Travelling with a toddler

9 Sep

Well, travelling with mine anyway. I saw lots of angelic children floating around the place on our trip. Doing what they were told and not getting into every kind of (un)imaginable mischief. My fella? Well, he wasn’t a nightmare. More of a “surely there’s someone putting him up to this for a hilarious “Gotcha” type TV show.” Nope. He’s just a highly inquisitive and imaginative boy. Which is good. But not great when he has gotten himself stuck in one of the exhibits at the Natural History Museum, playing “tunnels” or something. Especially as you can’t get the whole  “Oh My God, what will people think of me/my child/the way I parent?” out of your head, no matter how hard you try or how irrational you know it is to care about what strangers think. So what have I learned?

  • He’s going to catch something. Crawling around the airport or the plane or somewhere. Pack some medications because the GPS won’t work and you won’t be able to find a pharmacy for three days (your husband will find one on the first day, but only bring back milk and snacks. It’ll be too far to go there again).
  • Update the GPS for the area you are travelling to. Otherwise murder will be committed in the car, leaving your toddler orphaned. And probably scarred for life.
  • No matter how many clothes you pack for him it won’t be enough. Not only that, he will be mismatched (a cardinal sin according to the Hubby) and wearing weird socks. He may well end up looking like a ragamuffin for the whole trip. A snotty one. And constantly dirty. (But happy!)
  • Bring all of the snacks you can find. Carry them everywhere, thinking “these will do for when he’s hungry and we can’t find anywhere to stop.” He’ll eat none of them. He’ll want nothing to do with them. You’ll feel like a fool and bring home a sack of rather squashed snacks.
  • He’ll want to walk everywhere. And look at everything. You will only have patience for this for about an hour. In the morning. When everyone is feeling chirpy. Patience wears out, but try to strike a balance. And before you bring him anywhere else, will you try and instill in him the importance of not running off or heading straight for the road.
  • He doesn’t want to go in the buggy because he knows he’s tired and is afraid that he will fall asleep and miss something. Yes, that means a mad tantrum and flailing and “Oh My God! What will people think?” but try to stay calm (not that scary calm where you talk through your teeth, but proper calm, perhaps of the Zen variety). You know what the problem is and you can fix it, but not if you throw a tantrum too….
  • Stickers. Crayons. And books. These are all you really need. Those (rather heavy) cast iron Thomas trains that you carted with you? A waste of time. All you really needed was the hotel pen and a boy with the freedom to write all over himself. Ok, so it took a bit of scrubbing to get off, but it lent itself rather well to the whole “ragamuffin” theme you had going on. That, and the look on the Hubby’s face after the second or third (?) time was hilarious!

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