Friday, December 14, 2012

Phuket Adventures Day 1: Pre- Phuket

We are in Phuket. We will be for the next few days. It's a holiday for JED. Ours was Vietnam. This is theirs. We had to wake up at 4 am this morning and by this point, everyone is tired and cranky. There was a great amount of excitement and anticipation before we arrived. They asked every day if that was the day they were going to go to Phuket. Eventually, to shut them up, I allowed them to pack their bags.

What they packed was hilarious.

Jordan packed a long skirt, a whole lot of underwear (you can never have enough clean underwear), a couple of tops, her Ellie (of course), her Bible and her sketchbook. No shorts despite the fact that we were going to be at a beach resort.

Evan brought nothing but sleep clothes and underwear. But he did remember to pack his Almanac. When asked why he didn't pack anything else, he said it wasn't necessary. He was going to be just staying in the hotel.

Okay, point taken.

I re-packed their bags though. I took out some of their clothes out and replaced it with more books and toys. We actually allowed them to bring their own hand carry. No doubt it was troublesome because they kept leaving it to us. But for maybe 70% of the time, they were trying to manoeuvre the luggages for themselves.

We thought the packing and the actual handling of their bags necessary life skill training for them.

I recently had a conversation with a student. She comes from a privilleged home and goes on long holidays. Before leaving for the most recent one, she was lamenting that she had a lot of packing to do. She also complained that it was unfair that she had to do her own packing (which to me should already be the common expectation of a 16 year old) and that her 14 year old brother didn't have to. Her mother's explanation for why she packed for the younger brother but not my student was that my student had better know how to do that because she would have to one day pack for her husband. And by extension of that, her brother would also expect his wife to pack for him.

My brain couldn't compute that idea and I swore at that point that JED, whether boy or girl would know how to pack and they were starting now, at age 5. It didn't matter how messy it was, as long as they got the gist of what packing meant. There wasn't going to be the criteria of 'must be able to pack my clothes while travelling' when finding a spouse, especially for the boys. Jordan, we were going to teach to say 'if my brothers can pack their own bags, so can you.'

When Evan asked me about half an hour ago, why I didn't bring his goggles, I said that it was because he didn't pack it and he accepted it.

JED's grandparents complained about the cumbersome nature of their cabin bags. Yes they were. They got under our legs, hit us on our ankles, we tripped on them and they blocked people's way. Every time they left it behind, I threatened to leave it by the bin for the next kid willing to pull it along. That ensured they took charge of their bags most of the time. Too often, we see children just walking along oblivious to the entourage that carries their paraphernalia and they grow up with a sense of entitlement that is just to frightening to comprehend.

So, despite the inconveniences it brings us; after all it would be easier for me to pack directly and for us to carry a huge bag containing all they need or wanted, we think it is necessary that they slowly learn to be independent in these ways. 

We look forward to the day we can travel without milk bottles, milk powder and diapers and when they can happily deal with their own bags. That day is drawing nearer and nearer and like JED who cannot wait for vacations like these, we cannot wait for them to have that amount of independence on vacation.

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  1. We borrowed a trunki for our last trip back to visit my hubby's family. It was a life-saver! Poppy spent so much time playing with it at our long stopover in Doha. Now we have one of the little Dora ones and she uses it for sleepovers. It really is so funny when they pack their own suitcases, isn't it? :) I think I started packing my own (for real, without my mum re-checking) when I was about 9.

  2. Adora,
    I think we get a little insight into how their minds work. Which is, to say the least, boggling!

  3. Alison has been packing her own suitcase for the last few years now, and Zoe just started this year - we had to buy her a suitcase of her own so that she would be equals with jie jie. Alison tends to bring a lot of books, while Zoe will sneak in bits of Lego and Playmobil. ;)


  4. we got isaac his own cabin bag for our trips this hols and what i did was to make a list for him; he then collected the items on the list from the drawers himself.

    of course papa had to step in after - the boy collected the things & simply dumped the items in the bag. sigh. papa put them in travel bags & arranged stuff to maximise the space. it helps to have a hubby who is obsessed with putting things in their place. hee. :)

  5. Rachel, JED's Papa is nothing like Isaac's Papa. :) He doesn't do lists or travel bags. So, I will just slowly teach the kids to do it. First, they need to figure out how to read my instructions. :)

  6. Jean,
    Your Zoe is my Evan. And Alison and Jordan sound about the same. I can't wait to see what Muffin will pack. His whole Hot wheels collection perhaps.