Travelling with the tyke

We were on the fence whether we should take our so called second babymoon with our son, but considering that we had never both left him even for one whole night (albeit we both have had to take business trips alone away from him), we weren't going to start with a week trip to to Maui. The worst thing would being in such an enchanted place and wishing we were back home with our son. So we brought the little tyke along and he seemed to have more fun that even we did!

Gone are the days of priding ourselves on our efficient packing when we could go on holidays with nothing but our carry-on (ha!). Even a stroll to the park now requires a diaper bag full of necessities, not the least being diapers and wipes (sippy cup with filtered water, an apple, an orange, his puffs, a change of clothes et al). One bag was for us, two were for our son.

Even though our son is not yet two and can fly for free, after our horrendous last trip from the east coast a few months ago, we decided to cave in and dish out for a third seat. The seat did wonders. He loved having his own space and for a while was pondering the mechanics of his belt, attempting to emancipate himself from it. Next came jumping up and down on his seat with me and hubby half sitting out of our seats to provide a ready net for him to fall into. After this episode, he had had enough and needed to run around. We walked him down the aisle a few times, then read some books and gave him legos, anxiously looking at the time we had left. As expected, the deluge came and the only thing that would calm him was the ipad, carefully prepared with Pixar treats. We've read much literature on the negative aspects of providing toddlers under two with television and films. However, at times, it becomes a necessity for the parents' and other passengers' sanity. Even at home, I must admit I put on Elmo (for instance when I need to take a shower) as I know that my son will sit calmly and watch. Elmo is crack for kids. Admittedly, one of our son's first words was Elmo and we were stupefied because to our knowledge, he had never been allowed to watch any television (after some light detective work our nanny explained that she too needed to look after her bodily functions and the screen nanny ensured that my son and my friend's son would not decide that the moment they would conquer all the sockets and the stairs had come). Hubby and I both wonder whether Elmo is providing subliminal messages to our kids watch more episodes! buy my merchandise! pay your taxes! and is a supremely effective method of mind control.

This is another area where we held steadfast opinions as to what we would never do before we were parents and looked down on parents that caved in to the ipad - and now realize how easy it is to judge someone's choices when you have never dealt with their situation. I find that the most judgemental people respecting parental choices are people that are not parents (just like we were) and have never been at the precipice of their sanity.

Flights will never be easy, but films, legos, books and their own seat ameliorate the horror.

We knew we would be in the car for a while and decided that our son, who had well reached the weight and height limits if not the age, for a front facing carseat, should switch from his back-facing seat for the first time. The switch did the trick. Luca was amazed at the scenery and calmly sat in his seat watching the beautiful scenery go by. He played with legos, he slept longer and generally felt more part of the family in the car. We can never go back.

Luca loved Maui. In fact, as much fun as we had (we swam with sea turtles and saw whales!), it appeared that he had even more fun. He was amazed at the sand and the waves and didn't want to leave the beach. I wonder what engrams were etched into his mind during his trip and am certain that even if he cannot remember the trip later in his life, it will have a substantive impact on his development. The more a child sees as their connections fire in these young years, the more impact they have - stored in their subconscious and feulling opinions, desires and reactions they may never realize the reasons for. We are adamant that we will bring our boys on our trips and widen their worldview as much as we can.

Hiking presented a tad wee of a problem, however. I'm already carrying a baby, so hubby had to carry our son when he couldn't walk (and when our son is spent, he simply flops on his butt and refuses to move) and pointed out the difference in baby weight that we were respectively carrying. I pointed out the difference in our weight and we should only look at the weight of each of our babies as a proportion of our weight and as we tried to measure this, we continued on our hike with the prego on one end and the pack mule, daddy, on the other. Luca had the best seat in the house - on top of daddy's shoulders, munching an apple, watching semi-dried waterfalls and banyan trees go by. Enjoy it while you can, buddy.

Back in rainy SF, we're all a little depressed that we're not still on Maui...


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