I never understood why people traveled with their young children. They won’t even remember the trip. What’s the point?
And although our trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan was painful in many ways, I’m glad we did it. I get it now. You can’t put your life on hold until the kids are older. You can’t let life pass you by until it’s more “convenient”. We postponed this trip so many times. We wanted to do this with friends before we were married. Then post marriage, we wanted to go with my parents. But the timing never worked out. Work or whatever else always got in the way.
But now, my grandmother got to meet another of her great grandchildren. Her health isn’t the best, so this opportunity is that much more dear to me. And while I know Ollie won’t remember it, at least he’ll have a photo as proof, something I never had.
As for my biggest worry, the time change, I’m happy to report that it was much easier than I expected. It took a total of 3 days before Ollie adjusted to the current time zone. The secret is to get him on his schedule like he would back home. He naps at 11am usually? Follow that wherever you are. Watch the clock. Don’t do the calculation of what time it is back home. And get ’em lots of sunlight and let the melatonin regulate their sleep/wake cycle.
I wish we had more time. Initially I wondered if two plus weeks would be too long for such small cities like Hong Kong and Taipei. But what I didn’t realize is how little you get done when travelling with a baby. And how tired you are from carrying them around.
New environment = baby who resists strollers = baby who resists being carried by other people = baby who wants only you.
To add to that, it is EXTREMELY difficult maneuvering a baby in a stroller when the sidewalks are packed with so many people. And when the primary mode of transportation is the MTR (subway system), it also means you’ll be walking lots of flights of steps to get underground. Which means you’re dragging the stroller up and down those flights. Which means you’ll ditch the stroller and carry ’em instead.
Not only did we get to eat amazing food, but so did the little guy. Ten months is a great time to travel because he just started eating more table foods, which means I can give him spoonfuls of rice, soup, and porridge, bites of baked goods, and even veggies and meats. All without the need for pureeing! And, the best part is, he’s trying new foods we wouldn’t have back home. This was really one of the most exciting parts of the trip – watching him grow in a completely foreign land, eating completely foreign foods.
What did I learn this time around? Don’t travel with family. You’ll be so consumed with taking care of the baby that it’s almost impossible to make plans. You’re that person who needs to constantly change plans. You’re that person who can’t be too far from the hotel room in case the baby needs to nap. And, we (wrongly) expected that family would be able to help with some of the burden of caring for a baby. But when everyone’s got a list of To Do’s and To See’s already, that means they’ve literally got their own agenda. On an 18 day trip, we only got to go out sans baby a total of three times. And this is with a baby who sleeps through the night. Imagine how much harder it’d be to go out if your baby still wakes for a feeding. So what’s the take away? Don’t travel with family. Or, if you do, don’t expect to get much help from them.
Ollie was only sick once before, when he was four months old. But even then he only had a runny nose and cough. During this trip, he had his first fever at a whopping 103.7, which got a little too close to the dangerous zone of 104. Scary, yes. We took him to the ER but ultimately only gave him Tylenol until the fever subsided, which surprisingly only took a couple days. Then when we got back, a mere two weeks after his fever, he would stay up all night screaming his head off. Then he got a rash all over his chest and back. The doc confirmed it was a viral infection, that, oh joy, is contagious. I know kids get sick all the time, and we’re in the heart of winter, but this just seemed excessive. Three nights of not sleeping a wink and he’s finally starting to recover. The only bright side to this is that his immune system is getting stronger each time it fights an illness. But the sleepless nights and sad pathetic cries just breaks your heart. So as he recovers, I almost find myself needing a vacay to recover from this trip that was anything but relaxing.
Would I do it again though? Yes. In a heart beat. Things aren’t memorable because they were perfect. Sometimes they’re memorable because it happened at all. And it helps to always remember to find levity in any tough situation.