|Juliana is an expert unpacker|
The good thing about traveling with a toddler is that the world is their playground. Juliana loves airports; she can spend hours running around, banging on chairs, and climbing stairs and ramps. At each new hotel room she is excited to find another phone, another fridge right at her level, and more tiny spaces under furniture to shove her toys into. At our last place on the ground floor, Juliana took great joy in walking out the patio door right outside! A nice change from six floors up.
|Enjoying the playground with mama and aunt Melissa|
In many ways, though, traveling with a toddler is difficult. I'm not a strict schedule person, but I do think toddlers benefit from a good deal of routine, consistency, and predictability, none of which are abundant in travel. Some days she was already waking up from her nap at 2pm; other days she wasn't getting to sleep until 3pm. Some days she ate dinner at 5pm and other nights we didn't get to eat until 7pm, pushing back bedtime extra late too. Some days she had no problem with a flexible schedule; other days it made for quite a crabby baby. And this time we didn't even have to factor in jetlag!
|A nap on the go|
Juliana also developed a lot of less than ideal habits while traveling. She has reverted back to only falling asleep while being held. She has discovered a love for hotdogs. When she started flipping out on an airplane or in a restaurant, she got to watch Baby Einstein on Kevin's phone. She used her pacifier about twice as much as normal. She ate a ridiculous amount of crackers. She scratched me a lot. [Juliana doesn't have a security object; instead she has a security action – picking at/running her fingers over my skin. When she is tired or feeling insecure, she starts picking at me. Unfortunately if I don't keep her nails good and trimmed I end up getting scratched.]
|Finally something I love to eat!|
The long days of flights and airports are tiring but the weeks away from home were also starting to wear on Juliana. By the end she started getting extra fussy, even needing extra naps. She wanted to be touching me 90% of her waking hours, and if she was as far as 2 feet away she would pitifully cry, “Mumm-ma! Mumm-maaaa!” At home, Juliana squeals impatiently and grabs her hat when anyone mentions going outside. While traveling, on the other hand, she was excited whenever we got back to our room. Oh, and did I mention that the entire time she was working on two painful molars? I've always heard that molars are difficult, but I didn't realize they took so long to come in! Poor baby.
|Cuddling with mama on a trek across town|
Despite all that, Juliana mostly enjoyed the travels. She got to charm hundreds of new people and play peek-a-boo with strangers on the plane. She got to ride an elephant and discovered their mutual love of bananas. She even took a nice nap while swaying along atop a lumbering elephant. She played with her aunt Melissa, who taught her important life lessons like how to climb up a slide. She went swimming and sliding and walked barefoot in the grass. She got to have bare arms and legs for three whole weeks. She played with other kids and went outside every day. She took her 16-23rd flights. Quite a lot of activity for a seventeen month old!
|Taking a ride atop a 4 ton elephant. (She's inside the carrier getting in a nice little nap).|