D and I both feel that this is the best family vacation we've had so far. Both Sky and Fire are able to sleep at night, they're having fewer breakdowns, and enjoying the activities we do together more. I think part of our success this time comes from a few things: Sky has done this before, we're moving around less and when we move, we take our "home" with us or stay someplace familiar, and D and I are both calmer and happier on this vacation than we've ever been.
Sky has anxiety about travel and change, I think a bit more than other kids her age. She is attached to her places and routines and doesn't quickly establish new ones. She has more frequent breakdowns and behaves badly for attention more often when we travel. I think the fact that she's getting a little older and remembers traveling to America before is helping on this trip. Sky remembers riding in car seats and staying at the prairie home. Having those memories helps her know what to expect which makes her better able to deal with things.
We've written before about our struggles traveling with small children and staying in a series of hotels. At least for our family, it doesn't ever seem to work out. We have the easiest times when we go to only a few places and stay in those places for an extended period of time. It also helps if the places we stay in are home-like and let us replicate the rituals we do at home. This time, we stayed in an extended stay hotel in Wichita for three nights and then moved to the prairie home. From the prairie home (where they are most happy staying when we're in America), we moved into the travel trailer, our "house on wheels". We had the trailer for almost two weeks and actually ended up extending our time in it because it was going so well. Even though we moved from place to place every three or four days, the place we stayed the same. The kids knew what to expect every night and having that familiarity made it easier for them to roll with the new things that happened every day.
Last but not least, D and I were more of a team, and happy team, than we have been on any vacation before. Part of that is the fact that America is familiar to us. There's no stress in navigating it for us since we grew up here, and that makes it easier for us to overcome any challenges. I think our place in our lives and our marriage had something to do with it as well. We worked through a lot of things last year while we were waiting and we're in a very good place together. We're able to forgive each other much more easily than we have been in the past and we're better at recognizing each other skills and assigning tasks accordingly. Those things combined make us a great team. The kids feed off our attitudes and when we seem at peace and in controls, it frees them to enjoy themselves more.
I'm so happy that things are going as well as they are and I hope we can keep it up. I think this time together has been good for all of and I'm excited to tackle the rest of our trip as a family.