Holiday thoughts

We took a holiday.

It was wonderful.

We (mostly) had great Autumn weather. Cool crisp mornings, followed by sunny days. My very favourite kind of weather.

Campground Papa and The Campground Kid and Lake Taupo

We saw lovely people in lovely places.

In our ten days, we stayed in five wonderful spots. We spent time with all of The Campground Kid’s grandparents, plus two of her second cousins, two of her first cousins once removed, and one of her second cousins once removed.

Our family and our favourite country were the killer combination that brought us home, and this holiday was all about them.

Family time on the Napier Waterfront

It was lovely.

But it was also hard.

It was hard to say goodbye again to people and places after such short visits. The goodbyes and the things we missed out on made it hard to keep the doubts from creeping in. Would we be happier somewhere different? Could we be doing something different? Should we be different?

It was logistically difficult too. Lots of driving, different food, different beds, different routines. They’re hard on us, and they’re even harder on The Campground Kid.

She coped remarkably. And seeing her outside her routine highlighted just how much she has grown and changed since we arrived in New Zealand seven months ago.  I’m pretty sure I’m biased, but I’m also pretty sure that she’s an amazing kid.

Windy walks on the Wellington Waterfront

It was a special time.

But it’s also quite a relief to be back.  Back home, back to work, back to our routines.

This morning, our first day back, we were a bit tired (thanks to a wild bedtime last night and a cold for Campground Papa), but we were actually happy to get back to work. And The Campground Kid was very happy to get back to her daycare.

We were even happier when work was quiet enough that we could have plenty of coffee breaks and fit in some unpacking and some laundry.

And, despite the doubts, I can’t help but think that a life we’re happy to be back to is a pretty good life.

Our Big Campground Kid

Today The Campground Kid told me she was “a big little puffling” (that’s a baby Puffin, by the way; she may or may not be totally obsessed with Puffin Rock on Netflix. But of all the kids’ shows to be obsessed with, it’s probably the best (in my opinion), so we just roll with it and answer to Mama and Papa Puffin and pretend to put fish in our bills and swim and fly.) A big little puffling, if you weren’t aware, is “not much big, but not much little either. And one day I’ll grow much much MUCH taller, but now I’m just a little bit big and a little bit little.” She’s not the clearest at making her point (yet), but she’s totally right.

Two and a half (plus a little bit) is such an in between age. She’s just dropping her naps. She’s using full and complex sentences. She’s growing taller and her feet are huge. She’s almost entirely lost her baby chub and is getting longer and leaner. She’s vaguely contemplating toilet training. She’s starting to learn the ins and outs of social interactions. She talks to strangers (sometimes). She’s clever, and getting cleverer every day.

But at the same time, she’s such a baby still. She loses her mind when she’s hungry or overtired and is impossible to understand. She definitely definitely hasn’t got emotional regulation figured out (then again, there are quite a number of adults who haven’t either!) She is still so needy. She throws tantrums. She needs so much help to exist in the world. These may sound negative all in a list like this, but I don’t intend them to be so. They are totally and absolutely normal for a two year old, and I recognise and appreciate that. I only mention these things because I find it such an interesting age. It’s not always an easy age, but it’s definitely one of my favourite ages so far. 

And for a description of one of my favourite ages, and of my very favourite kid, I thought I’d share a few of her favourite things:

  • Puffin Rock. As mentioned earlier, Puffin Rock has 100% taken over from Peppa Pig as #1 favourite show. I’m not at all sad about this. I quite enjoy Peppa Pig, but Puffin Rock is just lovely. 
  • Helping in the office and the laundry. She’s not always helpful (today she tipped a box of labels out all over the office and poured pepper out all over the floor in the laundry), but she’s pretty good at getting paper from the printer and stamping and pressing the green button on the EFTPOS machine and passing keys and milk to people and other such important jobs.
  • Books. If there’s one thing she could never give up, it’s books. She goes for the “read one book over and over again” system, which can get tiresome, but I love how much she enjoys stories.
  • Her baby doll, usually called Baby, sometimes called Baba Boo. She goes through phases in her play, but at the moment she’s very much in a baby phase. My personal favourite is her tendency to ask “Baby want to see your room, Mama. Would that be okay?” Her favourite is probably taking Baby for a swim.
  • Macaroni Cheese. She eats quite well, in general, but she will scoff down cheesy pasta like there’s no tomorrow!
  • Birthdays. She brings me birthday gifts (usually stones or daisies) most days, she reads a Birthday Cake baking book over and over, she talks about her birthday party “in July”, and she loves to pick birthday presents. 
  • Jumping. She jumps when she’s excited. She jumps on the trampoline. She jumps off the couch arm onto bean bags. She jumps onto us and off us again. She jumps down stairs and around the garden and everywhere.

This list is not exhaustive, and changes all the time. But, for now, it’s a pretty good little summary of what she’s like. She’s amazing, as all kids are amazing. But she’s our kid, so to us, she’s the most amazing! Thanks for indulging my parental pride!