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The Three-Year-Old’s Guide to Hawaii

Recently our family vacationed in Maui and our 3-year-old daughter could not have been more excited beforehand. (That’s actually quite an understatement because it was all she talked about.) All she knew going into it was that there was a beach and hula girls and that we might see turtles, and that was more than enough. Pretty much every day she would ask us if we were “going to Hawaii today?!” In preparation, she wanted to try on her “Hawaii clothes” (i.e. swimsuits, sundresses, floppy hats, and sandals) daily. She would ask to “play Hawaii” and request that everyone in the family don their swimsuits and towels (and sunglasses!) and lay out like we were on the beach.

Her eager enthusiasm was contagious and as such, I thought it would be fun to have her document some of the vacation herself. Not only would it be a good way to begin introducing her to what I do as a writer (she only knows I “write stories” and that I have to take photos often so that my stories have pictures), but it would also be a fun way for us to see the vacation through her eyes and to see what things stood out as being memorable for her little 3-year-old self.

And so, before we left for our trip, I asked her if she would like to help me write a story about our vacation. I told her I would need her to take some pictures while we were in Hawaii and that when we got back she could help me write the words for the story. She said she thought “that would be a good idea, Mama” and so we went with it.

She started out strong in the enthusiasm department during the first couple of days and wanted to use my camera to snap photos as we went, but toward the middle of the week she was kind of over it and got a little annoyed when I would ask if there was anything she’d like to take pictures of. (Threenagers, amiright?) That said, I think she did a pretty good job! If you’re planning to take your family to Hawaii, here are some “tips” my daughter would like to share with you …

Make sure everyone in your party is dressed appropriately.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“That’s my dolly and she’s at Hawaii on the plane. She has jammies on and she also has a Hawaii outfit with a swimsuit with stripes and a pink life jacket just like mine.”

Bring home unique souvenirs to remember your trip.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“It’s a shell. We found it in the sand at that house — it was a brown house. They had a pool. That was pretty good.”

Safety first, but a good swimsuit is a close second.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“We swammed in there! That was the pool at the brown house. I weared a swimsuit that was delightful. I wore a life jacket that helps me float — it’s nice and strong to make me float like a mermaid in the water. At first it was scary to swim, but then we went in the little pool and it was good.”

Embrace the nature that surrounds you … and take lots of selfies.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“We were at the pool and then we walked up to some rocks and we saw big sea turtles … and rocks and whales too.”

Put your feet up and relax, you’re on vacation!

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

 

“Those are my feet and I’m putting them up. I have black pants that can get wet. The waves are coming on me. The waves are scary. That’s Daddy. He’s floating in the ocean.”

It’s always a good idea to surf indoors.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“That’s Clivey Clarke! He’s surfing inside the house, because it’s a good idea to surf in the house. Clive didn’t like the ocean. He was sad. ‘Come in the ocean!’ the waves said. ‘No thanks! We want to play inside cause I don’t like it!’ Clive says.”

Don’t: touch the crabs. Do: carbo-load at breakfast.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“That’s a crab! We went to go see it when we waited for our lunch. I had pancakes and they were good. There was a shark at the restaurant and he was eating a pancake.”

Do not throw fire sticks at the luau. It’s not appropriate.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“It’s a lei! I got it at the luau and you like it, don’t you? The luau was good, but not so good. It reminds me of the tiki room. (sings) It’s the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room! There was hula girls and there was a boy who did fire sticks. It was grandly! But it’s not very safe to throw fire sticks, because it’s not appropriate. I went up on the stage with Mama and Grandma and there was a lady and she was a hula girl and she taught us a dance. The best part was the fire dancing and fruit punch! It tasted delicious and grandly!”

Leave no tree undocumented.

Image Source: Lauren Hartmann
Image Source: Lauren Hartmann

“That’s where we took showers outside when we were sandy. Those are little baby palm trees! Awww! They’re tiny babies! They’re not pretty high, because only they’re not Hawaiian coconut trees.”

At the end of our story, I asked her if there was anything else she would like to say about our vacation. At first she just said it was “good,” but I pressed a bit further and asked her what she would like someone to know about Hawaii. After some thought and a long pause she said, “Hawaii. Maui. Where dreams come true!”

So there you have it folks. Go to Maui and all your dreams will come true — especially if you’re 3!

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