Holidays with a dash of toddler

Holidaying with a toddler is kind of a contradiction in terms – if you expect, that is, for a holiday to be a relaxing affair. If you like high-octane adventure holidays, where you come home exhausted after two weeks of running, climbing and water-based-activities, then of course, holidaying with a toddler could be right up your street.

It started on the first evening, when we found him on the deck of the mobile home next door, after two minutes (but what seemed like two hours) of anxious searching. I had a serious chat with him – got down to his level and all that good stuff – looking into his two-and-a-half-year-old big blue eyes. I explained that he must never, ever leave our deck without mum or dad. “Otay mum,” he said (that’s not a typo – just a literal transcript), “sowwy mummy, me not do it again,” he said, eyes downcast, chin on chest. I hugged him, told him it was fine, and I went back inside to continue unpacking, happy that he had understood. Two minutes later, I spotted him walking casually but purposefully down the road and around the corner towards the pool. Stick in hand, like a gentleman farmer surveying his land. So this was how it will be, I thought, as I chased after him. And so it was.

On the ferry over he had locked himself into the toilet for five frantic minutes, then went missing during the disco for five much more frantic minutes (he was playing hide and seek but forgot to tell any of the rest of us).

There was not one single meal during the entire holiday at which he didn’t spill his drink, though the subsequent “sowwy mummy” and apologetic look from the big blue eyes almost made the clean-up worth it.

He insisted on scooting everywhere, although he isn’t able to scoot, so the journey home from the playground which should take three minutes instead took thirty-five. But that was still better than the time he decided to crawl home like a puppy.

office mum photo of son on scooter

There was no poolside sunbathing – we were in the water with him, or sitting at the edge of the baby-pool while he splashed around. There was no seaside sunbathing – we were up and down to the sea to get buckets of water, which were immediately spilled out on the sand, necessitating a return trip.  There was no on-the-deck sunbathing, because a half-closed eye meant he was gone like lightning; off to survey his surroundings, stick in hand. He’s two-and-a-half; big enough to run away but not big enough to have any sense whatsoever – an exhausting combination.

Next year, he’ll have some sense and it’ll be easier. But I’ll kind of miss this stage too – I’m aware that the lack of sense that generates the challenges is also what brings about the fun.

Like pretending to be a puppy throughout the holiday, for no reason whatsoever. And pretending to be a baby – talking in a baby voice, unaware that because he’s two, he already talks in a baby voice. Like saying “Me need my Scooby snacks” every time he’s hungry, and tipping his bowl of Corn Flakes into his yogurt, much to his big sisters’ mutual horror. Like the sulks that are funny, because of the folded arms and the foot stomp and the “That not is fair!” over being told he can’t stamp his sister’s leg with buttered bread. Like the indignant “How dare you!” he shouts at everyone who wrongs him, including bigger kids who push him out of the way in the playground. Like wanting to walk home on his own from the playground at 10 o’clock at night. Like wanting ice-cream at 8.30am, and at bed-time and straight after he’s just had an ice-cream. Like saying “Mummy you is my lady” and “Me sleep on your heart” as he snuggles in to my arms after a long day playing.

There was no lie-in, but the mornings were all the more golden for his Corn Flake giggles. There was no sun-bathing, but the towel-wrapped after-swim cuddles were indescribably good. There was no night-life, but a squeezy bedtime hug and a “Is my best holiday in ever” made up for it. At two-and-a-half, he curtailed our holiday a little; he kept us out of the sun, he kept us out of the bar, he kept us out of bed, and he sent us home exhausted. But he also kept us laughing – he was the extra sunshine; the beaming light around which we all revolved. And much as I’m looking forward to meeting next year’s reasonably sensible three-year-old, I’m really going to miss this baby-toddler who will be gone forever by then.

office mum photo from pool

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21 thoughts on “Holidays with a dash of toddler”

  1. It reminds me of last years holidays with my then 2 years old… 2 weeks of monitoring him climbing up and down every set of stairs he could find… They wreck our head sometimes, but all this craziness is what makes those moments unforgettable 😉

    1. You just put in a nutshell what it took me 700 words to write Anne – that’s it exactly – the craziness that makes it unforgettable 🙂

  2. “I sleep on your heart.” Oh, so adorable.

    Except probably when you’re roasting hot, a little sweaty head right on the middle of your chest is not actually what you need at 2am. My son used to try to sleep with his head on my head. I think he was afraid I’d get away if he didn’t.
    Maud recently posted…Little feckersMy Profile

    1. I sometimes wonder if it’s a boy thing – they seem to want to get back inside at times I think 🙂

  3. I began reading this and nodding furiously. Then as I read on I began to really remember and the nodding stopped and I smiled and thought, what a lovely holiday lies ahead for you next year, and many more to come!
    Yes your little dasher will be less of a little one, but he will be so much more of something else also.
    A lovely post, and I loved the photos.
    tric recently posted…Have you seen one yet?My Profile

    1. I think there are other special moments ahead that I can’t imagine right now, but I also feel very nostalgic already for this time that will be gone. I don’t say it on front of the two girls, but even still, my six year old says “Mum, he’s so cute now, but he’s talking more and more and he’s just not going to be as cute anymore…” I guess this is life with the youngest child!

  4. Wow, I’ve just had the exact same holiday this year with my little boy & his two older brothers! Unfortunately daddy had to return to work the week we were sailing & missed the family holiday. I prepared myself mentally for a holiday that would involve chasing the toddler ALL day, calling him back ALL of the time, and never relaxing until he was in bed! It was exactly all of that! But there was also wonderful moments daddy missed as he went down the white slides himself and wrapped his arms around my neck & kissed me EVERY time he did it! Also the after swim cuddle wrapped in the towel seemed extra special too! I’m sure all of my many neighbours new ‘Harry’ as he dashed passed their mobiles with me calling after him, counting to three or calling with threats or bribes! Lol we still had the best holiday ever! And we’ll definitely be going back to Clarys Plage with Daddy next year.

    1. Liz – were you in Clarys Plage recently? That’s where our holiday was! Perhaps your toddler and mine raced past each other on the campsite at some point 🙂
      And wow, that’s amazing that you did the holiday on your own – I hope you do get to go back next year and have a slightly more relaxing time 🙂

  5. He sounds like such a sweetheart! Having just holidayed with a three and a half year old I’m afraid much of it still rings true, especially the theatrical sulks. He does have a lot more sense though, I think.

    1. Oh! So no dramatic changes next year – I think I’m kind of OK with that though….in no rush to have a grown up little boy just yet 🙂

    1. sometimes I worry that nostalgia might just break my heart – so more of it ahead by the sounds of it!

    1. Ah that’s it in a nutshell – that’s exactly how it is. I think I wouldn’t have it any other way (as I type this, the bathroom floor is inaccessible after a bath-splashing-toddler incident)

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