Half way through our South East Asia trip with the two sproglets in tow, from the bleary eyed tiredness to the tears of pure joy, I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt so far along this journey.
1. Getting enough sleep – adults and kids – is EVERYTHING. Absolutely everything. Equally, overtiredness is the enemy. It is the difference between tantruming toddlers and bickering adults; it is the difference between a broken nights sleep and a beautiful 8 hours.
2. By extension, we all seem to have mastered the art of sleeping when and where we can. On a tuk tuk, a boat, on a makeshift bed in the middle of a fishing village….getting that shut eye is becoming easier and easier (except at night when kids are actually supposed to sleep…)
3. Traveling to Asia means bedtime for Jack (Sonny has settled well into the new time zone) is super late. He doesn’t stop bounding about til about midnight which is exhausting for us and is sort of turning me into an alcoholic (a glass of wine or Angkor beer helps ease the jumping)
4. If the two kids nap at the same time, this is literally the absolute f*cking holy grail. It’s happened to us, twice, both times for about ten minutes and I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. I went to the toilet in peace and it was amazing.
5. When travelling with two small kids they have to share everything – nappies, toys, bottles, clothes…heck, I’ve even considered putting Jacks shorts on. Washing clothes and buying things is a lot of effort.
6. Cambodians / Vietnamese love kids – especially women but men as well. They’ll often offer to take Sonny from us or sometimes just take him… I particularly appreciate how adept they are at putting on baby carriers – they always help. But yes, if you’re clingy with your kids, don’t come to Asia; if you appreciate all the help you can get (our camp), it’s great. Seriously, these kids are on a lot of camera phones..
7. Everything becomes a toy (especially on a plane) and yes, I’ve been known to give Sonny a shoe to play with…
8. You will get to know your kids better than ever before; you’ll learn the exact moment they need to go to sleep before melt downs occur; the foods that will win them round; the precise face or words that will make them laugh then and there.
9. Get a big breakfast down yourselves and your kids – it’s hard to find the right time/ place / to feed everyone during day. It’s also easy to forget to…
10. When you get to a new place, unless its just a one night stop over as we had in Kuala Lumpur, unpack your bags. A not so messy room as opposed to a ransacked looking room will make all the difference when you get back from a meal out and just want to find toddler’s toothbrush and get everyone to bed asap.
11. Prioritise the practical stuff – then embrace it. The other day we were down to one nappy just because we’d been putting off a trip to the supermarket. In actual fact, supermarkets in foreign places are kinda fun. Just don’t get me started on their baby food or my experience trying to find sanitary towels.
12. The learning curve – on everything – is steep. And it’s exhausting. And it’s very, very beautiful.
13. Bananas are everything when traveling: zero prep, with a skin so zero dirt, high energy, cheap and healthy.
14. The jury’s still out as to whether sand is a good or bad thing; perfect terrain for wobbly sitting babies and energetic fall-prone toddlers but obviously it gets absolutely friggin’ everywhere, mainly in Sonny’s mouth and Jack’s crotch.
15. Airport travel is actually the easy part – it’s the whiling away time by the sea that can be toughest. Rushing around on a tuk tuk at least keeps everyone entertained as opposed to attempting to lounge around like all those childless people do.
16. Don’t stress about kids eating well; there’s enough to worry about. Pasta, rice, ice cream… whatever works.
17. Never before will you experience so many highs and so many lows; such a huge range of emotions; such intensely happt smiles that make your face hurt and sighs so deep you want to throw the towel in and come home.
We’ve just arrived at a ridiculously beautiful island called Koh Rung so I’m off to cchase after a toddler and find some bananas. I’ll be doing another post soon about all the essentials and the dudd items we brought away with us…
Thanks for reading – Emma xxx