It was gorgeous, fun to be with our friends, and nice to get away from our daily routine.
BabyC had a great time with her friend O, who turned two on the day we arrived. O is very chatty, already speaking in short sentences. He is fast and spent lots of time running laps on the screened-in porch where we ate our meals. BabyC adored him. She wore his shoes and followed him around the house. She watched him swim in the creek and wanted to do the same. She handed him toys, though he occasionally snatched them from her hands or pushed her with frustration. It was fun to watch them, even when they were sorting through their different ideas about how to be together.
It was also a hard week. BabyC woke with the sun for most of the week – approximately 4:30-5 AM – and could not be convinced to snuggle up and go back to sleep. She struggled to nap, what with the heat, the sun, and the excitement. For the last three days, BabyC has fallen apart into uncontrollable sobbing and flailing at nap time. Yesterday, we were back in her familiar room, and I held her while she cried and cried and cried, refusing to nurse or read a book or any of the other things we usually do to prepare for a nap. The last two days of our trip, she threw herself around wildly on the floor, not wanting to be held or consoled, until she finally collapsed in exhaustion. Stay close, but not too close, she seemed to be telling us. I know she is just exhausted and overstimulated, and I’m hoping that she can catch up over the next few days and we can return to our happy routines. In fact, last night’s bedtime was tear-free and full of kisses, so I’m hopeful this will happen sooner rather than later.
We’ve learned from previous trips to avoid planning too much and to adjust our expectations according to what is practical with a young child. And this was a very mellow trip, with just a few day excursions but otherwise lots of lounging around while the kids played, and yet it seems to have thrown us both out of whack. It makes me realize just how much it means to my toddler (and come to think of it – me, too) to have predictable routines and some down-time, where she is allowed to play quietly without lots of extra input from the world around her.
I am exhausted, and my vision of a week of reading and writing didn’t really happen. Midway through the week, I realized that what I needed was a vacation from the daily patience of caring for a child. And yet, on this trip, motherhood was harder than usual, what with the sleep deprivation and the meltdowns and the trying to be the patient safe place for my daughter in the midst of the upheaval of traveling. All of this left me wondering what I need to do as a stay-at-home mom to improve the chances that a vacation feels like a vacation, and not just more work. For that matter, what can any parent do? Any ideas, dear readers?