Traveling With a Kid / The Dark Side
“Is it easy to travel with a kid?” people keep asking us. And my husband Max always answers: “Oh, it’s not much harder than without, almost the same”. You should see my face when he says that… If you have read any of my previous articles for the Abstract Stylist, you probably have noticed – baby Nina made our traveling different. But everyday life itself became different, and so did our trips. This Christmas and the New Year’s Eve we spent in Mexico, and she became 1,4 years old there. So, although life and travels with her are mostly happy and bright, today I’m going to share those very few dark moments we experienced while traveling with a baby. Be prepared to read my whining. Nina, if you are reading this, please remember that we love you!
25 January, 2019
by Natalja Nemcenko
The darkest flights are actually the day ones
I miss those transatlantic flights with lots of food and the newest movies, when the only thing to worry about is… nothing! (Hello, people who are afraid of flying). The older Nina gets the busier is the flight - 12 hours long flight from London to Cancun (Mexico) with a change in New York City. Have you ever tried freezing for a couple of minutes - not to move even for one or two cm to the sides? Try it - it feels damn hard. Scientists say that kids are feeling the same when you ask them to calm down and sit still. Of course, it’s healthy for your legs to walk during the flight, but making the 20th lap all the way ready to catch the biggest love of your life from falling can be exhausting. Meanwhile, my hubby is watching a movie or sleeping. And that is the hardest part!
Ohh, what a cute babyyyy!
It started in Indonesia. But if you go to India, it’s probably even more common - when strange people try to touch your kid the first time they see you both. Although I understand that it’s a kind gesture of the local people being extremely open and friendly to my kid, for us - Nordic people - it’s at at least strange. What is more, if you are a Nordic young mom, it’s horrible. Even my ultra-patient husband admits that it’s weird.
Some people are really rude and tactless in such situations. During our time in Bali when walking in the temple, one Chinese woman literally pushed me away from the stroller saying: “Ohh, what a cute babyyyy!” She and the whole Chinese group was trying to take a selfie with my cute baby Nina. “It’s ok”, Max said waving goo-bye when we somehow managed to escape them. The good thing is that Nina actually enjoyed it - trips to Indonesia and Mexico have made her really open and easy going.
“Closer to nature,” they said. “Lovely shade,” they said.
During our trip to Mexico, we stayed for some time in an apartment that was nicely decorated in Mexican style in Playa del Carmen. A 5 minutes walk to the beach and a nice garden that hid us from the hot afternoon sun under the huge palm and other tropical trees seemed to be like great advantages! It was a mini jungle that we absolutely loved in the day we arrived and hated so much the next morning. Dozens of mosquitos’ bites on us and mostly on Nina was a bonus we hadn’t expected to get.
The next day one of those bites on Nina’s body became suspiciously like a spot of Lyme disease, so I got my first aid kit that since we had started traveling with a kid became three times bigger. Also, I started WhatsApping Nina’s doctor Ieva back in Riga, sending her a picture of a spot. She said it looks like an allergy and advised me putting some allergy ointment until it gets better. The guy in the pharmacy in Walmart didn’t speak any English. I showed him the same photo I had sent to the doctor and he took me to the shelf with antihistamines. He gave me a tube of ointment with a name I had never heard before. It’s ok, we are far from home. “Bebé de uno año. Ok?” I’m speaking Spanish. He nods. I trust. Luckily, it wasn’t Lyme. And it wasn’t the last mosquito bite for Nina and for us.
The terrible tooth and too’s
“Your baby doesn’t sleep well at night? Wait until his/her teeth gonna start appearing…” or “Your baby has a colic? It’s nothing compared to growing teeth. Ua-ha-haa!!!” Everybody likes scaring young parents with their baby’s teeth coming in. As a result, we blame them for everything - either it’s a running nose or some evening hysterics. And now I’ll describe you our first days in Mexico: teeth coming in plus the heaviest jet-lag we experienced so far (7 hours’ time difference). We barely managed to fall asleep at 12am and we got up at 5am because in Riga it was already afternoon. The first week we totally joined 5am club. It turned out very convenient actually but first was quite hard (it is still a dark side story).
The word “too” was the most popular word used during our trip. This seafood bar is too loud. This party is starting too late. This bus trip to the other side of the country goes too long. The water is too cold (when renting accommodation in Mexico, check if there is a hot shower). Morning routines are too long. Going by boat on the river with crocodiles is too dangerous etc.
Nevertheless, now when telling about our trip all these dark side moments are an only small part of it and the rest is exploring Maya ancient cities and ruins, discovering beautiful places and wonderful food, meeting new people, happy Nina and we are happy.
When we returned from Mexico, I was speaking with my friend who is also a young mom. She asked me: “Were there some stressful situations?” “Sure,” I said. “And these situations happen at home all the time (well, maybe not the mosquitos during winter), but it’s much easier to deal with stress when you are under the warm sun on the ocean shore ready to explore the magnificent Wonder of the World. Scientists say the sun also has dark spots but this is a different story.
P.S. Remember the dark dark flight to Cancun I told about at the beginning? We got a huge compensation from the Universe on our flight back – Delta airlines cabin crew had freed two more seats for us in the aircraft, so Nina got a super luxury bed for her night sleep, and we got a totally careless 8 hours enjoying movies and food on a way home.