Momma, Momma…Momma. Look at her. So cute how she planned all these activities and read some books about traveling with toddlers. Busy bags, new books and special snacks fill each bag we brought. As if she could actually plan for life on the road with me and Lyla!! Here we are, on a BIG ship in Alaska, about to see the BIGGEST ice cubes ever, and she looks so tired. Maybe she should have slept more before the trip and planned less. She tried, she really did…
If she had just asked me, I could have given her tips. Toddlers are tricky; life under four feet is hard. Here are some ideas to make it easier.
- There are so many rules! No one tells you the rules AHEAD of time, you just have to learn them as you go (or AFTER you break them), and somehow remember. No one told us toilets aren’t snack bars and swimming pools, that food on the floor or stuck under tables shouldn’t be eaten, and that not ALL walls are meant for drawing. (When Momma takes pictures of cool drawings on walls of buildings and says the painting is super cool, it is even more confusing!) No one really explains that screaming like a monkey and running at Lightning McQueen speed down the ship halls isn’t very nice. Instead, we just hear a sharp, “NO! That’s NOT okay!”. No one told me that hiding Lyla in the ship elevator was a bad idea…until after I had tried. Well, okay then. And that tired saying, “It’s the rule.” Rules, rules, rules. Driving me crazy!!
- We aren’t as smart as you think and we can’t always use our words. Sometimes BIG feelings just happen. Sometimes I am scared because I don’t really know that a bathtub drain won’t suck me down or a big bird won’t take me away or sharks aren’t waiting for me to fall off the boat. Sometimes I am angry that I have to change my fun times when YOU big people decide. Having fun running up and down the stairs Nate? Oh- well, you have to stop now. Have the biggest smile EVER while playing in the water with Lyla? Oh- well, too bad- get out! How would you like it if you had to stop in the middle of your favorite thing? Yea…you would flip your lid too. Flip. And when your lid flips…you don’t have words, just feelings. If I could tell you that you hurt my feelings and I’m worried about if I’ll ever feel that happy again, I WOULD use my words to say that!! But I can’t. My brain is still figuring things out!! And if I can’t use my words all the time…well, Lyla definitely can’t.
- Gross things are fascinating. OOOO- A bald eagle (not really bald), just pooped on the sidewalk = amazing = must touch it. Lyla spit out her pickle and watermelon at the dinner table in front of a ship full of staring strangers = yum! I love watermelon and pickles, so I’ll pick it up, smoosh it, smell it and eat it…ALSO in front of a ship full of staring strangers.
- We are smarter than you think we are. Yep. That’s what I said. We are so much smart. I watched Momma make all this fun stuff, find new toys and books to bring for our weeks of adventures…but I’ll wait until I get them and decide I want the microphone that is off limits, or the cell phone charger, or the hot curling iron instead. Shiny things can’t trick us. We also know that the fastest, easiest way to get out of doing something is to have an identity crisis. Time to go back to the room for bed? I’m not Nate, I’m an owl and owls are awake at night. Time to walk slowly and wait in line? I’m not Nate, I’m a cheetah- the fastest animal on land. Time to be quiet? I’m not Nate, I’m a loud, growling bear. Time to walk up the stairs? I’m not Nate, I’m a puppy dog and have to crawl up the stairs. We know. We. Know.
- This one is tough…ready? We toddlers are changing and growing super fast. We are learning SO much right now. New words, new ideas, new things to see, new mad skills and tricks. There is no time to sleep. We have too much work to do…too much to practice! Looking at Momma now, I can see this one will take awhile for her to get.
Remember- life under four feet is hard work. Maybe you big people have forgotten. But with these starter tips (I’ll have more later) life can be easier- especially on a big adventure like this!! Oooo- look at that!!