Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

7 Benefits (or woes?) of Travel…with a kid

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Reading Time: 3 minutes

the Arabs have a saying that roughly translates as, “Tjere are 7 Benefits to Travel”. I suspect no one ever spelled out what those 7 are supposed to be, and that would be smart…leave each person to contextualize (as I say in my latest Hybrid Ped column, The Trouble with Frameworks). If I had to make some general ones, they would include meeting new people, learning about new cultures, exposure to nee lamguage and technologies…and relaxation… Or something πŸ™‚

It’s different traveling alone, with your spouse, with parents, with friends, and with children. I have been to Europe with my parents (as a child, teen and adult), alone, with friends, with my husband, and now for the secomd time in the UK with my child. You see the world differently through a child’s eyes, especially when they see something new.
The first time I came to England with her was when she was 2. I was here defending my thesis (viva) at Sheffield. She was still breastfeeding and on diapers (had a potty training reversal and i was too stressed with my thesis to both wean her and push the potty training). My mom and husband were both with me, and took care of her for about 3 hours max while i went to do my (quite quick) viva and came back. She loved the gardens outside our hotel and the escalators in rhe malla (stuff she had seen before, but still), and the toys in the hotel lobby and the children’s library. She was pickier than her usual pickyeating  so she nursed like crazy and barely tasted anything at all.

It was much simpler than this time around. This time around, potty trained and weaned, having had diarrhea for 2 days before coming here, she had it during the trip and still has it now. Still picky eating. So she mainly drinks lots of milk (which is even her normal in Egypt) and this isn’t helping the diarrhea. 

When I was around 10 coming with my parents here, i noticed for the first time that couples kissed each other in public and pointed it out to my mom. I feel like I don,t see that any more. All I am seeing (and looking for) are the places with the clean toilets and trying to stay near tem, and make sure I am near a supermarket to get fresh milk if she needs it. Because otherwise…meltdown. And carrying pints of milk in my bag (even wrapped in a bag) is both dangerous (spillage) and not treat (milk could go bad). 

So…fun stuff, aside from the above… 

  • I dropped my glasses (well, they FELL) into the potty right after my child had peed. Ugh. Thank god it had not been diarrhea or I would be scarred for life. She still remembers this story. Eek
  • My kid doesn’t like wrapping her legs around my slippery raincoat so this makes carrying her really difficult, gotta get a new one, but aren’t all raincoats slippery?
  • I swear we have gardens in Egypt, but there is somethng about the brightness of the greenery here that attracts her like crazy. I am glad we are surrounded by parks.
  • She has always loved pigeons, as do I, and I did a lot at her afe… But she also is so obsessed that each time we walk down the street she stops when she sees pigeons and wants towatch them or run after them. It is a bit much
  • At Hamley’s (which we have one of in Egypt, but anyway) I picked out for her a cheap kaleidoscope at some point and a twisty lego thing and she kept looking through the kaleidoscope
  • That meltdown because we didn,t have milk one time? It happened. I actually smuggled some milk w me from Egypt coz she is picky about brands but coz of diarrhea i am getting her skimmed from here hoping it’ll make things a bit better. Ah well
  • Every decision is about her, where to go. How to go. what to eat. Except the wifi. That is for me πŸ™‚
  • I want to show her everything i love about London but there is no time and she is too young
  • I think she is gonna go nuts when she meets Rebecca but I can,t know for sure. I will though. Excited but also anxious about that and everyone else

So much to write, so little time

Later

7 Comments

  1. Nice post, Maha… In about fifteen years’ time, when you want to explain how and why pigeons are different in the countryside from how they are in London, come back to me. I’m your man on the subject. πŸ™‚

  2. Welcome to wet and blustery UK Maha – I look forward to reading further reports!

  3. Even Dads understand the clean bathroom thing. I even wrote a letter to the Chamber of Commerce in the town we lived in at the time demanding access to bathrooms for shoppers with kids. Said I wouldn’t be able to shop in a town that was so child un-friendly. Didn’t work, but the kindly shopkeepers did put water out for people who came to town with their dogs. Only the museum and the lumber yard / hardware provided bathrooms. So my kids got a balanced education in building and art, with cloths and groceries from out of town and learned to carry their own TP if they were trapped in town.

    Waiting to hear what David has to say about Pigeons. Last place we lived they hung around town but never went to the dump. Spoiled their image as dirty animals. Or maybe they had their own dump?

  4. Country pigeons are cleaner, that was all. I might order pigeon pie in a country pub near where I live but I would *never* order it in The Smoke!

    • David, I suppose country pigeons are cleaner. We have Ravens instead of pigeons where I am now. Raven scavenge anything they can find, look rather meaty but are known to cooperate with each other and remember who did them wrong. The Indigenous population here revere Bald and Golden Eagles and have a regard for Ravens as tricksters and also helping spirits. Pigeons south of us in Edmonton seem tidier than the ones we knew in San Francisco. This might also hold for humans, but not being Zombies, I think we’ll stick to chicken.

      Maha, Hoda seems like an extremely sociable person so don’t let her hug Rebecca too hard:-)

      • Hey all – today a Pigeon ate some stray pasta of Hoda’s from right under our feet at London zoo. Egyptians eat pigeon but i like em alive so can’t eat em.
        Hoda is strange socially tbh. Moodily hypersocial, occasionally very very timid and shy. So unlike me. I am hypersocial when there r people and a deep loner when alone, esp at home at night. I don’t know if that makes sense. Hoda is too tiny to hug anyone too hard tho haha

  5. Have to admit I like most birds. Our new dog swims after ducks at the local pond but I think she just wants to play with the and maybe learn to fly. Even House Sparrows that hang out at Starbucks eating scraps of over-priced muffins can be polite like children for whole minutes.
    It’s good to have a variety of moods, makes a person difficult to figure out and hard to classify. It isn’t exactly relaxing though as it’s not entirely predictable. All the really good Cowboys and Samurai were complex. Last picture I saw of Rebecca her new hair made her look a bit like hedgehog and Hoda might be VERY tempted to pull on Rebecca’s ears. Tiny people can be really quick.
    Is there a lot of stray pasta in London? Good the pigeons are keeping it in check. Have a good trip!

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