So you’ve mastered Step 1?
Step 2 is even more fun: Practice.
There are people who in no uncertain terms have labeled me insane.
I understand the suggestion — just not in relation to this trip.
Traveling with two kids under the age of 10 doesn’t make me crazy. Attempting a round the world trip with two kids under the age of 10 with whom I’d never traveled anywhere before….now THAT would be crazy.
Luckily that’s not the case.
Ish and I have been prepping our guys for a long trip for years.
I was pregnant with Ethan when I wrote my first travel column. He’s literally been traveling with me since he was in the womb. And when his brother arrived two years later we handed him a suitcase and told him to join the line.
They aren’t afraid of busy airports or planes. They know how to behave at immigration (“Tell the nice man I’m your mother. Right now!) and what they need to take off at the x-ray machine.
They aren’t seat kickers on the plane and in fact these days they’re so well trained they often slip into their seat, pop out their headphones and get to work wrestling the armrest from their neighbour.
Makes a mother proud.
None of it is just happened.
It required plenty of trips where we spent entire flights asking them to use an inside voice, keep their feet off the chair in front of them and teaching them what was okay behaviour in the long line for immigration.
It didn’t happen overnight, but with each trip they take – near or far – they get better at it.
Still, a weekend trip to visit relatives or even a week-long trip to Disney world is different than taking them somewhere that feels truly different from home.
So in 2005 we started testing them a little further afield.
That year we took the kids (then almost 3 and about 11 months) to Italy and France. We packed them up and went. I wrote a bit about how empowering that trip was to me as a new mom here. Language was never a factor and we all fell in love with the country.
We tested them again last year. This time the trip was to Peru. It was a poorer country and the challenges were a bit different. They’d need to learn to move around in a place that didn’t look much like home and to deal with situations that might not be comfortable. It was a success too.
Here’s the thing: Kids adapt – probably even faster and better than we do. They had a fantastic time and came home to tell their friends and family all about the kids they’d met.
We know that they are ready for this next adventure because of the way they look when they talk about it. We also know that it has a lot to do with the fact that they’ve seen some of the world and liked what they saw.
And that’s a tough thing to do without leaving home.