Traveling in Prague during Thanksgiving week with our growing toddler

While this is our second year spending Thanksgiving week in Europe with a tiny human in tow, it’s quite a different travel experience this time around with Pookster vs. last year. For one, she’s no longer drinking breast milk/formula, which also means we’re no longer rushing back to the hotel at specific times of the day for me to pump. She’s fully mobile and running around everywhere, so she doesn’t need to either be in our arms or pushed in the stroller. She wants all the delicious food we’re eating, especially the carbs, sweets, and pastries (we’re still trying our best to withhold most sweets from her). She’s also talking and singing up a storm, constantly taking in the sounds and sights and pointing out all her keen observations (she happily identifies colors, shapes, and animals, as well as objects she likes, such as trees, lights, etc.). When we went to a kitschy tap room called U Kunstatu, she not only wanted to run all over the place and push the chairs around, but she also took it upon herself to create her own entertainment by singing, chanting, and using the cardboard coasters as “instruments” of sorts. When we walked through a fun neighborhood in Prague of interesting shops and restaurants, she insisted we stop so that she could indulge in running through and throwing the large, goldenrod-hued autumn leaves that had fallen. Pookster was also eager to run around a large playground we came across and play on the different bouncy structures. She’s a lot more engaged with her surroundings now and taking it all in, whereas last year, she probably had no freaking idea where we were or what we were doing there.

There’s no sugar coating it: it can be very difficult to travel with a toddler. I don’t think anyone is debating that point. But what is so rewarding about it, once you have gotten through the tantrums and the kicking and the “acting out” at inopportune moments, is being able to watch toddlers their new, different surroundings and really embrace it all. I’ve loved watching her giggle in glee at something new she sees, or getting excited by all the Christmas lights. It’s also been fun to watch her try different foods that she hasn’t yet been exposed to. But the simplest things I’ve enjoyed are just watching her walk down a cobbled street holding hands with her Daddy, looking at all the things happening around her in wonderment. Those little sweet moments make all the tantrums and getting slowed down by diaper changes and blowouts worth it. These are the moments when she discovers the little things that make up life — and in the process, we are watching her grow.

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