Thursday, May 21, 2015

What spending a week with a toddler in Mexico will teach you.

When reflecting on our first vacation as a family of three out of the country it is easy to dwell on the negative points of the trip because there were a few.  Instead of being a “Negative Nancy” about the trip I’ve tried to think of it as a learning experience.  Many of the things I learned on the trip were interesting, and also pretty positive.  Here we go:

*Children are little celebrities.  No matter what gender, race, or behavior, bringing a toddler to a resort makes them an instant mini celebrity.  In Anderson’s best moments when she was showing off her talking skills and other newly acquired personality traits, she was the star of the resort.  We had people come up to us on our final days and comment on how they loved watching Miss A at the pool throughout the week.  If you need an overall confidence booster, take a toddler to a resort.

*Toddlers are little people, with big personalities.  Some of Anderson’s happiest times on the trip were when she had an audience while she ran through parts of the resort, or splashed in the baby pool.  Before going to Mexico we knew she was an independent little diva, but we didn’t realize just how independent she was.  She insisted on walking on her own wherever we were going, and expected us to follow her schedule at all times.  For those that know her, this isn’t much different than behavior at home, just magnified since there was so much walking and new things to explore.  Our little toddler tested her limits in so many ways on this trip, which resulted in a few time outs being enforced.

*Being at a Mexican resort required laser focus on our girl.  The room consisted of marble floors and hard, wood furniture.  The pool area was a wet, busy area that Anderson loved to run through.  No matter where we went, there was always a very dangerous encounter creating images of a very scary end result if we weren’t paying extreme attention to Miss A.  Our beloved Minnie Mouse doll almost took a dive into the flamingo pond.  Being on high alert was a necessity to make sure our beloved little girl didn’t join in on that fun adventure.

*What did parents do before electronics?  Obviously I realize there are other, much better activities, to have a toddler engage in to keep them occupied.  But in today’s society, many people are used to having at least some TV time.  At our house that means an episode (or two) of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  In Mexico, MMC, wasn’t available for watching.  Thank you Apple and Disney for providing a short relief for two tired parents.

*Parents who play with their children attract other kids whose parents don’t.  At various times we had one to two other little kids wanting to hang out with us while we splashed in the water with our daughter. 

*Spending almost an entire week, uninterrupted, with our daughter really showed me how much we miss out on during normal work weeks.  Those extra hugs, laughs and memories made were so special during that week since it was a luxury to be spending so much time as a family, rather than spending it at work.

*Going away for a Mexico vacation with a toddler would not have crossed my mind if I didn’t have a supportive partner.  We gave each other short breaks to head to the pool bar, read a book or not be on parent danger alert.  Those small breaks were always much needed, and appreciated.

*By far the biggest lesson I learned was to relax, have a sense of humor and make the best of any situation.  Our rooms weren’t as expected, the flight home was completely horrific and the challenges of taking a toddler on a big vacation were much more than we’d ever expected.  But we’ve lived and learned from the entire experience and become much more seasoned and patient parents in the process.

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