Mr O does America (Part 2). 

It’s crazy how a little person can have such an effect on so many big people. We are adults, grown ups, mature and seasoned, yet a little one says your name or reaches out to touch your face and you melt into a million pieces in front of them.  
This is what I have seen over and over as I watch Oliver with all of the friends and family that he has met during this trip. 

He’s always been a watcher, he takes it all in and slowly he warms up and eases himself into a situation. And it’s the same with people. He sits and watches them, listens to them talk and follows the way they move, and over time he edges closer to them, answers a question, or reaches out a hand. And then they are hooked. 

He is who people gravitate towards when they enter the room, he’s the centre even if he’s still and silent. And that’s the amazing thing about children, they bring adults together. They make us stop; to listen, to feel, to appreciate the small things. 

Everyone who has met him this trip now understands the importance of a good stick and a patch of dirt to dig. They see the paint on the road and the lights that are shaped like balloons. Sounds are louder than they ever were and there’s a digger everywhere if you’d only open your eyes and look. 

The love that has been thrown at this child over the last two weeks is impossible to describe. We are lucky, lucky, lucky to be surrounded by such a phenomenal circle of people all over this amazing world. But the problem with this world is that it is expansive, and no one has come up with a teleportation device yet. We had to say goodbye to the ones we love at home so that we could be with the ones we love across the sea. And now we have to say goodbye to them, so that we can make our way home again. It’s unfair and heartbreaking that Oliver can’t be surrounded by all of these people all of the time. I just so hope that some of the love he has soaked up over here will come home with him in a memory. 

We have traveled through Ames, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois and we are now in Denver, Colorado, on our way to Boulder to get into the hills. And this time we have left all family behind and it’s just us. 

Thank you to everyone who has loved our boy, thank you for helping him grow into a world that is kind and warm and so incredibly full of love. 

He will be two years old tomorrow. Thank you for fuelling us on love for the last two years. We are so lucky. 

Mr O does America (Part 1).

Everyone told me “he will sleep”, it’s 12 hours, he won’t be able to stay awake the whole time. Hahahahahahahaaaaaaa. Good one. 
You’re right, he did sleep, by the time I got him properly asleep enough to be placed in the bassinet and stay asleep it felt like literally seconds later that every single light was turned on again as it was “morning” time in aeroplane world. 

One thing I can say about traveling with a toddler, they can and will charm everyone. So as tired, jet-lagged and frustrated as you are, your kid will make everyone melt a little and everything in the world will seem okay again. 

It took us over 24 hours to properly get into the ‘holiday’ zone. Houston was a good idea in that it allowed us to sleep horizontally, swim in the pool and just catch up a little bit, but it wasn’t part of the fun. 

The fun has begun now. New Orleans you beauty!! If you haven’t been, then add it to your bucket list people! It’s like carnival 365 days a year here, the streets are packed with people, tourists and locals alike. The attire; I don’t even know how to describe it, think up an outfit and you’ll see it out on the street here. Feathers and sequins, face paint and masks, dresses, top hats, activewear, togs, tuxedos. All of it and no one blinks an eye. You could grab a drink and sit for hours just people watching. But why sit when you can grab a drink and wander up the street with it. The French Quarter of New Orleans has some of the most relaxed drinking laws you will come across, as in, you can get your cocktail-to-go and just go! Obviously this is from a predominantly observant perspective due to the fact that we are traveling with a two year old and from 1900 hours we are in bed…BUT if being outside in the evening air as the sun sets with your pickled Bloody Mary sounds like you, then this is the place to come (if you come could you bring a babysitter so that maybe we could come out too?).

Mr O has walked steps (a lot of steps!) along the big old Mississippi River, it’s wide and murky and moves swiftly past with barges and steamboats all day long. He has eaten his hot chippies (more calories pleeease!) while waving his hands to the rhythm of the jazz band in the evening hustle and he’s slurped pho through a straw down an alley while trying to (gently) pat an artists dog as it wandered looking for leftovers (and attempting to ‘help’ sell art). 

We are learning the pace at which he travels best, and the ways to manage things when he starts to get tired. Freedom is key. Freedom to walk, to climb, to touch things and move without confinement and rules. It’s not manageable all of the time, but the more we can allow him to guide the trip the happier we all will be. 

I’m going to sign off with three things we have learnt, partly so that we can look back and remember, and partly so that you can learn it too.

1. All people are buried above ground in New Orleans, their cemeteries are beautiful and tall, due to the fact that the majority of the city is below sea level, no one wants their loved ones in the wet mud, which is fair enough! 

2. If you want a beignet from Cafe Du Monde, you better get up at the crack of dawn to get in that line (lesson for tomorrow morning…).

3. Travel ratio= two adults:one toddler. Help is the BEST. Don’t let me forget this okay?