A Travellerspoint blog

October 2011

The giggles

sunny 87 °F

Sometimes, in a completely normal moment, my son will get the giggles. All at once, he will bust out into the sweetest laugh, and it will accelerate into full-blown hysterics. At first, I look at him with total bewilderment, not having any idea what is so funny. Then I cannot help but join in to laughing with him, because his laugh is completely contagious, and the innocence of his laugh is magical. It happened today as I was holding him for his nap...his eyes are closing, everything is quiet, only the calming ocean sounds of our ipod and the whirr of the fan, and then his eyes pop open and he giggles wildly. Head tilted back, mouth open: A big belly laugh. Then just as quickly as it began it lulls, and we are again settling into our sleep routine. But I am left with a poignant truth to ponder: he is his own being.

This is of course obvious to everyone but me, who still sometimes thinks (and perhaps secretly hopes) that we are still attached in some way. But he is himself. And in these days when his personality is blossoming second by second, it is getting more and more clear that he is becoming a unique being: with likes and dislikes, attitudes, emotions, ideas, and expressions. As we move on from the baby months, he no longer laughs just because I am laughing, or smiles because I like something. He laughs when he wants to laugh. Finds things funny that I have no idea about, decides he wants to do one activity over another. I still expect him to do things that I want, to go to the pool when I want to go, and am surprised when we get there, and he is walking back to the house instead, shaking his little head, no, no.

The other day Bodhi & I were walking down the path from our home to the car. I usually take his hand, so that he can run fast and not fall. But this time, he pushed my hand away. He wanted to do it himself. I found myself both proud and sad as i watched him run down the slope of the pathway himself. I am willing him not to fall, walking quickly so he doesn't get too far ahead, and I can get there to stop him before he runs into the street. But then he stopped at the bottom of the path, turned around and called, "Momma, Momma!" as if to say, 'look what I did!'

I find myself increasingly emotional when I think about or see images of children growing up. The other day, we were watching the TV show Modern Family (Excellent, by the way), when the father Phil brings his teenage daughter to look at prospective colleges. He allows her to go off with some other students to a party on campus, acting very cool and relaxed, and later admits he was tracking her cell phone gps, and shows up at the party to make sure she is OK. She says to him: "How are you going to handle me going off to college next year if you can't even trust me enough to let me go to this party alone?" I recognize the truth, the fear, and the total lack of control that one has as their children grow up and I started to cry. "That will be Bodhi someday!", I tell my husband who is visibly rolling his eyes. "You have 16 years". But still, I can see it coming down the road, my need to let him go, and every step we take brings us closer to his full independence.

Posted by globalmomma 05:59 Archived in USA Tagged walking up family pool sunny modern kona independence parents toddler growing Comments (1)

Crazy Days

Here has been the last few days: eleven hour continuous flight, missed connecting flight, extra airport hotel, extra charges, our new place not ready for moving in when we arrive, moved into vacation rental, spilled tomato sauce all over rug in vacation rental, trips to Costco for cleaning supplies & items to outfit new place and trips to storage unit where our measly belongings are in limbo, and day to day alterations.  This is not exactly the inspired stuff of blogs, so I am sorry for the lack of production.  

We are again dealing with the reality that we have successfully avoided for seven months:  life in a settled spot...moving into a new home. Buying supplies like light bulbs and paper towels, turning on electricity and getting new driver's licenses.  Figuring out where to go and how to create a new life in a place sounds a lot moe glamourous than it is, and I admit, I was completely enamored into it.  "We can decorate our new place from scratch! have a tropical theme...buy some toys, start to nest and be surrounded by items that we like and are comfortable." This was my logic, or rather, my fantasy.  My husband was the level-headed one. "You are forgetting about all of the work, and all of the extra costs to move into a new place", he would say. "Maybe we continue to rent turnkey furnished places so we don't need to get anything."  "No", I said, "it will be so much FUN to buy new things, and have our own stuff..."  Well, you get where I am going with this.  I am reasonably sure I will be pleased in the end; but in the middle of it all, it hardly seems worth the effort of scouring consignment shops, Costco, Target, and this weekend renting a truck to go around to yard sales... all to furnish a short-term rental.  Wish me luck, and good hunting.

Posted by globalmomma 13:35 Comments (1)

Eleven hours of hell

Traveling with kids is the hardest thing in the world. Don't listen to me if I tell you otherwise.  I never realized how easy I had it when all I had to do was worry about getting myself to the fight on time, and what I brought with me to read. With kids, it is a constant crapshoot for what you are going to get.  It could be an easy ride, after which you say, 'wow, that wasn't so bad', and you almost forget about the other times when it is difficult. Other times, your child is awakened during every nap, you forget the milk, you go through each diaper, and you are banging your head against the seat in front of you by the time the whole thing is through. Or maybe in need of a strong drink. Or three.
The anxiety of not knowing what you are going to get is the worst part.  Dreading the ten hour flight or the overnight trip or the five hour car ride.  Having a strong arsenal of supplies is half the battle. Sheer luck is the other half.

When your child is crying and unsympathetic people around you are glaring, and you are turning red-faced as you try to appease, nothing is good, and you can't get out of that situation and off the plane fast enough. Nursery rhymes, rocking, even playing with your iPhone...bribes, snacks, new toys, any method is employed to try to get through a long flight.  Planes have a higher probability of hellishness because there is so very little room to move.  You stand in the aisles, you get bumped. You stand in galleys, you are likely to get chastised by crabby flght attendants. You try to go into the bathroom but the lights are too bright for sleep. You try in your chair but the baby kicks the seat in front of you and squirms onto the floor. If you are lucky, you may have one of those children that can fall asleep half-standing in the middle of a football game.  Most of us have children who sleep best like we do... In quiet, cool, dark rooms without hordes of strangers around.  For them, as for us, sleeping on a plane is near impossible without medical help.

This last one was a doozy. Direct from Newark, New Jersey to Honolulu, eleven hours; which at first I thought was a great plan, and since have started to regress such notions of any 'better way to go'. I now know flying from the east coast to Hawai'i is torture, regardless of how many flights it takes.

The particulars of this flight started with a packed flight leaving Newark, one that we happened to board nearly last, as it took forever to get through the terminal and to the gate. Even though we arrived at the airport over 90 minutes early, we still got to the plane as all rows were boarding. No time for diaper changes and water runs, and it was rush, rush, rush. Between all the elevators and trams in Newark, I told my husband I felt like the flight should be nearly over before we even left, I was so exhausted. Usually I try my hardest to plan for a good nap before a travel day. I find it is the best predictor of success...well, that and an empty flight, which is rare and totally unpredictable.  This morning the nap was not good, a foreboding detail.

We get on the plane and get settled in with ourr eight carry-ons, including a car seat, diaper bag, cooler bag, two coats, backpack, rolling bag, bear. Since Bodhi had a miserable first nap for only about forty five minutes in the car, he was whiny and fidgety from the start. As soon as we got up to altitude, we were hoping he would fall asleep. We bought him an honorary third seat on the plane for this purpose...so he could fall asleep in his car seat as he usually does. No problem, right? Wrong. After an hour, it was clear it wasn't going to work out, so we were back to standing in the galley with him over our shoulders whisking him to sleep. Of course, right about the time we finally get him to sleep, the baby across from us decides to wake up and starts chatting and shrieking. Game over. We try for a few minutes to keep him asleep but it is of no use. He pops open his eyes and yells, 'uppa!' The second nap goes in about the same manner and I find myself staring at the computer screen with the airplane trajectory on it, willing us to go faster and get there.  During the four hours between naps, Bodhi managed to burn through all three of his outfits. One was peed through. The second was also soaked, after he tried to grab Chris's ice water and ceremoniously dumped it straight on his face.  Imagine a baby being doused with a full glass of ice water. Didn't feel good. And he sure let us know about it.  I stripped him down to his diaper in about three seconds as if I was practicing for a class in hypothermia first aid.   The third was partially soaked by the wet car seat from the pee incident and the ice water, but also got food all over it. But it will have to do for the remaining three hours.

Luckily I brought an entire carryon of diapers so we aren't going to go through all of those. We had that happen on a previous flight and I wasn't going to let that happen this time. I also thought to bring the entire jar of toddler formula instead of the bottles of milk I usually bring. Good thing because we have already burned through four bottles and the night is still young. We make it to Honolulu, and then while buying dinner and getting from terminal to terminal, somehow we miss our connecting interisland flight to Kona. And it is the last one of the night. Good things I brought those diapers and formula, because we have another overnight here. We don't have his travel crib, and we don't have anymore clothes, but what we do have will have to do. By the time we check-in at our airport Best Western, it is 3AM East Coast time and we are all more than ready for a night of sleep. Goodnight.

Posted by globalmomma 00:24 Archived in USA Tagged travel flight kids with hawaii airplane Comments (0)

Cause and Effect

This morning at 5:45am I heard a little voice calling, "Momma, momma". He was awake and ready to get up. I lie still and listen again to the urgency, momma, momma. I climb out of bed and over to his crib, and he is more emphatic now: MOMMA, UPPA!

I bend down and he he wants to show me something: he is touching both of his pointer fingers together in an arc. Perhaps I should not be amazed by this, but to me, it is as if he has shown me the architectural plans to the Eiffel tower. At 17 months, he has truly baffling hand-eye coordination. I can tell he's pleased by his latest discovery as well. We have been practicing baby signs with him since he was about 4 months old. At first, it was really more of an intellectual experiment for me. But when a month later, he was signing 'milk' and meaning it, I was hooked. For the first five months or so, milk was his only sign, possibly because it was really the most important word in his world. Then he began signing other words we had been learning: more, all done, bye-bye, ball, flower, thank you. It definitely helps him communicate what he sees, and what he wants. But more than that, I think it has helped develop a real awareness of his hands and different movements he can make, and enhanced his dexterity. He watched these videos called "Baby Signing Time", and he watches them intently...he just loves them. A friend recommended them to me, and I also think they have been one of the best investments in baby entertainment I could buy. I find myself humming the tune to the songs, remembering the simple signs, and actually, it is one of few baby/toddler videos I can stand to watch.

So this morning, I lift my son out of his crib and he takes off running toward the kitchen where he knows his favorite toys, duplo legos, are ready for him. Each night I set them up differently so when he wakes up, he can pull all of the pieces apart, one by one. He is in a phase of complete obsession over how things work: open, close; up, down; apart, together; in, out; off, on. There are not many traditional toys that fit this model, so he plays with the legos, but mostly his playthings are doors, levers, switches, buttons on phones & ipads, knobs on appliances. Cause and effect. Every action has a reaction. He runs around opening and then slamming doors. Opening the dishwasher, pressing all of the buttons, turning things off and on. Unscrewing his bottle or food tops, then putting the lids back on. It is funny to watch but also can be challenging when he is turning the stove knob from high to low, while you are trying to boil water. Or when he opens a food jar and it spills all over the floor. Or when he presses the little button and locks the bathroom door like he did yesterday. My husband had to take pliers to a wire and open the door again. Five minutes later, it was locked again. At least he hasn't yet figured out how to unlock the front door, because he reaches up as high as his little toes can lift him and pulls down on the handle of the front door. Outside. Luckily, there are a few handles and knobs still out of reach.

Posted by globalmomma 00:21 Archived in USA Tagged hawaii development toddler infant growth parenthood Comments (0)

Amazing Grace

Remember the previous entry wherein I described the new toddler and his free will? Well, with some trial and error, we have arrived at a compromise. And it was through the power of a song.

One night, after holding my son and rocking him close to sleep, I laid him down in his crib and he again popped right up to standing. He doesn't want to holding and rocking to end. So I decided to coax him down and began singing "Amazing Grace", which is a song that has long been a favorite of mine, even though I am not religiously affiliated. I just love the words to this song, I love the rhythm, I love the story. It is so emotionally moving, so heart-centered, so powerful. I sang him all three verses that I know, and he was lying still. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Epiphany! The song has that calming sense... Now each time I am putting him to bed when he is struggling to fall asleep, I sing him "Amazing Grace", and each time, he falls straight asleep. Again we are in a blissful routine of sleep, and it makes such a difference for my mental state, and his as well.

My favorite part of the song "Amazing Grace" is the final verse, "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun..." I love visualizing us as balls of light, shining as the sun. What will Bodhi get from that song? Is it the melody that he will remember? Another line he will love?

I found this statement on a website that I was reading about children's development from 0-2 called "Parent Further":
"Even very young children discover a spiritual perspective of the world. If parents and caregivers are warm and caring, they’ll find a wonderful world."

I believe that when babies are born, they have a much clearer sense of their spiritual nature, and also of subtle things like intuition, intention, and spiritual presence. I watch my son daily be able to discern if he wants to interact with a person or not, based on the energy they are projecting. I want to cultivate that wonder, that deep sense of knowing, that intuition. But it is difficult to communicate with a toddler about things that are unseen, and things that are intangible, since they explore the world with their senses. I wonder about what to teach my son about the universe, about God, about living and dying and truth. Perhaps it is my background in philosophy that makes me question and contemplate these issues, and also has developed within me a sense of spiritual individuality. I don't relate entirely to any religious system, yet I have believed strongly in spirituality for my entire life. How do you encourage your children to take the good things and discard the bad? How do you help them respect and understand the amazing natural world around them, the incredible gifts that they have been given, and the connection to other living things?

Posted by globalmomma 02:46 Archived in USA Tagged religion philosophy grace toddler spirituality Comments (0)

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