Kendall is my 3-year old granddaughter. After that initial thought, my next one was, what am I thinking? It won't be a vacation for me if I am chasing after a 3-year old the whole time. No sitting on the beach reading a book or anything like that. But these thoughts were fleeting and I quickly emailed my mom to see if they were okay with me bringing her. After all, it would change their vacation some too, even if I didn't plan to ask them to watch her (ultimately I did ask them to watch her, but only once for about an hour).
At the airport, Kendall is excited. She has flown before but not since she was a baby so as far as she is concerned, this is all new. She helps with her Hello Kitty suitcase I bought her especially for this trip.
Kendall getting a lesson from my dad, a.k.a Big Pop, about airplanes. She gets excited and starts jumping and shrieking "there's one, there's one" every time one takes off or lands.
Waiting to take off. She is still excited and not the least bit scared. She gets upset with me when I try to buckle her seat belt. "Grandma, I do it!"
About halfway through the flight, she abandons me in favor of my niece Ashley across the aisle. They use her Disney Princess binoculars to checkout the landscape from the plane. Kendall is fascinated at seeing everything from up here. "Look Grandma, see the cars and the buildings and the lakes? Look! A square lake!"
They also get a close-up view of each other.
Our first two days will be spent visiting my dad's family but we want to let Kendall see the beach. The restaurant we plan to eat at our first day is on the beach so we stop and let her go out for her first look.
Because we are going to eat next, I take off Kendall's dress once we get close to the water so I won't have to dig another out of her suitcase if she gets wet. She thinks this indicates that we are at the nude beach and promptly starts taking off her underwear, much to the amusement of everyone nearby.
Back in her underwear, she is quickly in love with the beach and doesn't want to leave to go eat.
Seafood is my favorite type of food. Kendall likes shrimp which is good since the plan is to eat a lot of meals at Peg Leg Pete's across the street from our condo. I order crab claws, which she has never had or seen. At first, she isn't convinced and simply hands them to Big Pop and me. Then she eats one. After that first one, she starts moving them from the basket to her plate very rapidly. The next morning when I ask her what she wants for breakfast, the answer is "crab claws".
She becomes fast friends with my cousin's daughter Melanie, who Kendall calls her "little baby".
This is partly because of a game they played the first day they met and I assume partly because she can't remember Melanie's name in the beginning. They become nearly inseparable.
This vacation requires a lot of tickling. At night while I am trying to go to sleep, I will feel an arm snake across the bed towards my face and then a whisper, "Tickle". If I am ever sitting still, I will be pressed into service.
Aside from crab claws, Kendall mainly wants candy and cookies on this trip. My mom (GiGi), buys her this tub of cotton candy which contains 56 grams of sugar per serving. There are two servings in this container. She eats them both in one sitting.
Kendall loves to go down to the water and isn't afraid as long as I am near her.
"Don't hold my floatie Grandma!"
She plays in the sand.
She collects shells (which we later store in the cotton candy container).
She flies a kite (which promptly breaks, it was a little too windy that day).
She helps with the requisite sand burials, though she never wants to be buried herself. Here Melanie is the victim as Kendall and Nathan, Melanie's older brother, do the honors.
She likes the boat we got her. She is going to use those Dora the Explorer paddles (that came with a ball that is quickly lost) to row her boat. She never actually rows but she won't go out without her "oars".
One things she does not like is the wave runner. If I go over 6 mph she is yelling, "Too fast Grandma!" Over 10 mph produces some tears so we go back down to around 6. We get done here in the nick of time, you can see the storm coming behind us.
At night, she plays, organizing her shells when Melanie isn't available.
When it rains she makes use of the stickers my aunt bought her. Most of the time, Kendall is happy and good.
Most of the time. She is 3 after all. We have three major meltdowns and a few minor skirmishes. This one comes on the last day when we are waiting to go to the airport. She is ready to go home to her mommy. Possibly because I won't let her have an ice cream cone after just returning from breakfast.
At the airport, I let her run off the cookie she is eating here. We go up and down the escalator about a dozen times too.
All part of my master plan.
In the end, it was as I suspected, both wonderful and hard. She threw fits and wet our shared bed almost every night. We had a lot of fun and she said some really funny things too, here are my favorites:
I am keeping an eye on my grandma...see? I have one eye closed.
That makes my heart so happy! (When Melanie shared a turkey cube from her Lunchable.)
Grandma, I feel happy...Look! I have bones!
I don't like vegetables so you can eat my vegetables Grandma.
Thank you for catching my head when I felled down the stairs Grandma.
Gigi: Where are you Kendall? (While we are riding the Ferris Wheel.) Kendall: I'm right here!
Good thing we aren't at the beach because I have the hiccups. (I have her convinced that if she gets the hiccups at the beach, sharks will come. It's wrong, I know. But she is just as convinced that the spider growing in her tummy will come out and eat the sharks if needed.)
The best thing she said?
"Grandma, Grandma, listen to me...I'm gonna miss you."