It's exhausting and frustrating at times.
If I end with that 2 lines above, I think it's intimidating enough, right? Don't worry. I'll elaborate more.
I think the main reasons why this trip to Japan was so much more challenging than our 2 previous local trips to Kelantan and Langkawi are as follow:
1. She's more demanding now.
She demands to be carried ALL. THE. TIME. instead of going into the stroller, which she has never find fondness in it before.
And since she's bigger now, she's also heavier in weight. As much as I love to carry her around in a carrier, I couldn't. I would if I could, really. But after doing it for 2 days in a roll, several hours straight a day, I hurt my back. I couldn't walk or stand up straight after the second day so I had no choice but to strap her to the stroller, no matter how she cried bloody murder.
2. She's/ wants to be more mobile now.
It was sooooooooooooooooo easy to bring her around before she could walk. All I need to do was to just strap her in the carrier and go. She loves it in there. And I think she still does.
Why not just let her roam around herself since she's a walking toddler? One might ask.
Sure. She would LOVE to, too! And if I could put them in position, she would prefer to walk around herself than to be carried.
And trust me, it is so much more easier if she could walk on her on. BUT! She doesn't like to hold on to our hands.
The thing is, her parents (read: the husband and I) aren't that willing to chase her around a crowded touristy place. And when she roams around herself, she would spend most of the time back and forth at one spot she finds interesting, which is fine when we need a break from walking cause I do think that she needs to release her energy, too. But when we need to leave to get to the next destination, say, 10 minutes later, that's my least favorite part, as she will start to twist and spin like a struggling crocodile when we try to take her away. The energy consumption within that 3 minutes just trying to stop her from struggling and strap her back into the stroller is equivalent to 2 hours of
3. She wants to be in control.
She wants to push the stroller instead of going in the stroller.
She wants to hold the utensils and feed (read: soil) herself.
She wants to press the elevator's button herself.
She wants to hold the umbrella 2 times her size herself.
She wants to walk on her own in a crowded place without holding our hands.
She wants to walk up and down the stairs herself and repeat 1000 times.
People might say that she's stepping into her terrible-two phase, hence all the melt-downs and tantrums when she can't get things done her way. But if you understand what terrible-two is and why it happens, you should be more forgiving and try your very best to help her overcome that.
To sum-up what "terrible-two" is, it's actually a normal stage in which toddlers begin to struggle between their reliance on adults and their desire for independence. One minute your child might be clinging to you, and the next he or she is running in the opposite direction.
So during the trip, we struggled many times to calm down tantrums and melt downs. And because her speech development is not that advanced as compared to some of her peers, it's really hard for her to understand why we can't allow her to do things she wanna do no matter how hard we try to explain to her. The only way to stop her is to distract her. Most of the time, with food.
So if given a chance, will I do it again?
Yes. I would.
It's an experience and an opportunity to learn about myself, of how much I'm capable as a parent. And from this trip, I know that it's a long way to go for me to do better in parenting. There're times when my tiredness and emotional got hold of me and I let my frustration out on a little human being who is not as comprehensive as an adult. Yet after all the scolding and shouting, she'd still smile back after awhile and plant kisses all over my face willingly and generously. And then my guilt level just shoot sky-high 💔
There are also a lot of happy moments, regardless.
I hope this post doesn't discourage you to travel with a toddler. But more like a head's up of what might happen. It is normal, after all, for a toddler to behave like one - curious and adventurous. It will be tiring, but it's the experience that will imprint in your memory forever.