Traveling TV Free

The most common advice I see for parents traveling with children is to get them a portable DVD player. It makes me cringe every time. We all traveled long before TVs in the car were an option and we all survived it. Most of us probably enjoyed it. Emi is a well-traveled child. At 2 she has already flown across the country three times (and once in utero!) and has spent countless hours in the car since we live so far out in Middle of the Desert Land, USA. She wasn’t always an easy-going car rider, in fact to start with she couldn’t be in the car for more than 5 minutes before making herself vomit from screaming. It was torture, stressful for everyone and I am glad we’re past it. Eventually she took a pacifier and that helped her stay calmer and I learned how to nurse her without ever taking her out of her car seat. It was still bad. I considered turning her front facing against everything I believe, simply because I was so desperate for the situation to be different. It was a rough road to travel (no pun intended) to get where we are now, but I am glad I waited and trusted her to self regulate as she developed.

She is still rear facing at 2 years old and a little over 20 lbs. I will keep her rear facing as long as she is within height and weight limits. I think it’s important to note this because even rear facing, you can help your children become self-soothing, independent, happy travelers simply by trusting them to be. I traveled often as a child, always by car, and we didn’t have cell phones or TV’s to keep us entertained. We had our imaginations, small activities, and each other. My memories of family road trips are some of my favorite ones and I want Emi to have that experience as well.

Before starting out I packed Emi a little bin of activities: booksa coloring book, a magnetic drawing pad, wooden musical instruments, and a puzzle. I used velcro to secure the puzzle pieces so she would be able to play with it vertically. I made sure to have music she likes on my phone and I also packed her some snacks in these awesome spill proof snack cups, and a water bottle. I tried to keep it limited but varied, as not to overwhelm her with options.

Emi happily occupied herself for most of the ride playing independently. What was supposed to be a 3.5 hour drive turned into 7 hours and it was tough for all of us towards the end. As she started getting restless she wanted to be involved more with us. So we all sang songs and played games. It was during these times that we had the most fun and the car was filled with laughter. I know that by getting through these tough times instead of distracting her from her discomfort or boredom, I am equipping her with important life skills. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s not impossible and it’s so worth it. Next time around I will try to incorporate her toys into the drive if she gets restless, but since she can’t see out the window yet it’s a little hard right now. We could have used her Brown Bear, Brown Bear book to practice animal noises or her car puzzle to look for those types of transportation as we drove. There are always more ways than one to play with a toy, so keep reinventing.

On the return trip, once we got close to home, Emi started to get tired. All she wanted was for her dad to sing her songs and Mommy to hold her hand and we were happy to oblige. As the sun set with her little hand squeezing my fingers and Ross softly singing You Are My Sunshine, I couldn’t have been happier.

Traveling TV Free

Monday Mindset

I’m recovering from a vacation hang over, so enjoy this adorable video of Emi flipping her very own tire!

I have lots of pictures from our trip coming this week, once I get a little time and a lot more sleep.

Monday Mindset

On The Eve Of Two

Today you are one. Tomorrow you will be a big girl. A bigger girl. Somehow at two the world has decided you take up too much space to be a baby anymore and you’ll become something else. Someone with her own seat, Someone with her own ticket, someone who needs her own menu… Not quite a baby, not quite a kid, just somewhere in between the spaces.

It’s surreal.

As I write this I feel the tears coming on. They’re going to spill over and if you catch me sitting here crying you’ll climb up onto this unfamiliar bed, put your still 1 year old hands on my cheeks and you’ll ask me “Mommy is sad?”

“No,” I’ll say. “Yes.” I’ll decide. “Both.” I’ll finally understand.

Because I am sad. I am sad that I am losing my baby so soon after I lost the baby I thought would make it easier. Because, in a selfish way, it is sad to watch you grow up. It’s heartbreaking to know every day you are one day closer to going your own way, and that every decision I make now is geared towards preparing you for that time.

But I’m happy, too. So happy! I laugh so much because of you. Today you sang songs in the car I didn’t even know you knew and I thought my heart might explode. Because you are bigger. Because every day you do something to amaze me. You take my breath away and you fill me with joy. Because without you I wouldn’t have been able to survive losing something so precious. And even so, without that loss I might not appreciate all of this so much.

Baby girl, my baby for a few more hours, I love you so much. You are everything I could have ever asked for. You are my soul. My bright eyed, independent, fierce little girl who’s got my chin and my smile and my eyes. You’ve got your dad’s tenacity and intelligence and cheeks. You are the best and the worst of us and you make it perfect. My little big girl, I am so lucky to have you.

So tonight while you are still my baby, my only baby, I’ll cry a little but I’ll laugh a lot. Because I love you as big as the moon, as much as the stars, as endless as the universe!

 Tomorrow you will be two.

Too much.

Much too big.

A big girl.

My bigger girl.

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On The Eve Of Two

Wordless Wednesday

1 more day…

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Wordless Wednesday

How To Tell If Your Kid Is Now A Toddler

This morning when reaching into my gym bag for my badge to get onto base, I stuck my hand in a cup of water. The same cup of water I looked all over the house for last night after Emi said she put it away. Also, her new favorite game is “I have a surprise for you…” Ohhhh, life with a toddler.

Let's jump off a rock down a steep mountain! It'll be fun, Mom!
Let’s jump off a rock down a steep mountain! It’ll be fun, Mom!
-Toddler Logic

Are you living with a toddler? Take this quick quiz to find out!

1. Have you been finding random cups of liquid in your gym bag?

A. No
B. Yes
C. I’m too afraid to look.

2. Do you say this phrase more than once a day?
“DON’T MOVE UNTIL I WIPE YOU!”

A. No
B. Yes
C. Except for the days I am saying “Drink this juice, it will make your tummy feel better.” Then, I just pray a lot.

3. Are you failing miserably at hiding your laugh when your child says to you, “This tastes like dirt.” and then just handing her whole tubs of cottage cheese or another food that is the only thing she will eat?

A. No
B. Yes
C. At least it’s got fats and protein. She also eats a lot of dirt, that’s full of minerals, you know.

4. Have you ever seriously thought about duct taping a diaper closed?

A. No
B. Yes
C. Do you like cleaning poop off the walls? Didn’t think so.

5. Do you end the day praying for bedtime, then find yourself randomly standing in the doorway, missing them like crazy?

A. No
B. Yes
C. Yes. But I also have a very big glass of wine in my hand and it’s usually after I’ve spent 3 minutes on the toilet just sitting there without anything catastrophic happening.

Mostly A’s: Why are you even taking this quiz?

Mostly B’s: Welcome to Toddlerhood, Mama!

Mostly C’s: This probably isn’t your first rodeo. Raise that wine glass high!

How To Tell If Your Kid Is Now A Toddler

Monday Mindset

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

I don’t feel like writing today. Emi had a hard night last night which translates to me having a hard night, which translates to suck. I got so little sleep that I called into work and let them know I would be late just to get a couple more hours of shut-eye. Top it off with my body being on the fritz, skin irritation in places you neeevveerr want to have a rash, and about a thousand things on my To-Do list, I’m definitely not ready for it to be Monday.

Still, here I am typing out words that don’t really mean anything just because I need the outlet. I have to pour them out of me so I can find perspective in them.

Because my daughter slept horribly, but she’s healthy and a bad night’s sleep isn’t the end of the world. Because I could call in and sleep a few more hours without worrying about making ends meet when so many are trying to figure out how to make it through Sequestration. Because we all woke up at all. Our town is currently filled with smoke from a fire that is ravaging national lands, has destroyed homes and after 5 days is still only 40% contained. And that’s not even the worst of what’s been devastating towns across the US. My heart is heavy with grief for all of the devastation people are facing with the determination to carry on.

So it’s Monday and I am tired, but I am also incredibly blessed to be dealing with nothing more than a bad night of sleep.

Monday Mindset

Snapshot Saturday

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My ray of hope.
My reason to keep trying.
My first, but not my only.

Snapshot Saturday