Baby seats, strollers, and bathtubs

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I’m seeing a chiropractor for the first time, tomorrow. This is 2 weeks after a grueling holiday.
That’s not a play on words. The last holiday we took was well and truly the hardest we’ve ever experience.
As a photo enthusiast I have done and conquered 2 weeks trips that involves 4 countries, 6 cities, and a 5000 feet of mountain climbing. And I know of others that would look at that trip and say ‘cheh! That ain’t shit!’.

What I recently been through, however, was 2 wks of 2 countries and 3 cities. It involved baby seats, strollers, and a happy midget that looks like me. Why I started with the above paragraph is because I felt a little like Rob Lowe. Lowe recently wrote an article about coming to terms with his son going away to college. He felt a dignified shame that he’s having such a hard time, when there are parents out there sending their sons to war, to work 10, 000 miles away cos they had no choice, and etc.

I feel the shame. I have a cousin that regularly travels for business abroad, bringing 1 and sometimes both her kids, HERSELF. Yet, I know of a friend that hasn’t traveled abroad with any of her young kids, because she and her husband cant cope with the stress. For that particular friend, she would need to include a portable cot, bathtub, and much more to her luggage list. In essence, you can’t look to your right or left, when deciding whether or not you should involve infants, or toddlers into your holiday trips. You simply have to just DO IT!

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The Boss and I figured there was no use over-thinking about this. Come what may, we booked tickets. After that though, was major STRESS. More for her, but I had my share. Traveling to developed countries against developing ones has its pros and cons. All in all, it evens out.
For developed countries we had to worry about:
– Baby seats. Without one, not only would it be illegal, but you’re also risking not being accepted by any cabs. We experienced this. Especially with small/short fares, taxi companies would not necessarily bother sending a driver out with a baby car seat.
– Strollers. This part was unavoidable. Unless you’re strapped like Rambo on steroids, carrying a baby around in your arms while sightseeing is purely unthinkable.
– Bathtubs. This became the single most important amenity in any hotel room we booked in.
– Highchairs. Highchairs needs to be pre-booked in some restaurants? This was a surprise to us. Later on I realised, that in certain areas where restaurants are deemed to be baby friendly, they would see 7 or 8 babies sitting down with their family in any given time. Living in a place where seeing another stroller is a rarity, certain things like booking highchairs was never high in our worry list.

The perks though, is that most developed countries/cities places more importance in being ‘baby-friendly’.
Most restaurants, cafes are more than happy to help you out with heating food or milk for the baby. Public places like airports and shopping malls would have strategically placed baby rooms. I’ve seen many baby rooms in my short 10 months of fatherhood. It comes in many sizes and colours, and I can’t remember a bad one. Never wondered about it. But, now that I’m on the topic, I would say we are probably too elated at finding and being able to use baby rooms in the first place.

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With developing countries, forget about baby seats. People that uses them, are using them cos they want and choose to. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of a family of 5 riding a single motorcycle in Vietnam. Safety isn’t a priority. Nannies are plentiful as well. Part timers, full timers, short timers.

On the general scheme of things though, its not that fun. On holidays, we usually are able to do 6-7 sites per day. With a baby, we were lucky to be able to really enjoy ONE a day. Living out of suitcases means, having them regularly trashed by a curious crawler. And that coincides with the dilemma of not being able to pack whilst he’s sleeping. In photography the golden hour is the hour before the sun sets. For us, it was anytime the lil dude is asleep. Our pushy silver lining is being able to do a tiny bit of photo taking for times when he falls asleep in the stroller.

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Fellow young parents asked us recently to describe what traveling with babies was like. My answer was simple. On days when he’s happy, its tiring. On days when he’s not, its tiring plus stressful.

I wish I wasn’t over confident 6 months ago. Now, I can only dread what will happen 3 months from now, for which we have got another holiday planned out. Thank goodness its 4 days. The happiest moment of our recent trip was being back home. All 3 of us were super excited and relieved to be at home. The Boss changed into her PJs in 2 mins, the lil dude screamed in delight while strolling through the whole house and checked his toy inventory. As for me? Well, that’s a little personal, don’t you think?

Blogger’s note: The pictures in this post are irrelevant to the context of this post. But, it was taken at the same time frame, and such was my state of mind at that time, I felt being ‘scrambled’ was ultimately representative.

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