TRAVELING WITH A TODDLER
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
"How can you have a successful vacation with a toddler?"
Since I've started joining mommy groups, I've found out that this has been regarded as one of the most frequently asked. Finally, a wise mom gave a fool-proof answer to end this question. Well, as it turns out, you just have to do ONE single thing. LEAVE THE KID AT HOME.
Yep. You read that right. If you want a stress-free, tantrum-free, easy breezy vacation, DON'T BRING THE KIDS! You cannot really expect a kid to fully cooperate during a trip. Never. Unless, you know, by some miracle your kid follows every single instruction you give them without being distracted by their new surroundings then, well, good on you. But normally, kids will be kids. So, in the end, as moms, we just have to suck it up and prepare for every worst possible scenario. Also, we might need to purchase an extra check-in baggage all the time since we've got to pack plenty of patience.
I remember our first family trip a month after Sofia just turned one. We flew to Boracay and I really thought I could take tons of stunning photos with my baby girl on the beach. I even brought props like tent, sand castle toys and so on. Guess what? She hated the sand. She was so freaked-out when she felt sand between her tiny toes that she was unabashedly wailing the whole time. She was also holding on with all her might as if she clinging on for her dear life. I was so frustrated. It was definitely like those Expectation Vs. Reality Memes. But did it get me down? Was I the kind of person who gets easily discouraged in these situations? Haha. Of course! My mood was dampened however my persistence did not falter. I was a mom on a mission.
The thing is, that was our first family vacation. I absolutely wanted to immortalize the moment by making sure we take great photos. I wanted my daughter to see the pictures when she's a little older and marvel at the fact that we've gone through hoops to bring her on great family trips. My parents were the same. I've had baby photos of me on various trips. It was surreal looking at my tiny self floating on the beach like a boss on a black donut floater tethered to a post. I just wanted the same for my little one, especially since, she won't be my little one forever. Unfortunately, I think I got too obsessed in taking the perfect photo that I was hindering our family in having a good time. So, when I felt it was not really working out, I eventually dropped it.
Throughout our 3 day-stay in the island, we've just lounged around the pool, went on food adventure and joined short tours. On our final day, we decided to explore the island for the last time when the craziest thing happened. All of a sudden, my daughter's attention was caught by something shimmering in the sand so she asked (more like commanded) for us to put her down. Initially, she started to tiptoe reluctantly (and quite gingerly I might add), slowly welcoming the feel of the warm sand and glistening water before eventually giving in. Moments after, she was chasing the waves and frolicking in the water like a typical island dweller. And that's when I took my perfect photo. See? I just had to give it time. Although, it was cutting it too close since we were hours away from leaving the island.
The reality is, you have to accept the fact that some things will not really go your way. So just relax, enjoy each moment and let everything else take its place. It's a vacation, after all.
This first trip was such a learning experience for my husband and I. We were able to develop our own parent travel hacks and we even discovered so much regarding acceptance, or at least I did. It was our first trip anyway, the bar was expected to be low. It was definitely challenging but we made it through. And now, looking back at that trip, we'd never change a single thing.