Earlier this year, we went to Kaohsiung to attend a cousin’s wedding
We always hear people talking about preparations to bring your baby on their first overseas trip. We did a little homework and shared the same concerns as many parents do – We wondered about what things to bring to entertain our baby on her first plane ride, and how we should prepare snacks or drinks during takeoff and landing in case our baby’s ears hurt. We had no idea how we would feed our baby and what kinds of food would be available throughout the trip. On top of that, we wondered whether we should bring a shit-tonne of diapers for the trip (Turns out you don’t have to), and how would we wake our daughter up at 3am in the morning (Tip: Dressing her up the night before is not the solution)
Fortunately for us, Alyssa was extremely cooperative throughout the flight. From waking up early in the morning, checking in, going through customs and boarding the plane; to the takeoff, 4+ hour plane ride, and the landing, she did extremely well, kudos to her!
We were pretty prepared for Alyssa’s first trip, and there were a lot of good information online and from other fellow parents. But we weren’t at all expecting our baby to change after coming back from a trip, and boy, were we pleasantly surprised. I’m shocked that not much people have written about this!
She got happier
We are blessed. Alyssa is generally a happy baby, she would laugh at the silly things that the girlfriend and I do and is in a good mood most of the time. But when she was at the trip, she was exceptionally happy! I’m talking about next level, walking around while laughing for no reason, and suddenly laughing by herself in the bus, and laughing so hard that we thought she would choke herself kind of happy. We think that it’s because she really enjoyed the very spacious locations that we went to, and how she was able to run around freely and just look at new things
She got more sociable
There were around 30 relatives that was on the trip, and 3 little ones, including Alyssa. Alyssa’s grandparents and aunties were also there and that really helped us a lot. During the first few days, although she was all smiles with the relatives (she has not met some of them before, and some of them she don’t see very often), she wouldn’t let them carry her, or wouldn’t walk towards them by herself. By the end of the trip, she was carried by one relative and passed to another and another and another and another and another and another and another and was enjoying herself. At one point, she was standing at one spot and constantly saying hi and waving to strangers that were walking pass. Boy oh boy
She started to mumble more words
When we were on the trip, Alyssa was at a stage that she could mumble a few words but wasn’t able to pronounce all of them very clearly. People were constantly talking to her throughout the trip and I think that really helped develop her speech. Throughout the trip, she started mumbling new words that we have never heard her say before. We were also very surprised when she started to mumble a few words of the song her cousin was playing in the bus!
She started to want food varieties
It just wasn’t feasible for us to bring along a week’s worth of food, we brought along milk powder and some powdered rusks but we weren’t gonna feed Alyssa with milk and rusk for a week, especially during the stage where she is eating solid food twice a day. Fortunately, there were fruits, vegetables, plain porridge, and other suitable foods available to us throughout the trip. We started feeding Alyssa with a little bit of this and a little bit of that (and you know how grandparents do the ‘Aiya it’s ok lah’ thing and feed your baby something you never would have fed them now?) and she really enjoyed it, especially the fresh tomatoes and the mantou! Since we were back from the trip, she would judgmentally look at us (with disappointment in her eyes) if we only served her one type of food for her meals. She also started to want to eat our food, something which we have never observed in her prior!
She got way more active
A lot of the places that we visited in Kaohsiung were close to nature, they were very spacious and the weather was cooling during our trip. You know how some baby’s usually cling to their parents especially at unfamiliar places, or walk a little and want to be carried because they are tired? Well that was the opposite of Alyssa, we think that it could be because she was so amazed with the spaciousness and nature that she just wanted to run around like she didn’t care, and did she get to do what she wanted.
She got cheekier
The only intentional cheeky thing that Alyssa did prior to the trip was to go up to you as if she wanted to pass you something and say ‘Wah!’ while she takes it back. Throughout the trip, she got cheekier. She would slowly pop her head over the bus seat, look at her grandparents and laugh. She would give you the polite fake smile that we adults give when we bump into someone we know. She kept calling my cousin mama and looked back at her mum and laughed. She pointed at we-don’t-know-what, and mumbled and laughed. She would also look at a person’s food, look back at that person, and smiled, which usually gets her food if the person is holding things that she can eat
She got familiar with unfamiliarity, and liked it
Throughout our week long trip, we went to different places every single day and had to shift hotels. By the first few days, Alyssa seemed to realise this, and was waking up excited about it. One day during the trip she started saying ‘kai-kai’ even before opening her eyes!
All in all, the 7 day trip did wonders for our baby. The girlfriend and I agree that it’s probably because of constant interaction with other people and exposing her to new places; which goes to show how important communication and socialising is for a developing brain. On top of that, we think that the overall vacation mood and good wedding vibe also affected her. We believe that baby’s absorb and adapt to the overall vibe that they are exposed to, so it’s important for us adults to be aware of how we are behaving in front of kids
So, fellow parents, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you bring your young one out for a vacation! It doesn’t need to be far, it doesn’t need to be for many days, you just need to provide the venue for them to grow!
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from you if you have similar parenting stories