The Toddlermoon

We all know about the honeymoon.  In the past couple of years, the new trendy “must-do” escape for parents-to-be has come to be known as the babymoon ( link ,  link or link).  That ‘oh so sweet’ pause in the life of a couple, a last ditch effort to really focus on just each other, either before or while the little one is still practicing it’s limbo dance in utero.  It reminds me of the big trip some cousin’s of mine took (where they must have sunk some nice change) into a trip to Bora Bora, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Tiki hut-lined beaches and all.  The ‘last hurrah’ as they called it before they set out on the path to parenthood.  Some couple friends of mine from Canada went to Huatulco, Mexico, revisiting the resort where they were married, when their little girl was practicing her future mountain bike pedal in utero.  A former colleague (now friend) went with her budding filmmaking husband to Florida where he filmed and produced a touching video to remember their special time.  The last time when they could say it was ‘just the two of us’.

With my husband and I, there was no babymoon, not 14 years ago when we met.  I already had a bundle, more like an barrel full of monkeys kind of bundle of joy, verging on two years of age when we met.  We never did know that blissful period of time when it was ‘just us.’  We’ve always functioned as a group.  It was always ‘us three.’  And you know what, despite not having that time to indulge solely in one another, I feel incredibly enriched by the life experience of growing together as a family, the three of us (mom and son + 1). 

Now that we’ve added another one to the family, I’m going to shake things up a bit and take this babymoon business to a whole ‘nuther level. Folks, I’m bringing you The Toddlermoon.  No, it’s NOT a blissfull little escape for us parents, away from our new lives as we know them, overrun completely by the demands of having a toddler in the house.  This is NOT an attempt to get back to the couple me and my husband used to be pre-baby.  This is the kind of trip, rather, where you get to take a break from everyday monotony in order to find a deeper connection in your relationships with = your toddler.  “You so crazy,” you say.  Yes, maybe a little.  But think of it this way, when, as a parent, are you in the moment, and I mean really in the moment?  I think of all those pauses, when I slow down in my much too busy adult life, down to even the smallest, seemingly insignificant pauses, like when I help my toddler splash through puddles in her new rain boots on the way into the co-op.  This happens a lot – my toddler opens up my world by allowing me to see it through her eyes. 

The first real challenge to an international trip, sans husband, with only the toddler in tow, was to dive right in, right past the voices which kept saying ‘you’re crazy, you can’t do this’ ‘you can’t afford this’ ‘you’ll never survive two weeks on your own with a toddler’ not to mention the ‘you’ll never even survive the plane trip with your toddler’ voice which seemed to be the loudest one of all.

The funny thing is, the more I searched, the more I found people  (also here), just like me, who agree that travelling the globe does not have to end with the arrival of children into our lives.  This is the kind of trip where parents can get over themselves…and get serious about sharing the world with their kids.  Time to really dig the fact that, as parents, we will always function as a unit.  They only left the womb, not our side.

Taking a trip with a toddler in tow is bound to have its own level of personal difficulty for me, but someone important somewhere once said that nothing good comes easy.  I know that I am going to question myself (probably several times on the 9 hour + plane ride over the ocean alone…) about why I was crazy enough to think this could work.  In essence, it is like a microcosm of the long range span of raising children.  Raising children is by no means easy, with the challenges continually morphing and getting progressively more cerebral as they age.  But yet, millions of us do it anyway! 

I think about the way my toddler sees the world.  She isn’t worried about what she has to make for dinner, or how many loads of laundry are piling up in the basement.  What she is worried about has a primacy to it.  An immediacy.  It is whatever is in front of her at this very second.  It is whatever she is feeling this very second.  And when I am 100% there, not distracted by the monotony of the tasks of everyday life, I can see it 100% too.  I am there right with her.  So no, this isn’t the kind of hedonistic vacation where it is just me and ‘the Mr.’ living out an escapist fantasy.  This is the kind of trip where I get to leave all the day to day worries behind -cleaning house, cooking, washing diapers, maintaining the house, yard, etc, etc (hey wait, that is starting to sound a bit hedonistic…at least to the parent of a toddler anyway) – and get down to the real guts of life, living simply, out of a carry-on and a back pack, checking out the globe, just me and my toddler.  To get shoulder deep into the joys of seeing the world through the eyes of a child. 

On the tail end of two severely sleep deprived years I’m emerging into a state of almost sanity.  I say almost, as I’m sure some of you are still thinking “she has got to be cuckoo to do a solo trip with a toddler in tow.”  At the same time, it feels like a monumental accomplishment.  One that calls for more than just a little trip to my favorite massage therapist.  So call it a bonding time, a personal challenge or, if you prefer, a sanity killer, this gal is going to buck up and see how the legos all shake out, Toddlermoon-style.

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~ by urbanwandernlust on April 8, 2011.

4 Responses to “The Toddlermoon”

  1. I absolutely love this post! It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day that we can overlook the joy of just “being” with our little ones. Having serious one on one time is so important, and I’m so certain you will always look back at your toddlermoon with fondness. : )

  2. I love this! Where are you going? Right now my toddler is immersed in picking up cardamom seeds she scattered and putting them back in the box in a sunny patch on the kitchen floor. I should get off the computer and join her:)

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