This was one vacation that I was really looking forward to. I mean, yes, everyone looks forward to a holiday. But someone who’s been in a new mother’s shoes will know what I really mean.
This was the BIG ‘happy family’ holiday and V’s first ever vacation! His pishimoni (bua / aunt) is getting hitched later this year and so we decided that this is time to indulge in some quality family time. So, all of us, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt, Appa, Mumma and V got their passports stamped for Singapura!
It was quite another thing that V was seriously unwell a week before we were to take off and the trip was almost abandoned. I was extremely anxious. All along I was very confident of traveling with an 11 month old. But his illness really dwarfed my confidence. Armed with a battery of medicines we packed up for our holiday.
I packed 4 kinds of baby food, biscuits and his milk. Traveling with a baby is a big deal and having done that more than once in the past, I knew what to do. The trouble however was about sterilisation. The doc had asked us to maintain high levels of hygiene. And I was wary about cleaning V’s sippers and bottles. I almost packed his steriliser until I decided to use the hotel kitchen to sterilise his bottles the traditional Indian way. His stroller was a must! Somewhere later in the trip V’s grandpa said that if we didn’t have to carry V’s heavy diaper bag around, he wouldn’t have approved of the stroller. I mean, the tod really played to the gallery. If I strapped him in, he’d look at his grandparents with those innocent puppy eyes and plead, “take me out”!! I calculated 4 sets of clothes for each day. V is a naughty, fidgety baby and he’s likely to make a mess at his meal times. I decided to be better equipped. His favourite toys, books, his familiar blanket and bath towel went in too. His feeding bowl, spoons, bibs and towels. And a mega diaper pack.
We left on the morning of my birthday. While V slept through the drive to the airport he opened his eyes once the car stopped. He knew we were on to something…and was he excited! Errr…a bit too excited for our liking! We were at the airport at 4:15 am. From then until we reached Singapore 9 hours later the boy refused to sleep even for a second!!! As a result none of us slept on the flight either. Tired and sleepy I was extremely cranky on my birthday! But V’s giggles and his obvious enthusiasm to do something unusual broke my cloudy mood.
Over the next 5 days, V had a blast (or so I think)! He photographed with exotic birds at the Jerong Bird Park. The rains played spoil sport and a traditional photo op was all that we could manage. Kungfu Panda joined our family for a group pic at Universal Studios. He played with Prashant uncle and Neha aunty, and almost forgot us in the background! It helps to have a non fussy baby. V was happy to see new sights everyday. He noticed people looked different in this new country. He smiled a lot, flashed his dimples almost everywhere. V is an outdoor baby. And I discovered that the little man has a ‘glad eye’!! *eyes roll* He was always on the look out for PYTs, both his age and those that would rather catch his Dad’s fancy! He’d smile at girls and quickly glance at one of us to see if we were looking!! That’s my boy!!
This was my first international trip with a baby. In my earlier trips abroad (and there aren’t too many of those anyway) I didn’t travel noting how friendly is the country to kiddie travelers. Singapore, however, was an absolute delight! Besides having baby rooms at all locations, one could see the number of vacationers traveling with young babies. Or is it just an Indian mentality when it comes to traveling with a baby? Someone in the extended family warned me, “V’s too young to go on a holiday! What will you feed him?” We stayed at Swissotel, The Stamford and as we checked in we were offered a baby cot for V. We don’t have one at home for him and since both A and I have been toying with the idea of buying one for V, we decided to take one in our room. V took to the cot really well. I threw in his toys and something told him that it was his bed! *cute* I also didn’t have to become a desi and boil his bottles. I asked for a bottle steriliser and the hotel got me one. *win*
Food was also a breeze. The breakfast menu served up many options for my junior traveler. From scrambled eggs, to chicken stew, South Indian khichdi and Upma, V also dug his baby teeth into flavoured yoghurt for the first time. He loved them and his breakfast was incomplete without one. For the rest of the day, there was always his favourite banana and stock of baby food to rely on. By the time A’s birthday rolled in, we were having a blast. And traveling with a baby was hardly an issue.
By the time we got on the flight to come back home V had become bolder. I asked an air hostess to hold him while I took a leak. When I came out of the loo to get him, the boy’s tiny cheek was covered in lipstick!! He wrinkled his nose, flashed his teeth and charmed with his dimples. Having learnt my lessons early on, this time I held him tight and rocked him to sleep. But for all the time he was awake he kept pointing to the ladies asking me to take him back to them!!
The illness was forgotten. The hospital stay was history. It was like it never happened. V was back in his elements and nothing gave me more joy than to see him happy. Perhaps that’s why vacations are so rejuvenating!
When’s the next, I wonder? 🙂
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