The train was near capacity as we shuffled aboard, stroller in tow.
I temporarily lost sight of Winnie as she and the baby slipped into the last possible seat to exclamations of “Ka-wa-ii!” (‘Cute’, in Japanese.) Everywhere we went the reaction was much the same, everybody wanting to touch his cheeks and exchange smiles.
But this time, something was different.
As the train left the station, the smiles were replaced with awkward sideways glances. That was the moment when GCCjr’s face glowed red as he filled his diaper with all that is unholy in this world.
30 minutes later everybody was more than happy to exit the train. So kawaii.
Last night we returned from 9 days / 8 nights around Kyoto, Japan, in our first travel experience with a 5 month old baby. While it was definitely a different travel experience, we can proclaim this experiment a roaring success!
Things started off great with the taxi ride to the airport. This was the first time GCCjr had worn shoes, or even socks for that matter, so he spent the ride trying to figure out what happened to his toes.
He was really excited watching the airplanes while we waited to board, and even slept for most of the flight.
Once we got to Japan we kept our ambitions in check, limiting our excursions in distance and duration. We left the hotel later in the morning and returned earlier in the evening, and kept to a feeding and nap schedule as much as possible.
But sometimes nap time and dinner time coincided and we had to improvise.
Except for the taxi ride to and from the Taipei airport, we relied solely on public transit and walking. Japan has an incredibly extensive train system that makes this far more convenient than driving.
Since the day he came home, Jr has thrived on being upright and interacting with the world. He wants to be up on a shoulder with his head held high or trying to stand on his own two feet. I won’t be surprised if he skips crawling altogether.
He was thrilled to be out exploring the world and meeting new people.
Of course not everything was to his liking. Or to the liking of his fellow train passengers.
It seems everywhere you go now there are televisions and animated displays. We do our best to avoid them as GCCjr is attracted to them like a moth to a flame. So this is what happens when you bring him to Osaka’s “Time Square”
To balance the sensory overload we spent more time with nature.
In his whole life there are only two times he has fallen asleep on his own, and both were on this trip. We were wondering if when we returned to Taipei, if he would show signs that he recognized “home.” But there was nothing obvious, he seems content just being close to Mom and Dad.
I think we did very well for our first time traveling with a baby. There is only one thing we are considering changing, the use of a stroller.
I’m now convinced that baby strollers are nothing more than glorified shopping carts. At best we might get 30 – 60 minutes of happy stroller time per day, which comes at the price of pushing an empty stroller everywhere and hunting down elevators instead of using stairs or escalators. Based on all of the parents we saw pushing empty strollers while carrying their kid, we aren’t the only ones to discover this.
Baby wearing seems to be where it is at. Further experimentation is warranted.
The experiment will continue in Thailand. We’ve booked 1-way tickets to Chiang Mai for November, further destinations unknown.
Have You Traveled with Small Children?