When looking back on this summer, the only way we can explain it is by a Charles Dickens quote from A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
That pretty much sums up our summer vacation. We had an amazing time away, but let’s just say it wasn’t all enjoyable. Ok, let’s get one thing straight, there is no vacationing when it comes to a toddler. We now refer to it as travelling. And travelling with a toddler, shall we say, is super exhausting. We’re sure parents out there that have children under the age of four (or even into the teenage years!) can relate to this.
We will admit, we had it pretty easy, and still kind of do. (Ok don’t hate us!) Milo was probably one of the easiest babies you would ever meet. He ate, he didn’t fuss, he slept through the night, pretty much fell asleep instantly when putting him down. He still sleeps amazingly well but he is getting pickier at eating, and well, he’s now a toddler. We all know what that means; screaming, tantrums, being more defiant and becoming more independent. One of our friends would call her two year old a jerk. We found this funny and odd at the same time, but now we totally understand why! Toddlers can be jerks! And we mean that in the most loving, endearing way possible.
This toddler stage is something we totally were not prepared for. In the good ol’ days (like a year ago) things were pretty easy, we took Milo to drag bingo last year and he slept right through it!! Now try reasoning with a two year old why they should not run on the road when cars are driving by, or why they should not drink water out of a rusty bird bath. It makes perfect sense to them to eat dirt and put every single rock from the ground in their mouth. Why bother listening to us, we’re just his parents.
So back to summer “vacation”. We went to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with our dear friends, Wrik and Kevin. (Who also are Milo’s guncles) We were unsure how this trip would play out since we have a two year old, and well, they don’t have any kids. We told them they were brave for coming with us because Milo pretty much will dictate what we can do! We are no longer on our schedule and life is all about Milo and we follow Milo time.
Milo was on his best behaviour (kind of) and didn’t bother Wrik and Kev a lot (sort of). And by being on his best behaviour and not bother them we mean he woke up at 5:30 am every morning, sometimes screaming at the top of his lungs. Unfortunately this was the trip that Milo learned how to climb out of his crib, we had to keep our eyes and ears open at all times for the pitter patter of little feet. We felt bad for Wrik and Kev. They were on vacation, and Milo was being disruptive. But they totally got it. He’s two. He does what he wants. He wants what he wants. And he will scream when he wants. Wrik and Kev were amazing with Milo, playing with him so we could rest a bit and enjoy some quiet time.
As much as Milo had freak outs, refused to eat dinner, cried, decided to lay down where ever he wanted, he was a really good boy. He sat with us to watch tv, would snuggle with us, give hugs and kisses. We also loved going for long walks on the beach looking at crabs and little fish when the tide went out. We loved playing “choo choo train” in the sand. That we could do for hours on end running back and forth on the beach! Milo really loved looking at shells and of course collecting rocks. (We have about 30 we had to bring back with us!) Lucky for us Milo LOVES the beach and can spend hours on end digging holes, filling them with water, then filling it up again to start all over. He also could not get enough of getting buried in the sand!
He truly has a loving, sweet soul. Although we may not understand half the time why he does the things he does, we have to remember, he is only two. He is a toddler, he is learning, growing, becoming independent and he is experimenting. We discipline when necessary and try to teach him right from wrong. No one said this whole parenting thing was easy. But we try our best, try to stay calm, and make the most out of every situation. We also have to remember that as parents, we grow along with our children. We are often the ones who teach them right from wrong, but a lot of the times it’s our kids who teach us more about ourselves than we already know. We learned how important it is to stay calm in the situation, which trust us is hard when he is screaming at the top of his lungs because he wants something at that moment that he cannot have. They don’t know how to communicate any other way than screaming, and we have to remember that this phase will pass. We feel we have grown as parents too. We have become more patient and understanding, We try to reason with Milo and deescalate a situation to the best of our ability before it becomes something bigger.
So after all the trials and tribulations, would we vacation, sorry we mean travel, with Milo again? In a heartbeat. We have already booked our vacation for next summer, Christmas and March Break. We will take all the lessons we learned from travelling with Milo this summer and do it all over again.