Lately we have been talking a lot about the terrible twos since this life phase has been front and center in our daily lives. First I wrote – Terrible twos times two – where we introduced the struggles and then Lisa wrote – Staying Calm and Low Stress – Ya Right – which looks at the emotional impact of dealing with constant breakdowns with toddlers and how we are trying to get through this. Our daily lives have been disrupted by these meltdowns and wild emotional swings but I really got worried when the end of the day conversation turned to altering the most sacred activity in this household…travel.
If I were to stop dreaming about travel you might as well shut down my mind altogether. Since we are setting up our balanced family home life our travel thoughts have been focussed on short trips from home but they still involve time spent in cars, missing the odd nap, and sleeping in tents. When we first had kids, and especially when the twins were born, I always got riled up when people said that my travelling days were ended and you will not want to take your kids on trips. For the first time since having kids we are starting to understand the temptation to just stay home.
In each of the last two weekends we have done a day trip to test our patience with travel and to see if we can get the kids accustomed to a routine different than the one at home. Both days involved about an hour of driving each way, some walking and outdoor activity, and a shortened nap (or missed altogether). Each day went pretty much the same as the other. Kids were fussy in the morning and were hard to get ready, they were good in the car on the way there, they had a great time while were out, had an OK trip home, and then all hell broke loose.
The kids were tired. When we are away from home they do not get as good of sleep. Sleeping in the car is sporadic and it cannot duplicate a nap at home. Even if they are napping at friends or at the Grandparents house the kids will not be as rested as they are at home. Tired kids mean we are more likely to get these unexplained breakdowns from our twins which is what we found when we came home each day. That being said there were not any tantrums while we were out and the days we stay at home we are unlikely to make it through without at least one incident. When we are out doing fun things the kids are happy and will have a lot of fun. When we get home doing mundane tasks the kids will start to fight for attention again. How will this translate to overnight trips away from home? Our fear is to be at a campground at the end of the day with three overtired kids who are fighting with all their might to get what they want when they have no clue to what they want in the first place. I do not want to be banned from and campgrounds.
So here is our dilemma. Do we travel this summer and have some of the best days as a family and risk having some uncontrollable moments in some public venues, or do we stay at home doing small part day outings and face these uncontrollable moments in the comfort of our home with at least the possibility of a good night’s sleep? We have made our decision and it comes with a warning. If you are planning on camping in B.C. this year you may want to avoid family campgrounds because the Pedersen terrible twos summer tour may be in town. At least we will start with one overnight trip and see how it goes from there.