Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Baby + Toddler Thanksgiving Survival

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! The past holiday weekend included a few milestones, including our first flight as a family of four. Happily, Lil' Chica did well and nursed or slept much of the four total flights we took to get from San Diego to Ohio and back. Traveling and the holiday with baby AND toddler was significantly more challenging, though, than when we simply (ha!) traveled with Lil' O as a baby. Oh, in hindsight, those were the days. Admittedly, the kiddos were angelic on the airplanes. In the case of Lil' O, this was mostly thanks to copious screen time, something that we limit at home, but that he constantly asks, begs and bargains for. Keeping him wrangled and with us in between flights was the challenge. He wanted to run and we tried to encourage that, but he also wanted to run AWAY. That was less than angelic. How do parents with three or more kids travel?!

Aside from chasing our toddler, though, the holiday weekend went quite smoothly. So smoothly that it must be commemorated. Here's what helped us get through the holiday and even enjoy the company of family.

Key ingredients for a successful Thanksgiving with baby plus toddler
  • Husby on toddler duty for tag-team parenting. Bless that man. Given the nature of nursing, I have been, and continued through the holiday, primarily watching Lil' Chica. I'd sneak in some quality time with Lil' O while Lil' Chica was napping and connect with family in any quiet moment available, but the bulk of toddler watch was with Husby.
  • Baby wrap for on-the-go napping. Because Lil' Chica of course needed a nap right in the middle of the Thanksgiving feast. Not to worry. I wrapped her up in my handy Baby K'tan wrap and walked around. She was oblivious to the masses of family feasting and slept through it all, allowing me to monitor Lil' O's Thanksgiving eating and enjoy my own meal. Thankful indeed.
  • Quiet corners for nursing, photos and toddler escape. All kinds of new things to see and family gushing over Lil' Chica left her a bit overwhelmed. So, escaping to a quiet corner to nurse was critical. Quiet corners also gave us some of our best photos from the trip and allowed Lil' O, our little introvert, to refocus and keep from being overwhelmed himself. It was telling when Husby gave him a timeout that turned into a moment of escape from which Lil' O didn't want to return. Oh, my sweet boy.
  • New toys and books for toddler diversions. We are so blessed that Husby's mom, Meema, taught preschool for many years and has a wealth of toys and books that are perfect for Lil' O. He loved escaping to the basement and playing or being read to. We brought some toys and such for him, but he was much more interested in "his" toys and books down in the basement.
  • Family cook(s) for Turkey Day feast and overall meal prep. Husby has taken on nearly all of the dinnertime cooking at home since our schedule has Marion nursing during meal prep so we can all be together for dinner. But, with Husby's family, G'pa cooks. And, he cooks marvelously! We barely had to think about food the whole trip, including the grand Thanksgiving feast. What a blessing! Funny how everything goes so much more smoothly when we're all fed. ;)
Now, for some picture evidence of our wild adventures, Lil' Chica's first Thanksgiving and airplane ride, and treasured time with our Ohio family.

Excited to be watching his favorite movie, Cars, on the plane.
My littlest turkey.
Ready to eat turkey (bread)!
Bundling up for a little football with Daddy.

Thanksgiving day selfie with Lil' Chica!
The whole Ohio fam!

I'm sure there's more that can help with the holidays. Any tips for juggling two, especially as we approach Christmas? I do so love this time of year. Even when it requires extra effort or invites stress, it is wonderful to celebrate the joy of Advent and Jesus' birth. But, truly, survival tips welcome!!

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