Tag Archive: Travelling with a toddler

Murphy’s Law

I have been away for so long, there is so much I wanted to put to words, but find myself wearily staring into blank space as I finally sit in front of the computer.

May has been a busy month, just like every other month. But May is different because of all the events that fall in due to examination. I find myself struggling a little between work, housework and spending quality time with little man and Hubby. Somehow, in-between such madness, we actually made the unplanned decision to travel to Taiwan to look for my sister who is undergoing an exchange programme with the local university. Eventually, it became a family trip with my parents and siblings.

It happened that one fine day, when my father was visiting and I had a good look at him, and realised how much he has aged. It dawned upon me that my parents are really getting older and I have to cherish every moment we have together. It has been such a long time since we travel as a family. Probably, it will be harder to do so after my brother set up his own family later this year.

I didn’t spend too much time planning for this trip. Instead, more time was spent in ensuring I had all the medication and necessities for little man. It is always more tiring to travel with a toddler. My only wish is for him to be well throughout the trip and enjoy it.

However, little man developed some major stomach discomfort when the plane was about to land in Taipei. He was crying away and his entire body was tensed up. I have never seen him like that before and it scared the hell out of me. The pain went off a few hours after. By then, little man was so happy to be reunited with my parents and siblings, he totally forgot about his pain. He went painless till the next evening when he sudden went pale and told me he has stomach-ache. I was very concerned because the area he showed me was right between his ribs, the very same area he expressed pain the night before. However, he became well again when we got back to our airbnb accommodation.

This went on and off until we came back. At one point, I was so worried, I had to bring him to see the local pediatrician. (Yes, again.) It seems that little man likes to plan visits to the local pediatrician when he travels. Anyway, he was diagnosed with indigestion (which I was not convinced) and given some medication to improve his bowel movements. The pediatrician seemed more concerned about his penis which seemed a little red at that time. (Something else for me to worry about, other than his persistent eczema.) He then commented that perhaps we should consider to circumcise him. So armed with the medication given and lots of prayers, we went ahead with the rest of our journey.

On the very evening when our plane started to land on Singapore, he cried in pain again. Hence, we brought him to see his pediatrician who diagnosed him with mild gastritis. She told us to bring him to KKH if the symptoms persist, which is why I immediately brought him to KKH this morning when he told me about his stomach-ache at the same area again.

Disappointingly, no tests were done to find out what exactly is wrong with him. It doesn’t help that my little man became extremely active and playful during the consultation. The doctor must have thought that I am one paranoid parent. We were sent home with some medication to ease the wind in his stomach.

One thing I have learnt out of this entire episode is that the travel insurance we bought actually covers all these doctors visitation. That is the only good thing that come out of all these, although I would very much not want to claim at all.

That day, in one of our late night chat, I asked Hubby if he thinks little man enjoy travelling at all. He said probably not. I felt a sense of sadness that instant. Little man definitely enjoyed being with his Gonggong, Popo, Jiujiu and Ahyi. But he would have enjoyed the same, if not more, in his comfort zone (not overseas). It got me thinking if we were right to insist on bringing him along for all our travels. This is something that Hubby has insisted on. He would not have his travelling without little man. If we are to travel, we have to do it as a family. As much as I understand his rationale, I wonder if it is the right thing to do.

I wonder if we are the only ones to face such dilemma.

Maybe it wasn’t that bad after all

I think it is really important to take photos and videos to record the happy snippets of a trip. Sometimes you get too overwhelmed by the disasters that happened and the weariness and negativity that came along with them, you forgot that it was not such a bad trip after all.

Hubby and I were looking through the photos and videos we have taken. You know, I think despite him not eating and sleeping well, he was actually enjoying himself most of the time. These few days he kept asking me to 坐飞机,去韩国 (take a plane to Korea). He told me that he likes Korea (although I think he probably what he is talking about).

Ironically, I actually miss Korea as well, now that I am back in Singapore. I am actually thinking of our next overseas trip.

Maybe the trip was not as bad as I made it to be.

One of the many videos showing how little man enjoy his newfound freedom in Korea.

AAR

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!

My little koala at his Twos

One of the reason for this Korea trip is to travel before little man turns two, hence we left for Singapore a day before his birthday. And this little man decided to be a koala at two years old and clinged on to Mama for this entire trip in Korea.

It’s like he suddenly “grew up” and became very adamant in his choice of company. Before that, it was like “I want Mama, but if only Papa is available, then I will accept him too.” But for this trip, he will bawl his eyes out until I appear in front of him and pick him up as requested. When Hubby tried to take over, he will point his index finger at Hubby and tell him, “Papa, nono. Papa go! Bus beep beep. Go!”, telling his father to take a bus and leave us alone. He looked so cute and funny at first, but subsequently it became very tiring for me.

That night when he couldn’t sleep due to the itch, he only wanted me. I had to carry and rock him like a baby, and every other minute he would demand to be put to bed and have me pat him. It lasted for almost an hour and “poor” Hubby can only look on and go back to sleep while I soldiered on with his demands. When he finally calmed down and drifted back to sleep, I was too tired to go back to lalaland. And that was only the second day of our trip.

Hubby has always been the nice parent to little man, whilst I am the discipline mistress. But no matter what I do to him, he will still run to me and demand for me. As much as I try to appreciate and cherish his affection for me, it can get difficult to stay calm and at peace when you do not have enough sleep.

Despite the bad itch, little man still manage to stay very active in the day. Too active, that is. It’s like he suddenly became free in Korea and started dashing around whenever he finds the opportunity to do so. This impulsiveness of his got him into plenty of trouble.

He got his hand stuck between the elevator doors on one occasion and scared the life out of me. Luckily I was able to pull out his teeny weeny hand before anything bad happened. Nevertheless, it left a mark on his hand for a couple of days. A few days later, he was almost hit by a car when he suddenly ditched our hand and ran across the road. As if these are not enough to give me a heart attack, he tripped over his ball yesterday and cut himself badly on the lips. It was so swollen that he refused to drink any milk. Suddenly, everything that he decided to play becomes hazardous.

Many times during these two weeks, I felt torn between trying to be more understanding towards little man’s actions and emotional outbursts and giving him some tough discipline. Sometimes I would reprimand him harshly and feel guilty afterwards. Perhaps his outburst is due to the new environment. Perhaps it is due to the change in his daily routine, as we are unable to stick to his usual timing while travelling. One the other hand, I also wonder sometimes if I should do more to discipline him.

Hubby and I had a few late night conversations about this. I told Hubby that we need to gradually make him want me less. He needs to learn to accept Papa as Mama replacement when Mama is busy. We also agreed to give little man a little more time to get back to his usual routine after coming back from the trip. We will slowly teach him the right and accepted behaviour from then on.

After coming back from Korea, my family commented on how much weight little man has lost, and how deep his dark eye rings have become. It dawned upon me that little man has not been eating and sleeping well ever since we started out our trip. Yes, no doubt he enjoyed some parts of the trip when we visited the zoo, museums and palaces where he gets to roam around freely, but the truth is, he did not eat and sleep as well as we hope him to be. Perhaps we really shouldn’t judge him based on this trip.

I would like to think of the Twos as a phase for both of us to learn. Him to learn to behave, and me to learn how to go about teaching him right from wrong. I want to keep reminding myself this whenever I feel frustrated dealing with his antics.

I think I need a lot of positive energy and thoughts.

A walk around Insadong, with the restraining toddler bagpack because little man is constantly dashing around.

Home sweet home

It’s been a long and tiring two weeks. We have been away to Korea, namely Seoul and Jeju.

The trip started out with Hubby getting sick. The both of us had very little sleep two nights before the trip. We only had time to pack and prepare for the trip after little man goes to bed at night, and by the time we decided to take a break, we realised it was already very late.

Little man started having angry rashes on this chest and abdominal on the second day, and the itch irritates him so much that he woke up crying and fussing that night and managed to get back to sleep only after a long while. He became more clingy to me and only wanted me to carry him. I didn’t sleep much again that night, and subsequently fell sick the next day.

We eventually visited a pediatrician in Seoul a few days later and found out that those rashes are a sign of viral infection. We were glad that it came out only as irritating rashes, not a bad cold. However, little man finally fell sick the day before we came back to Singapore. “Finally” because there seemed to be a nasty flu bug going around Seoul. Everyone was coughing and sneezing away so badly, it felt like it is something we can’t quite avoid. On the flight back to Singapore, it was as if we were right in the middle of a symphony of coughs and sneezes.

Right now, little man is nursing his very blocked nose that sometimes runs. I am trying hard not to be infected by him, but I can feel it coming too. Hubby is the strong one standing *fingers crossed* (He can be very sick when he does fall sick.)

I have not been updating much my facebook and blog during the trip as there was not much me-time during these two weeks. It was also something I decided not to do after watching an episode of Crime Watch on cyber-crime before we left for Korea. I will write more about it in another post. Meanwhile, please pray for all of us to get well soon.

Korea Day 1: My little koala and his indispensable Mama

Busy bag for travelling

Some mummy friends have been asking me about what I intend to bring to keep little man busy during the Korea trip. Here are more details. But planning being planning, it doesn’t always work exactly how we plan. And if yours is a girl, the things that you would bring will be quite different as well.

1. Boogie Board & pen

This Boogie Board was purchased by Hubby quite some time ago. In my opinion, it is one of the best purchase for little man. We use this to draw for him, he learns how to draw on this board as well. We also use this board to teach him alphabets, words and numbers. Somehow it catches his attention better than flash cards.

2. Stickers & Sticker Book

3. Coloured Sticks

We going to have purchased them from Taobao. Now just waiting for the goods to reach Singapore. We borrowed a bag of these sticks from a fellow mummy. She pasted velcro on them, which I intended to do so as well, so that the sticks can be stacked together to form shapes. But little man cannot be bothered with the velcro. He actually likes taking them out, placing them properly one by one. I guess it is really free-play for the child. Hence I do not insist him on playing the way they were intended to be played.

4. Small puzzles

Little man is still not able to put everything in their right place. I will always need to place a pieces, but he is always happy to finish up the puzzle for me. I was rather surprised that the puzzle could engage little man. And these days, he was constantly asking to play with the puzzle.

5. Some small light-weight books

I recently bought these books from Taobao. They are light and small. The best thing is, little man loves them. I think I will bring a set along as well, just in case.

I think, generally, the things that I will bring along to engage little man must not be too bulky or heavy. Light-weight is the way to go.

Please, please do let me know if you have other great ideas. Would love to hear from you too! 🙂

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