Road Trips with a two-year old

I haven’t been near my computer in over a week for two reasons. 1) My power cord died and I couldn’t find a new one here for a while (but I ended up getting one given to me for free! Score!) and 2) we took a road trip and were away for a few days. Overall the road trip was fun but it was also very tiring. We drove 8 hours there (it’s only 500 km but because of the roads, frequent 50 zones with speed bumps and police stops it takes a good 8 hours) to visit a friend. We were there for 3 nights, 2 days and then drove the 8 hour trip back to Dar es Salaam. But it wasn’t just the driving, see we of course, took along our little guy (he’s approaching two and a half). This isn’t unusual for us – we take him everywhere. He was a world-traveler at 6 weeks when we took him to Kenya from Canada to visit family. He is literally two weeks old in his passport picture. And truthfully he’s always been quite a good traveler, even as a baby. Maybe he just got used to it. And for the actual driving part he maintained his good reputation on this trip, but then something crazy happened. Somewhere between when we left and the next morning after we’d arrived, someone took my beautiful, easy-going, happy toddler and replaced him with a crying, screaming, temper-tantrum throwing, terrible TWO-YEAR old. I don’t know whether it was the traveling, lack of sleep or his cold (which is the NEVER ending cold – he’s had it for weeks now) – but he was definitely not himself.

Everything was the end of the world our first day there. He dropped his truck. Tears, screaming, throwing himself on the floor (slightly dramatic I think for a dropped toy – but I KNOW – he’s two). And he decided he didn’t want to walk anywhere ALL DAY. Now you have to understand carrying him for a little bit wouldn’t be that bad except he’s not a dainty little kid. He’s HUGE. He’s easily the size of many three-year olds. He’s heavy! You try carrying around (not piggy-bagging mind you, no no, he didn’t want that) a 33-ish lb toddler on a two-hour walk around town! Not fun. (I must admit my husband did most of the carrying, he’s stronger and also has more patience than me which was a good thing that day).

Ugh. Just thinking about that day is exhausting. But we made it through, managed to keep him up all day and he konked out early that evening and had a good 12 hour sleep. Consequently he was much happier our second day there. We also borrowed a carrier thing (I don’t know the technical term – see photo below) the next day which made our hike/walk MUCH easier. I thought we would have trouble getting him to stay in it without complaining, but he seemed to like being carried around – what a life! I wish someone would carry me around in something like that.

Trip to Iringa June 2013 106

Anyways, with the crazy grumpy-ness of day one behind us, day two was great! We went on a couple hikes in different places around Iringa and it was beautiful. A nice change of scenery from the sand, crowds and craziness of Dar. We also had a great visit with our friend who is teaching there. (So thankful she put up with Ez’s screaming for the better part of day 1 – although it’s not like she had much of a choice).

Trip to Iringa June 2013 247
Just to prove I carried him for a while!

Trip to Iringa June 2013 118
Beautiful view from the top of where we hiked to just outside Iringa Town.

All I know is this road trip has made me very apprehensive about our upcoming trip to Nairobi to visit my husband’s family. We are going to drive (flying is ridiculously expensive) and it’s not 8 hours but 14-15 to get there! All I can do is pray, drug him with gravol and hope for the best! Hopefully his cold will be gone by then at least!

So why do I do this? Why do I take my two-year old on crazy long road trips? There are several reasons really…

1. I have no money. (Flying is usually not an option, too expensive)
2. Leaving him behind, while tempting is not really an option either.
3. Just because I have a kid doesn’t mean I can now never go anywhere ever (and if it does, I just refuse to accept that!)
4. I feel like in the end it will be good for him to travel, to have different experiences, even as a little kid – to see new places, meet new people (hopefully I don’t lose my sanity in the process).
5. Traveling is just kind of built into our lives. My husband is from Kenya, I’m from Canada, we live in Tanzania. No way to escape it!

So I just needed to vent, but the traveling will continue. It’s just the way our lives are and most of the time I love it! And I suppose he’s been so good with the traveling all of his life, he’s about due for a bad trip.

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