There’s really no point to traveling with an infant. A toddler’s no better. I mean, you bring them, of course, because you love them and there’s no reason to not bring your tiny offspring on an around-the-world jaunt, but they are probably the most clueless travel companions. You bring your child to Angkor Wat and they ignore the ancient ruins looming around them, preferring to scratch around in the dust, picking out tiny pebbles and showing them to you before throwing them (yes, really). “Yes, that’s a good one, Cole!” We could have stayed at home and let him play in our driveway, he’d be just as happy. You repeat the same exercise in Paris, India, Morocco, Beirut, and Thailand. Soon you’re aware of a singular fact — there are rocks in almost every country. You have seen them all. You child has picked most of them up, held them close for inspection and then thrown them. Whether he threw them into a fish pond (Thailand) or at a cow (India) or off the roof of your house (Beirut) there’s no real difference. To Cole, we’ve been on a very long quest that — well I don’t exactly know what the point is, but it involves a lot of rocks.
I know that he’s absorbing some of it — the language, for example — in China he was asking for milk in Mandarin and in Thailand he could say thank you in Thai. If you put a plate of pork satay (or really any meat on a stick) in front of him, he’ll dive on it like it was cake. But in the back of my mind, I’ve been waiting for that moment where he shows some sign of getting it — a nod to the fact that are somewhere new, not still in the same country or the same continent even. I want him to be impressed. In Thailand, it finally happened. We arrived at a resort in Phuket, a splurge for us, a family friendly place with a big pool and an oversized red mushroom sprinkler in the kiddie area. The area was full of Thai greenery, palm trees, fat ferns, overgrown and luscious because of the now ending rainy season. Cole and I walked through the lobby, over to a covered bridge overlooking the grounds and Cole pointed. “Oh wow, mama.”
That’s right Cole! We’re traveling! Isn’t it great?
He kept it up through out our first week back in Thailand, pointing to things and saying “Oh wow”. He laughed and yelled hello to everyone as we drove around on the motorbike. He reached for my hand when we walked into the sea, patting the water to indicate I should submerge myself. I did and he wrapped his arms around my neck and kissed me. He really, really loves it here.
And that’s it. I’m closing up shop! I can’t beat showing a two and a half-year old roti with condensed milk, Thai beaches and motorbike rides.
Cole, about to beat my high score on Bejewelled
Well, I can’t yet. I know at some point there will come a day when he says “Why don’t you take me to Thailand anymore?” and then I will have to explain myself. In the meantime, I just want to know what happens next. It’s like some time on the flight from Beirut, maybe over India, he did an automatic system upgrade to Cole 2.0. He plays puzzle games on the iPhone! He just taught himself over the course of a few days and now he can open and close apps, pick his favorite games, slide the on/off switch, SOLVE PUZZLES AND MATCH GAMES (what?) and congratulates himself when he wins (“oh yay!”). I’m sure this is normal, but it’s awesome to see. He’s talking more and he’s figured out if you call Drew “Dreeeeeeewwwwww!” instead of “Daddy” he responds much faster.
The child is a genius. It took me at least 3 years to figure out yelling Drew’s name was the way to go. Drew still doesn’t listen to me.
You know what though, I love this age. And yes, I’m spoiling Cole with experiences. He’s going to be so jaded by the time he’s seven. “Eh, Paris? Again, mother?” I am so screwed. Totally worth it.