Life before take-off

One of Charlie’s happy places is on top of the dryer. I suppose it probably isn’t great parenting to leave your baby lying in the bathroom on top of a large appliance in order to write a blog post. But if it makes her happy…

We’re leaving in just over two weeks. The apartment is a catastrophe. I need to pack up everything we’re leaving here, and also figure out what the heck to take with us for four months in South Africa. Charlie — at three months — is already getting into 9-month baby clothes. So I guess I have to pack clothes for her up to 18-months? How exactly did I end up with a Hulk of a baby?

April is a princess. Every single morning she wakes up, puts on her magenta party shoes, and decides which princess dress to wear that day. When introducing her to people, she’ll say “I’m not April, I’m Aurora,” or Cinderella, or whichever princess is the choice of the moment.

Yesterday morning she insisted on putting on a particular dress. I’m lying in bed with Charlie when she starts wailing at Josh because he can’t find it. So I get up and show her the options. Looking in the closet, she spots the party dress from my mum’s 60th birthday party. It’s adorable — white with big pink and black circles and a poofy skirt. She wore it when she was two.

“That’s not going to fit you, my love. It’s for babies,” I told her.

“But I want to wear it.”

I pull it off the hanger to show her.

“I’ll show you, it’s too small.”

I have to eat my words. I slip it on over her pyjamas. It fits her torso perfectly.

“Okay, you can wear it here, but not at daycare.”

“Okay mum.”

Five minutes later, I’m in the living room. She walks in with a big sneaky smile on her face. I sigh and lead her by the hand to her father. He takes one look at her and cracks up.

“Come here,” I say, grabbing my camera.

After shooting this picture, I look at her in the eyes.

“April, you’re not allowed to touch my makeup. And you look like a clown.”

“I don’t look like a clown,” she whines. “I look beautiful!”

April's lipstick fiasco

So this is life right now. Catering to the demands of a princess and a little baby Hulk while trying to pack up our lives for the trip. I’m still stumped as to what and how much to pack. While I would go the option of packing less than we need and buying new clothes when the kids grow out of theirs, I know that I would end up spending far more money on new clothes in South Africa than I would on the thrift store garb I would go for here. (In S.A. all of the hand-me-down clothes understandably get donated, so thrifty moms like me don’t stand a chance.)

I tried to search online for a packing list for kids for long trips, but haven’t been able to find one. I guess there aren’t all that many crazy parents out there taking their infants and small children on epic adventures.

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