We’re back home after two lovely weeks of getting our bottoms frozen in Japan. It was amazing, I’d highly recommend the experience. If one has to get one’s bottom frozen, Japan is a most wonderful place to do it.
I’ll get to the trip soon but first, I feel like we need to talk about traveling with an infant.
You know all those articles about 20 tips to survive a trip with a baby with photos of a happy smiley baby on a flight like so?
LIES. ALL LIES.
Here’s one tip from someone who has actually survived a trip with a baby: DON’T DO IT.
Unless you’re like me and you enjoy the finer things in life such as shovelling food frantically into your face in 15 seconds while standing next to your table rocking an angry baby in a cramped izakaya, or hoisting a squirmy sack of rice all day while strolling around the city, or spending your nights asking your baby repeatedly “Y U NO SLEEP, BABY???”, or feeling like you’re exhausted out of your mind every minute of the entire holiday, then go ahead and bring that baby along!! It’ll be a holiday you’ll never forget!
For starters, baby Hayley wasn’t too impressed with the cold. The big kids were like “woooo snow, awesome“, but the baby was all “WHY ARE YOU GUYS DOING THIS TO ME I’M JUST 8 MONTHS OLD I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS!!” even though we dressed her in super warm thermals, fleece footed jammies and a poofy coat. Poor baby would look increasingly miserable as the temperature dipped and if we wanted to know how cold it was, we’d just need to look at her face. It was actually hilarious because she would start shouting like “ahhhhh ahhhhh aaarrgghhh” whenever it got too cold, which would be our cue to duck into a mall or somewhere indoors to warm up.
What’s the temperature here? Misery.
Speaking of the cold, as you know, I’ve mastered the art of breastfeeding the baby on the go and it was super convenient to just latch on the baby whenever she got hungry. It worked really well until we got to Niseko when I decided to just feed her at a quiet corner out in the snow because it was too much of a hike uphill to make it back to the hotel. I didn’t realise how cold it would be to breastfeed a baby out in the snow. Let’s just say that having a -10 degree arctic blast hit me right in the boob is something I’ll remember for a long, long time.
During this trip, I also discovered that baby Hayley does not like sleeping anywhere that is not her home. As it is, she already does not like to sleep much at home but when we were away, it was much, much worse.
She would struggle for an hour to fall asleep every night only to wake up every 30 minutes throughout the night. She developed a new rule of sleeping, wherein I had to lie down very close beside her and not move an inch. If I so much as twitched a muscle, she would immediately wake up and cry. So brutal.
I’m not gonna lie, it was exhausting and there was more shouting than I was prepared for. But I don’t know, if I could do it all over again, I think I’d still want to bring the baby along.
We were at Sapporo Beer Garden one night just watching the snow fall gently around us while trying to walk off a particularly tasty dinner. The big kids were rolling around in the snow making snow angels and I had baby Hayley nestled against my chest. She looked around at the snowflakes falling like tiny crystals in the night, at all the pretty lights dancing along the street, then back up at me and her face broke out into the widest, happiest grin.
That was so much joy in her squishy little face I cannot even.
She’s probably not going to remember that moment but that’s ok because I will.
I got to see my baby experience snow falling on her nose for the first time. I got to watch her eyes light up on It’s A Small World ride in Disneyland. I got to feed her the first bite of creamy Hokkaido soft serve (she went completely insane right after, flapping away frantically in the direction of the delicious ice cream. When we were done, she spent several minutes trying to eat the leftover taste of soft serve from my mouth like “what?? No more ice cream? I will have to eat your face!!“).
My philosophy for traveling used to be that we had to pack in as much fun and enjoyment into every moment of every day. EVERYONE NEEDED TO HAVE FUN AT ALL TIMES! I’d get bummed if things went wrong or kids got tired and grouchy. That’s just too much pressure for any trip.
These days, I’ve learnt to take it for what it is – a time to get away and hang out with the people who bring me joy.