Flying with a toddler is exhausting. Let’s just begin with that truth. It doesn’t matter if the child is calm and perfectly behaved, or having a string of tantrums. Given the main ingredient to Kira’s sweet recipe is adequate sleep with ample time to roll in bed before greeting us, it is easy to understand when we plucked her from her slumber at five am to go to the airport she returned our favor with a bad case of the grumpalumpagus. This was only a two hour flight. We’ll be twenty four hours in route to Uganda in June. We are all going to get into good baby antics condition for distracting her before we depart for that flight. Some life events though I can’t plan, I just have to pray and jump in and make the best of what I get. That’s the only way to survive a long travel like that with a baby. The mantra that goes through my mind…she’s only two once, next time she’ll be three, it will get easier and easier.
She didn’t want much to do with the fish the boys caught though. I’m not sure she understood when we see the dolphins what we are looking at yet.
The sounds of the ocean seemed to heighten her need for caution. She screamed a high pitch wail when the waves came toward her. She would stand at a comfortable distance from the ocean and watch it, study it with an intensity of a professor. She refused to let the water touch her. When the waves came toward her she yelled at the ocean, “NO” in the same way I yell at her when she is reaching up to touch the hot stove in the kitchen.
I laughed hysterically when I realized Kira, itty bitty baby all of 35 pounds and two years old, believed with all that is in her that she could boss the ocean. Maybe she believed she succeeded because every wave that came towards her also went back out to sea. I wonder if she thinks she’s got that one under her control.
Everywhere she goes people watch her, smile deeply, stop and stare, and always tell us how adorable she is. On the first encounter no one asks about our situation. There’s a good level of respect. But when people see us over and over again, then they get the confidence to engage us in conversation and we can talk their ears off about Uganda, adoption, orphans. While she’s little I don’t mind the intrusions. But when she’s older I don’t know how it will affect her. She’s fairly bold herself, but she is easily frightened, so she’s sensitive too. If I have to be a big bad Mama Bear and keep away the unwanted comments I can do that without worry. Her heart is the one I am here to protect. I’m not here to satisfy the curiosity of strangers if it bothers her.
I think it was so interesting this trip how much the boys enjoyed themselves. Not once did I get the sense they needed entertaining or were bored. Never did anyone ask to turn on the television! They all pulled out fishing poles and occupied themselves for hours on the dock catching all sorts of saltwater fish. They adventured out on the kayaks alone into bimini bay. They especially loved hopping on the cruiser bikes grandpa and grandma rented for us and they explored the island for hours, alone. They went shopping, stopped to eat, visited the beach, watched people, got lost, and found their way back. They made arrangements to meet my mom who comes to Anna Maria island with Pete in March for a month to rent a house. They did fun things together. It was the independence, the happy people everywhere, and the simple commune with nature.
I am surprised that I slept til seven every morning. I never do that. I needed the rest. I waved goodbye to the beach and thanked it for restoring my energy, refueling my creativity, and offering me the rest from work I needed. Now, I’m ready to jump back into our life, with energy, joy, and all those sizzling ideas that keep Craig on his toes. Dangling from my ankle is a little silver charm of a manatee, my encounter with the sea cows on my kayak is something I will never forget.