I’m recovering from a bad GI bug since our return from Vermont, but I really just want to write about how much fun it was, once again, to travel with my daughter. We had a rough week the week of Thanksgiving, what with the pressures of the holiday and my working three days in a row before our trip. In fact, the flights to Vermont weren’t that great either, much due to the fact that I left her backpack with all of her entertainment at home! I had packed a bunch of fun goodies for her, and I really missed having them. I bought her a coloring packet with stickers and crayons at the airport, and we still had the DVD player. It was rough, anyhow.
Once we got there, though, I got to feel as proud as I think I could ever feel of my kid. She just has so much enthusiasm and joy in doing new things, visiting new people, and staying in new places.
It was great for me to see M next to my friend’s son, as he is exactly a year younger. So often I get trapped in the gruel of the day-to-day, and the “difficulties” this particular child can give me. Seeing her next to a 21-month-old reminded me of how much things are changing for the better with age and maturity. My friend’s son, “Mo”, hits and pushes and bites whenever he’s unhappy, especially as M is another kid intruding on his territory and toys. M was so good at not hurting him back! She was taking quite a beating, and my friend was aghast at her son’s aggressiveness. Boy is it nice to be able to say, “oh M used to do that too… he’ll grow out of it!”
I was also able to see how well-mannered and directable she actually is compared to a 21-month-old. I definitely wouldn’t have used those words to describe her before the trip, so I guess I just needed to be reminded of how things used to be! She is all, “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, and “sorry” nowadays, as well as “can I help you?” and “I made this for you!”. It sure makes living with someone much more pleasant when they’re polite! She shared really well with little Mo, and the adults, too. I also saw how her attention span has increased… from scribbling for a second and moving on, to actually coloring with purpose for many minutes at a time. (She took the crayons apart from their twist dispensers and broke them though… oh well.)
We went to a really great lake aquarium and science center where M impressed the museum staff with her love of microscopes. They said they’d never seen a two-year-old so focused on the slides! There were plenty of fish, frogs, turtles, and snakes as well as a touch tank with crabs and starfish, and lots of interactive displays for all ages. We visited a farm on another day to see some animals, and they also had an organic bakery that sold delicious sticky buns. M and Mo were especially excited to get their own tour of a parked school bus!
For me, the best part was catching up with one of my BFFs, eating all of her delicious Nepali food, speaking the Nepali language, and seeing how little Mo is growing up. He will be a big brother this spring, and I definitely want to go back and visit after that! M also enjoyed the Nepali food… she gobbles up my friend’s daal bhaat at every meal like it’s going to be her last. If only she’d eat MY food like that!
For the trip home, M was great. She pressed herself up against the airplane window, exclaiming “wow! it’s amazing!” the whole time. I bought her a book that came with Disney princess figurines (she wanted it desperately) and she told everyone “I have to wait for the plane!” before she could open it. They entertained her the whole first flight! $9.99 for the win. The stewardesses remarked on how she ate vegetables for snacks and said please and thank you. On our layover, we found another family with little ones and M and their kids ran in circles and had a great time together. The second flight she fell asleep as soon as I turned on a movie. I dozed as well. It was parenting perfection. Traveling with her is only going to get better and better…
I came away from the trip realizing that a change of scenery can really put even your own children into perspective. Last week I was thinking of my kid as “difficult”, “challenging” and so on, and this week I kept think of her as “easy”, “fun”, and a kid I was just super proud of. I’m also just extremely glad that travel brings out the best in her, because it brings out the best in me, too! We are going to have so many wonderful adventures together.