Two months back, I went home to attend the wedding of a cousin. This was my first visit home since I came to the Garden City seven months ago. Also, the first time my one-year old Little One (hereafter referred to as LO) was going to get a taste of his Mom’s place – the heat, the relatives, the food – in no particular order.
Hubby and I had qualms on how LO was going to take the trip. For one thing, we were going to undertake the 530 km journey by car. To minimise any untoward incidents, we had already decided to make it an overnight trip, so that LO would be asleep for most of the journey.
The last time we made such a trip, he had fallen prey to a vicious cold and it took him almost a month to get over it. And he was just 7 months old at the time. Now that he was a sturdy 14-month old, we thought we would have things easier this time.
Little did we know that he had different plans for us this time round.
We took all kinds of precautions by carrying medicines to ward off colds, fever, stomach upset and blocked noses. I packed his formula milk, Cerelac and a small pack of his favourite Gerber Graduate Puffs (if he refused to eat everything else).
I also got a small (!) handbag filled just with his ‘things’ for the journey – two extra diapers, diaper rash cream, an extra dress, a flask with hot water, a few rags, all the medicines, and his favourite ‘cloth’.
Most kids love teddy bears or some kind of snuggly toys. Not LO – no sirree…no common toys for him. He sucks his thumb by cuddling into a piece of coloured cloth, which he cannot be parted from (when he is sleepy or wants to be comforted).
In fact, we have several such cloth pieces and every time he wears one out (which usually happens at least twice a day), we issue him a fresh one.
We also made a bed of sorts in the car backseat [In India, it is not mandatory to have child car seats, and it is perfectly acceptable to have the child on the lap.]. LO has a small blue bed on which he naps during the day, and this was fashioned into the car bed for the trip.
The sides were padded with pillows, and the end-result was that, even I felt envious of his oh-so-comfy sleeping quarters.
As a result of these detailed plans and preparations, the actual journey went off pretty well, with LO falling asleep as soon as we were half an hour into the trip.
However, the moment we reached home he was deluged by new sights, people and surroundings – none of which were to his liking. He became very clingy and wouldn’t let us set him down.
He wanted either his Dad or me to carry him around, while he assessed the area. Of course, having relatives around who wanted to hold him did not help matters one bit.
By evening, he had kind of settled down (though it was still a tussle to get him to eat something). He had discovered the joys of climbing staircases and was happily indulging in his new-found hobby every time I let my eyes droop or roam away from him.
He was no longer wary of my uncle and aunt (in whose house we were staying) and more than happy to sit around playing near them.
Then came the day of the actual wedding. We decided to go late to the function since we didn’t want LO too upset by the crowds. Yet, he still kicked up a ruckus.
He managed to cry and stay in our arms the entire time that we were at the wedding – which was around 4 hours. And for those of you who haven’t tried it, it is no fun task to be carrying around a 10 kg toddler who keeps squirming every 2 minutes and refuses to be set down or held by someone else.
And he wouldn’t eat anything either. What else do you need for a Mom to feel like the pits?
I think the source for all the trouble was because LO has never been exposed to too many people, and since many were seeing him for the first time, they all wanted to hold him and cuddle him.
With the ‘KEEP OFF MEish” nature that he has (he doesn’t even let me cuddle him when he is sleeping), the entire event must have felt like a nightmare to him.
How does one handle such a situation? Because of this one experience, we don’t dare go to any parties or events with LO. Having to carry him around the entire time would leave me with useless limbs the next day.
Have you ever had to handle a clingy toddler when at a party or at an event? What did you do to comfort your child?
This is an original World Moms Blog post from Fire Crystals in India. You can also find Fire Crystals on her personal blog, Merry Musing.
Photo credit to the author.