AAR (After Action Review), something not new to those in a certain profession from a certain organisation. Anyway, there were so many learning points from this trip, I think it is a good idea to note it down, for myself and others who are thinking of bringing their toddlers to travel.
1. Infant is better than toddler
We brought little man to Korea last year when he was 6-months old. It was not easy as well, but definitely easier than bringing a toddler who thinks he knows best. I baby-carried him all the way then, and all we really worried about, is him getting sick or pooing in the middle of nowhere. As if to make our deepest fear come true, he did poo a couple of times at awkward timings like when the KTX (Korea Train Express) is about to stop for us to alight. And we did the unimaginable, like clearing his messy poo in split seconds so that the whole train do not have to wait for us to alight. It was quite an experience for us, but nevertheless still manageable.
This time, it’s a whole new game altogether.
First, we have to eat at places where there is food available for little man. Then we have to coax him to eat the food meant for him and not poke his spoon into our spicy food. Many times, little man did not eat his usual share. I attribute it to teething (although I have not seen any of the last four mega teeth poking out yet), and an entirely new environment. Secondly, we need to be constantly on the lookout for him as everything that seemed so harmless can be so dangerous in a split minute.
Then, we have to wreck our brains to entertain him when we were back to our rented apartment, if not he will entertain himself by jumping off the bed, playing with the trash bin and many other acts that will either hurt himself or cause nuisance to the unit below us. It also did not help that our boy has grown a strong mind of his own. He will tell us to walk right instead of left, and stubbornly insist on doing (or not doing) certain things.
Side note: Hubby does not agree with me. While he agrees that it is easier to bring him out at his infancy age, he finds much joy when he sees little man loving the places that we brought him to, running about like the happiest child in the world. That, I agree.
2. Bring everything you deemed necessary for the child
As I was packing our luggage, I keep in mind to pack light as far as I can because Hubby is really uncomfortable with the idea of two heavy luggages and a stroller. At one time in the middle of packing, I was contemplating to not bring any of little man’s busy bags as they do add up to the weight of the luggage. Somehow I decided to put them back in the last minute due to some nagging feeling. Turned out, those busy bags were a life-saver. Although the amount of time they kept little man occupied was not as long as we hope, they did make little man feel more at home. I even lugged along his boolster, which I thought was also one of the best decision I’ve ever made for this trip.
I guess a child will always be a child. They need time to warm up to a new environment and it helps when there are familiar things there to help them along. I was also glad that I brought all his creams in case of any rashes, which did happened in the end.
Another item I was glad we brought with us, is the Seebaby lightweight stroller. We bought this stroller just for this trip as our Mclaren proves to be too much for us to handle on top of two huge luggages. It was a good buy given that I can easily lift the stroller with just one hand while carrying my 11.8kg boy with the other. I am a very petite Mama and I can’t handle too much weight.
3. Do not be too ambitious
This is true in terms of the length of travel and the actual planning for travel.
We were too ambitious to plan for a two weeks travel. Half-way through, Hubby and I were actually looking forward to coming back to Singapore. I believe the fact that we all fell ill at the beginning of the trip attributes to our weariness. But at such a young age, it is probably not wise to travel for such a long time.
We also did not follow our itinery as closely as we would like to, hence missing some destinations that Hubby took pains to plan. He was really upset about it at first, but I guess we all know it is something we can’t quite control. In the end, we gave in to more sleep, waking up only in the late morning most of the days. Well, a toddler who sleep well is a happy toddler, and a happy toddler translates to a pair of happy parents.
4. Sleep well before your trip
I thought I was doing well, packing our luggages two nights before. Before that, I will usually pack the night before. But it turned out that I still slogged till the wee hours of the night for both nights. Hubby accompanied me by printing and reading the necessary. It was really bad for our health and well-being. I think that is also one of the reasons why we fell sick so easily. It doesn’t help that little man decided to wake up in the middle of the night two nights before and refused to go back to sleep.
Note to self: Next time I will start packing a week before!