Traveling with tots

The great thing about going away, being in a space that isn’t your usual home is that it breaks up the routine and shows you new possibilities. The hard thing about going away, being in a space that isn’t your usual home is that it breaks up the routine, adds to everyone’s stress level, and makes it challenging to stick to things that are healthy and necessary, like sleep.

Here we are at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The kids love being here, love seeing their grandparents. I love seeing them all together. All the moments of seeing my mom reading to my daughters, seeing my dad talking with them, and seeing my parents and my partner enjoying each other are times to cherish. It’s particularly fun to hear my mom reading the books I loved when I was small to my kids. Books really contain magic within their covers. My kids are drawn to them, and sometimes a book can calm them down when almost nothing else can. And even though I haven’t seen some of these books in 35 or 40 years, the memories of them come flooding back when I hear the words or see the pictures. One series I adored as a little kid is the “Barbapapa” set of books, about a family of shape-shifting blobby creatures and their interactions with the “normal” world.

We’ve also seen friends, including someone I’ve known for over 20 years who waited even a little bit longer than I did to have a kid (his baby is only three months old). Seeing his happiness with his family warms my heart. And that’s one of the best things about love: it makes it possible for us to feel other people’s joy.

Today we went to see the Gateway Arch. We always went to visit the Arch when we had visitors in from out of town. I loved seeing it again, going up to the top on a clear day. We put the kids up on the slanted ledges by the windows. They clung on and pointed and “oooohed”.

Tomorrow we’ll have mostly a chill day. This afternoon Hazel had the biggest melt-down she’s ever had, and I think we need some down-time as a family. I also think she needs to have a nap almost every day while we’re here. My friend who came to visit at the same time we did said goodbye at the Arch. Hazel has always had a hard time saying goodbye, and I think that on top of all the transitions of the day put her over the top.

We did manage to do some cooking this afternoon, so there’s going to be food we’re used to starting tomorrow. That plus a more regular nap plus a relaxed day should help.

Ted and my mom and I watched an episode of “Downton Abbey” last night. I’d eaten a bunch of food that terribly disagreed with me in the afternoon, so was not up for staying up for the lunar eclipse, or Ted and I would have watched a second episode and stayed up past midnight. But we decided bed was more important that natural beauty (priorities, I know) and hit the sack. Tonight we’ll watch another episode, and I’m hoping that by tomorrow my tummy will be back to normal.

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