Multicultural Kids Blog Telephone Travel VLog!

Via flickr.com ajc1

Via flickr.com ajc1

Hello Everyone!

Once again I find I am pushing myself to the edge of my comfort zone. In fact, I think I’ve pretty much jumped off the cliff, free-fall, no parachute.

The wonderful bloggers from the Raising Multicultural Kids Blogging group have decided to take a page out of Blunt Moms and to our own little traveling telephone round.

This is a great group and you will learn lots of interesting things about traveling with kids. I apologies in advance for the uhms, and you knows. It was late, I was tired, and mostly mortified at outing my story. (And my friend had kindly warned me about avoiding YKs and Likes so my video is inevitably peppered with them -sigh.)

My question, “What is your most memorable travel experience that was completely unplanned?” came from Amanda atMaroc Mama and I am asking Bronwyn from Journeys of the Fabulist (how fabulous is that name!) “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made traveling with your kids?”

Please make your way around the circle. I promise most bloggers will be more succinct than mine. I apologise for hiding in the shadows but you really don’t want to see that much of me that late at night. Oh and one last warning, you may wish to visit the loo before.

#MKB Multicultural Kids Blog traveling video Log telephone circle. from Cordelia Newlin de Rojas on Vimeo.

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Eco Farming in Northern Thailand: off to commune with composting toilets.

The title says it all. Part personal journey, part homeschooling adventure, I am on my last dregs of Internet connectivity before going dark for two weeks. See you in the other side!

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Top 10 Musts When Traveling By Plane With Young Children. (In addition to copious booze, which goes without saying)

This summer I survived -among other things- a 23 hour journey alone with a 5-year-old, a 2.5 year old, two planes, and a final long car journey and this is what I learned.

Bad hand-luggage, good outfits. See 4a, 4b,5a. All rights reserved.

Bad hand-luggage, good outfits. See 4a, 4b, & 5b. All rights reserved.

1. Don’t pack too much. You are better off paying a fee to get laundry done somewhere then having to lug endless changes of clothes with you. If staying with friends, I’ve always found access to their washing machine has been no problem.

2. Following on point 1, expect to carry, pull, roll whatever cute case or bag you have purchased for your wee one. Your best bet is to make it small enough you can chuck it into your own hand luggage if necessary. Check to see if your airline still gives out kid-packs. I found that my kids were entertained with their free sponge bob giveaway activity packs and the in-flight entertainment for the 16+  hours of airport travel. Imagine my joy having lugged 8kg of books or about 50% of Usborn’s toddler line.

2a. Leave space in your hand-luggage for kid’s bag.

3. Have them pack their own bag. That way, if they suddenly want a toy they don’t have, they won’t be able to blame you.

by CNdR creativecommons

4. Never, ever, ever bother with hand-luggage that does not have a set of wheels on it. Not a rolling suitcase requiring overhead storage but something that has wheels and can fit under your seat.

4a. If you simply cannot get something small enough that fits in your own luggage for your  kids, best to follow same adult hand luggage rules and acquire a backpack type bag with wheels so it can stay at your feet and get easy access. (Trunki cases, as seen here, were a very bad idea)

4b. Make sure you do the tipping-test with said bags. Nothing is worse – yes nothing– than a 4-year-old with a packed Thomas the train wheely bag that keeps falling forward. Hello Tantrums, I didn’t plan to see you ’til halfway through the flight, not before we’ve even made it through security! (I learnt this on my previous long haul crossing. )

5. Always pack a change of clothes for each child and adult. Pack each one separately in a ziplock bag. It will be easily found and then you already have sealed bag for juice, sauce, vomit encrusted clothes.

ziplocksdontleavehomewithoutthem

5a. Ladies, don’t forget an extra bra. Vomit is far-reaching. I was a 34DD/E when nursing and learned the hard way on a 14 hour flight.

5b. While we are on the topic of clothes, dressing the kids alike is also helpful to spot them in a crowd of if you’ve temporarily misplaced one.

6. Insist on sippy cups. I don’t care how precocious your kid is at drinking with regular cups. They will spill something at some point, most likely on the stranger sitting next to them or your last spare set of clothes.

7. Many planes have headset plugs that only fit their headsets, which do not fit small children. Bring a small beany baby or bean bag to help create a fit that won’t budge. Spongebob giveaway on Qatar was an emergency solution but far from ideal.

By CNdR all rights reserved.

By CNdR all rights reserved.

8. Make sure the airlines/transit airports you are visiting’s planes actually go all the way to the terminal. Having to manage kids & bags down metal stairs in the desert [hello Doha] and on to bus to terminal only to repeat the process to get on the next plane will have you wishing you were never born.

9. Pack plenty of hand sanitizer, kleenex and wipes. Also pack lipbalm and an extra one if you have klepto kids like mine. Finally lollypops for ascents and descents. Caution: give them too early and take off traffic will mean they’ve finished them before the plane has begun to flex its flaps and rev its engines.

10. Pick an Asian or Middle Eastern Airline if you can. Seriously. I’ll take an extra flight and layover anytime with people who appear to adore my kids more than their own flesh and blood relatives than a direct flight with people who look at me with that ‘don’t think I am going to look after your brat while you go to the toilet’ look. Thai Airways, Qatar, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Tiger, Asia, etc… these people understand children, their limitations on flights, and how a welcoming environment makes everyone more relaxed and as a result better behaved than a hostile one.

And for those of you who noticed it is actually more than 10…well has anything ever gone according to plan with kids? My point exactly.

Milk, Wheat and Word Construction.

I was at a loss for words as I pondered what to write for the Bilingual Carnival hosted this month by Gato and Canard. I decided to join the corporate ranks and experiment in the art of outsourcing read I contacted our host to ask her if there was anything in particular she would be interested in. She responded that she would like a post on WORDS. Yes I found this funny given I had none in my mind but then something happened. I remembered a post I’ve wanted to write for the last eight months but have never been able to get around to, until now.

When we visited some of my family in France last summer, I had huge hopes and perhaps even expectations —always a dangerous thing— of how my oldest daughter’s spoken French would emerge. Despite only spending just under 3 weeks and having her Spanish-speaking father and English-speaking Grandfather around, I felt confident that given her understanding of French, the words would suddenly come spilling out.

I can assure you this did not happen. Fortunately the disappointment was lessened by my enjoyment of a particularly cold summer —we live in the tropics so this is good news to me— coupled with other family dramas that moved language acquisition right to the bottom of my list of worries. But before my attention was absorbed with more pressing matters, I did manage to jot down one of my favorite linguistic anecdotes to date.

Towards the end of our drive from Paris Charles de Gaulle to southern Normandy where we were initially staying, we passed a number of wheat fields. Having lived in New York City, Singapore and traveled to Mexico where the only fields my eldest had seen were brown, of shopping malls and a blue-green one of agave. I was excited to point out the fields of wheat and explain what they were. My relationship with nature and particularly my understanding of where food comes from had nearly always originated during my summer holidays in France as a child; I looked forward to sharing this with P.

Me: “Regarde le champ de Blé!” [Look at the wheat field!]

P: “du lait?” [milk?]

Me: “Non, du BLÉ” [No, wheat]

P: “oui LAIT!” [ yes milk]

Me “Non, B-B-B + lé. BLÉ” [No + attempt to sound out wheat in French]

P: “Oui, B-B-B + lait”

Me, now ecstatic: “OUI! BLÉ!”

P: “OUI! B-B-B- MILK!”

Ok, I can see how that would make sense to her.

Word construction is a funny thing. Most of us don’t think about it much except perhaps during SATs, in the US anyway and maybe when our children start speaking. But there is a whole other level of fun that happens with many multilingual kids as they work to tease out sounds, words and separate languages.

I hope you will share your favorite creative word or sentence construction!