasionally. We stopped once. That alone is amazing, since it is normally a minimum 3 stop drive for all of us. Then we started the iPad, sailed on to Canmore, and just when I had planned to stop again, a second nap happened. It was a good day for me. A 6 1/2 hour drive in holiday traffic is pretty good.

The secret must be: new toys, food, and entertainment. And to keep the schedule low-key for the day after. I did not, and had a little girl who refused to put a diaper on and wouldn't leave the house!

I like to think our holiday was good for Scarlett-running around barefoot, or naked, seeing grandparents, spending time outside, growing, and overall getting a break from the everyday-like car seats and schedules. I think of it as our first extended mother-daughter time alone and hope to look back fondly on our time spent together. (Memories are usually fonder than the actual event, are they not?)

I'm on the fence if I'll repeat the holiday. Life is easier with a Dad, or another adult. Or other kids to distract yours. But there is a certain lure about getting your baby all to yourself for a few days.

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