Catching up with Jr; part 2 The Euro Tour or Jr. Storms Europe

Jr is currently travelling through Europe. He is suffering from jet lag. A couple of days ago in Germany at 10 am he was still lying in bed snoring away. The night before while mom and dad tried to sleep, Jr sat on the edge of the bed babbling away. Three year olds by no fault of their own don’t understand time zones.

Another night at 1:30 am (7:30 pm home time) he was on the floor in 3 year old push up position. When I asked him what he was doing he told me that he was exercising to keep his body “healthy!”

This exercising thing is really taking off. Currently we are in Spain. This morning at breakfast I asked him to get off the floor. He said, “No,” then stood up and stretched his hands way up in the air and told me he was, “exercising!” He proceeded to do some deep knee bends followed by some big arms circles.

Two days ago we travelled by train covering a distance that would have taken us at least three hours by car (not counting possible time being lost) in just over an hour. Train travel in Europe is great but if you are in a country not of your native tongue don’t expect a lot of help or pleasant service from the ticket agents. There are sour people everywhere I guess.

When I am travelling in a foreign land I find it smart to try and live a little bit as a local would. The first day in a new area I try and find a grocery counter where I can make a small transaction like buying some bottled water and a little fruit. This helps to ingratiate me to the area. Buying some fruits or vegetables helps stabilize my diet. One of the first things that often disappears from your diet when you travel are these micronutrient foods. Find something you like that is in season first and then branch out as you become more experienced with the local cuisine. For instance in Shanghai I bought some lychee fruit initially then when I grew bolder later I bought some meat from a street vendor. Here in Spain the oranges seem abundant and fresh so I’ve been chowing down on a fruit treat that seems less and less available in season and quality where we live. This one little thing helps to overcome fear of a strange new place, teaches me a little about how local commerce is done and also allocates me some supplies. Plus you’ll save money buying groceries and eating from street vendors instead of in restaurants all of the time. Slowly as I learn the lay of the area I will enlarge my circles and scopes of terrain as my comfort grows with the area. When travelling with Jr finding a park, play ground or play area is high on the priority list also. Three year olds also have no concept of the significance of historic sites. Dragging them constantly to and fro is hardly fair. Finding a balance of fun kid stuff, warm family moments and interesting adult stuff helps make for a far more enjoyable vacation for everyone.

Jr is at stage where he gifts us some of the most adorable moments.

He says, “OTAY,” instead of okay just like Buckwheat from The Little Rascals.

When you ask him a question as a failsafe he usually replies with, “no,” first. Then he thinks about the question and will often change his answer to “yes” if he was offered something in his favor such as a bike ride or a cookie!

The other day he asked me to make a heart with him. “Heart me dad,” he asked. I thought he meant make a heart for him so I patted my heart and then pointed at his. “No,” he said as he shook his head. “Make a heart {with me}.” He then made hand gestures implying that I do it with my hands.

“Oh,” I thought and I made a heart shape with my hands.

Still he shook his head. He grabbed my hand and joined it with his. Now I got it! Together we made a heart shape with one of his hands and one of mine. Is there anything sweeter than that?

He thinks potty humor is funny. He routinely will add “poop” into any conversation. “Poop,” and “poopy” seem to be the “butt” of his sense of humor. Every spoken “poop,” is followed by many giggles.

The other day he asked a couple of his mom’s lady peers from work if they had wee wees like his daddy and he has?!?!

He likes whales. Not just any whales though. He likes Humpback whales.

When he says yellow it comes out like “jello.”

Stop is, “BOP!”

At home much of our living room is taken up by a giant cardboard rocket ship that Jr painted himself. Maybe that inspires Jr to the stars, I don’t know? What it does encourage is lots of painting, coloring and creative play. It also inspires mom and dad to wish for more room.

Jr has a stunning (I mean STUNNING) amount of energy. He can go and go and go.

Mrs. Daddio has travelled quite a bit for work the past couple of years.  When she is gone Jr’s verve can wear dad out. Last time she was away some of his activities included playing in the mud and ice after school (I guess that’s my fault for being the permissive one), keeping me up until odd hours of the night and snow days and sleigh rides with dad pulling.

One day he discovered his testicles in the tub! He told me there was two of them! He was quite scared by them, thinking something was wrong! When I explained to him that it was okay and that I also had a pair he felt much relieved. The next time he was in the tub he felt a lot better. When he asked to see mine though, shy dad felt a little uncomfortable!

He will often join you in the potty. There is no private time in our house anymore. When you are about half way through he will insist that he also has to go and that it is an emergency!

Still he is very sweet. When mom was away last the time span included Valentine’s Day. He was very excited to receive Valentine’s from his teachers (really they were from his peers but the teachers handed them out). He was also sad for me because I didn’t get any. He thus shared his with me.

At school they have circle time. He goes to a Spanish Emersion Montessori preschool and of course his teachers there are Hispanic. When we flew to Spain a couple of days ago the stewardesses on the plane were also of Hispanic descent. He was excited to see them and exclaimed pointing, “Teachers!”

The other day on our walk around Zaragoza the Spanish city we are in we came across a park where of course we had some play time. At the park some moms were having circle time with their young ones singing and playing. Wouldn’t you know it Jr went right up and asked to join with sad puppy dog eyes. The nice ladies welcomed him to their group and Jr wasn’t any the wiser.

In Germany he went with me to visit with my cousin and her family including her daughter (so his second and third cousins). He was very excited and when we were a bit lost he was sad because he couldn’t find his family. When we did find their flat finally and he got to meet them for the first time I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happier. He loves all of his family; parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents (of course) and pseudo aunts and uncles and friends alike.

When mom was away recently he insisted that we made sure we had a “birthday cake” and flowers to greet her with upon her return. The day before mom arrived home we franticly cleaned the house and then went out to get her some nice things to make her meals with over her return home weekend. When we arrived home until we picked her up at the airport Jr would not eat any of the nice things we had gotten for mom, not even the cake or sweet goods. He was on a hunger strike!

I don’t go away as often as my lovely bride the beautiful, “Mother of Jr” but occasionally I do go away for a weekend for work or an activity. When I went away to run my birthday marathon (yes I know crazy way to celebrate) a couple of weeks ago Jr did something sweet and unexpected that he also does when his mom is away. He insisted on having a picture with dad in it, present at the dinner table! Yes my heart breaks too and when I returned home only two days later I swear he had grown exponentially..

Miss a day, miss a lot.

Peace and love all.



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