Thoughts on travelling with Isaac

After our first family trip to Tasmania with little Isaac, we get questions now and then on what it was like travelling with a baby.

And truth is, it’s different, but not quite as difficult as one might imagine it to be. Of course, it also varies from baby to baby. With Isaac, we are very lucky to have a great little flier who is very open to new experiences, which makes travel so much easier. But at the same time, he has his own fussy habits and can be difficult at times.

Observe: Isaac with tear eyes, having just fallen asleep, VERY ANGRILY, in his car seat because he hated to be strapped down. (He was venting his angry on the puppet in his mouth haha!)

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What made travelling with Isaac for us was, 1) being creative with what we have, 2) being flexible with plans and 3) just generally being chill about things.

For instance, we were lazy to bring an inflatable bathtub for Isaac, and realised that this beautiful glass house we stayed at for three days did not have a retractable shower head. So! We scrounged up some pots and pans, and bathed Isaac like so:

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We filled two huge pots with water, and used a little saucepan as a ladle. Happily, and quite expectedly, Isaac was none the worse for wear because of this. We made it up to him another day when he got to bathe in this fancy-as granite spa bath with shiny little knobs that thrilled him to no ends:

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When we stayed at places with no high-chairs and he was whining to sit with us at the dining us, we made a makeshift little high cot of sorts with creative placement of chairs:

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And sleeping was one area we had to be most creative about. We requested for a travel cot everywhere we went, but really it was just wild optimism because Isaac didn’t even sleep in a cot at home, why would he consent to it when travelling? But most of the apartments we stayed in had beds which were quite high off the ground, so we had to construct pillow forts wherever we went.

But mostly, the deal with sleeping was that he had to have his naps throughout the day or else get incredibly grumpy and be no fun at all. We eventually figured that the best solution was to time his naps with our walks and drives, because he also hated being in the car seat for anything more than 20 minutes (we sang an entire zoo into Old McDonald’s farm, multiple times, all the time!) and simply refuse to be in the carrier unless he was already sleepy.

This meant that we had to really be flexible about timing and plans. For one, we could never really pin down one particular time for an activity. Basically, it depended on when Isaac woke, and hence when he would be sleepy enough for us to drive or take a walk. And then ironically, we also had to sacrifice a lot of spontaneity. Once Isaac was sleep, we couldn’t stop (driving or walking) because then he would wake and if he hadn’t had his full nap, he’ll be grumpy, plus he would fuss for the rest of the time in the carrier or car seat. This meant we missed out on a lot of scenic spots along the drives. (And of course, we couldn’t simply stop when we needed to use the restroom or when we were hungry, until he woke!)

But despite that, we were able to take the most beautiful walks.

On beautiful boardwalks through grassland and light forest:

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To the beautiful boat shed by Dove Lake:

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Up and down sand dunes:

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In wild and beautiful wilderness:

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To old settlements on Sarah Island:

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Onto rocks:

IMG_5338It’s a pity Isaac misses all the beautiful sights walks for now, but he’ll be able to walk soon and then he’ll really enjoy the walks with us (we hope =)). But he gets to share in the fun at picnics in beautiful spots at the end of it!

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And just be, with us, at such beautiful places =)

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So despite sacrificing half the sights, starving on long drives, singing ourselves hoarse, having to plan around Isaac, and having to carry him, heavy in our arms all the time, do we think it was worth it having him along?

Absolutely.

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9. Still chasing the rain

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You grow. And like a kite who has caught the wind under its eaves, our ties will slowly unwind. Someday, you will soar, and dip, out of my horizon, buffeted by your own dreams, and destiny.

What I will remember, what will I say?

I will remember–the smallest moments–that you were once a child, so young, with your palms pressed against the window, watching the rain.

I will say, “Come back older, come back wiser, come back changed, but still, always, chasing the rain.”

Happy nine months (belated), dearest.


Bumbling Along

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Months ago, one of the central worries that occupied me was how I was nursing Isaac to sleep, and how this was a BAD HABIT which I would regret later on. I wasn’t to know that I would change my mind later on, when I realised how natural and convenient it was. Nor how much comfort it would bring me, to know that I still play this central role in my child’s life now that I have returned to work and no longer spent all my waking hours with him.

Which is to say, you never know. If I had the chance to go back in time and dispense wise words to my earlier self, I would say: Don’t trust the books too much. Don’t trust any parenting advise too much. Believe in your own instincts. Be adaptable. Love your child. And that would be it.

The return to work went much better than I expected, and it was not because I did mountains of preparations, but because many initial challenges turned out to be blessings in disguise. Isaac never slept through the night, so reverse cycling was a non-issue, and did not become an adjustment I had to make. He rejected the bottle so I remain his main source of milk — which is actually something I am comforted by, knowing that I can never be replaced in this way. These things which had seemed difficult to me earlier, actually help the transition now.

So I am happy, and grateful, and will always remember to cherish the moment, and allow myself to bumble along =)