We are about to embark on a trip. A big trip. A TWO MONTH trip! The five of us are going to travel around chunks of New Zealand AND Australia.
We are pretty darn lucky. A unique situation at my husband’s work is allowing him to step away and the kids are still young enough that ditching the last several weeks of school doesn’t seem so irresponsible. This chance won’t come up again and so we’re doing it!
I have anxiousness over the long list of aspects of our daily life that will be drastically different from my controlled stable little life in our home. Also: the long flight, the time change, whether I want this much continuous time with each of the people I love most (every single day all day long all five of us), whether I will get any sleep in countless strange beds, and certainly whether we will all just want to come back to our home after a couple weeks, but my largest concern is my smallest in stature.
The dreaded three year old.
He has somewhat gotten over his intense sleep struggles of last fall where he would LOUDLY serenade us with Sesame Street and Weird Al Yankovic songs for one to three hours every night starting around 1 am, but he’s still a three year old. Now, his primary personality “quirk” is demanding something impolitely in an almost indecipherable whine and progressing into full blown tantrum mode when the answer is no, or the person can’t understand him, or he actually wanted the opposite of what he demanded.
Yesterday morning he did the stereotypical stomp, clenched-fists, red faced screaming routine: because the locations of the smushed avocado and honey on his toast weren’t satisfactory; because he didn’t want to wear anything under his rain jacket; because he didn’t want me to sing along to “Get Back Up Again” from the trolls; because he did want me to sing along, but then really really didn’t; because he wanted “privacy” at the water fountain at the rec center; and because he wanted some combination of paw patrol figures to stand up or sit down or drive or tow a plastic truck they don’t fit in.
I often don’t enjoy him.
Yes, it’s not abnormal for his age. But do I really want this dictator as a travel companion on the trip of a lifetime? I keep asking who in Colorado wants to add him to their lives for a couple months and no takers. (Granted he doesn’t always put his best foot forward in public.)
Alas, he is coming. And alas, we wouldn’t really want to leave the little turd behind anyways. We’d miss his silly little self far too much after about a day and a half. DEFINITELY by day 5.
And hello?! When I finally was able to become pregnant with this third child a few years after was my intention, my first son was almost seven. I pledged that we would not always postpone family experiences until the littlest was the “right” age. I didn’t want my oldest to have to wait to have big adventures until he no longer wanted to be around us much. And so we excitedly go.
Likely, as my husband reminds me when I begin a slide toward panic and consider cancelling everything, we will have some horrendous moments over the weeks away. Someone will get really sick, or… a really necessary shoe will disappear in the shuffle or something. Each person will cry at some point, each person will yell at some point, there will be a lot of sibling battles and the smallest and I will have countless tantrums. But we are also going to make some unimaginable memories.
A lot of joy and a lot of challenges? It won’t be so drastically different from what happens at home; it will be exactly like our regular life.