About a week after Kira turned four months old, she got on her first plane. That plane took her on a 12 hour flight destined to Tokyo, which was followed by a 7 hour flight headed to Singapore, followed by a 3 hour flight that landed in Bali. All told – including the flights, missed connections, delays spent on airport floors, and hours in transit to and from airports – the journey lasted 37 hours.
Traveling that long with a four month old could have been a disaster. Thankfully, our infant traveller took the whole thing in stride. Kira didn’t cry once throughout the journey, made friends along the way, garnered us several compliments from fellow passengers, and generally enjoyed the new experience called international travel. John and I couldn’t have been more thankful for her exceptional performance.
When we had the idea to spend two months in Bali with a small child, even we knew it was a little insane. But over the last two months Kira has had a myriad of new experiences here that have proven not only is she much more adaptable and resilient than we expected, she seems to downright love this whole travel thing. Every new experience we expose her to brings more smiles and a seemingly increased sense of adventure. Seeing how happy and well adjusted she is tells us we did the right thing by bringing her here.
It doesn’t hurt that the Balinese people adore Kira. Everywhere we go it’s like traveling with a little celebrity. Men and women of all ages stop what they’re doing to hold her, make goofy faces at her and do anything they can to make her smile. It seems like everyone in this country loves babies, and Kira just basks in the attention. A few friends who visited us were a bit surprised that we let waitstaff at restaurants wander off with our kid – often taking her into the kitchen or the back gardens out of our sight – but we love it. She has a great time being fawned over, the staff enjoys playing with our baby instead of standing around bored, and John and I get to enjoy an adult meal together. Triple win! Bringing a baby into a restaurant in Ubud feels more like a blessing than an annoyance, like it sometimes seems to be in the US. (This US perspective is so ingrained in me that it took a while to get over the idea that the staff only took our daughter off of our hands out of a sense of obligation. I’m not sure I completely got over that fear, actually.) The extra bonus is that it has made Kira very comfortable with new people – and taught us a few new faces and sounds to make that bring her joy!
In addition to experiencing all this new travel-related stuff, Kira is also moving along the standard path of baby progression. She started sitting unsupported the day after she turned five months old. I wasn’t expecting it to make such a change to see her sitting alone, but the impact it had on me was huge. It seemed like she went from being a little helpless baby to a capable little girl overnight!
She has also recently started eating solid foods. In lieu of making pureed baby food we decided to do baby led weaning, which basically means Kira just eats regular food alongside us. Its safe to start letting babies feed themselves once they are six months old and can sit up unsupported. The general wisdom is that once a baby can reach for food and put it to their own mouth successfully they are ready to play around with eating. We weren’t planning to start with solids until we got back to the US but Kira started reaching for food off of our plates, so we let her start eating. John wanted her to experience tropical fruit, so her first taste of food was dragon fruit, the spiky pink fruit that looks kind of like a beet inside. Kira treated it more like an art project than a snack, but that’s all part of the process..
Since the dragon fruit we’ve given her some cooked carrots, a tomato, bread, and cucumber slices. Just yesterday she intercepted my spoon between yogurt and mouth and fed it to herself. I guess she is ready to start using flatware.
A huge perk to our tropical location is the backyard swimming pool. Kira pretty much loved swimming from the first moment we put her into the pool. She loves kicking her feet, and she does it extra fast if we sing Chariots of Fire while she’s doing it (don’t ask how we even discovered this.) Her super posh swimsuit and hat came from her Grandma Cindy.
After the pool it’s time for a bath. I think the red bucket I bought at the grocery store is meant for washing dishes, but it perfectly seats a six month old baby. :)
She used to dislike the bath in Colorado where she easily got cold (demonstrated by the expression on the left), but in Bali she loves the bath because its so warm (see the expression on the right)!Gratuitous bath time photos are my right as a parent.She started making this funny snort face when her Auntie Jen was in town. Jen couldn’t stop laughing at it, which I think just spurned Kira on to keep making it. Once Jen left, John and I have tried hard not to react to the face so she won’t go around snorting all the time, but she still likes to do it every now and then. It is kind of hilarious. But don’t tell Kira that.Something she loves more than bath time – playing with daddy. We call him the Director of Roughhousing because he always finds new crazy ways to throw her around and make her giggle in the kind of way only dads can.As a photographer, I know the following series of selfies is not very technically sound. But as a mama, I love it anyway.
Enough messing around – time to get on those feetie pajamas.You can’t get a good night’s sleep without sampling your toes first. Didn’t you know that? Turns out I’ve been doing it wrong for years…Per the usual, I’ll end with our family selfie. (One of these days we’ll get Kira to look at the lens at the right moment.) The house we stayed at in Bali would have made a sublime backdrop for a family photo shoot featuring all three of us, but alas I cannot clone myself to both take the photos and be in them. (Many thanks to John for tolerating my directions to take the photos of me above. All the rest I did.) I would have loved to have a true family shoot here, but this will just have to do for now.
We leave tomorrow for a few days in Singapore and then back to the US to restart life in Colorado. I’m crossing my fingers that Kira will travel even half as well as a six month old as she did as a four month old. Either way we will be home in Denver next week. I look forward to all the summertime adventures ahead of us!