On the road with kids

On the road with kids

Travelling with kids is no mean feat...

Travelling with kids

"Are we nearly there yet?” It was the 28th time I was answering this wonderfully philosophical question. I did the routine — grit teeth, chant ‘vacation, vacation’ in the head, answer in a deadpan voice — “Almost.” The response to this curt reply had also been repeated as many times and it involved a potent mix of elaborate sighs, sudden high-pitched singing and utterly aimless foraging.

What made us think of taking a road trip to Chikkamagaluru from Bengaluru with a restless three-year-old is a question for another day. For now, we were on the road, thankfully almost near our destination, and I could see the dreaded question building up inside her again. Before she could ask, I suggested she admire the scenery. She did. For 40 seconds. And then asked if she should keep on ‘demiring’.

This was getting pretty hopeless. So, I decided to daydream about the lovely cottage on the banks of River Bhadra that we were headed to. Or, at least, that is what the internet had promised.

The majestic Bhadra did not disappoint; the cottage was cosy as assured. Just that, it was perched on top of a hill and could be reached only by trekking along a mile-long hanging bridge and climbing countless roughly hewn rocky steps — each almost the height of my little girl. Worse, the dining room was perched on another hill. Either no one had come here with a little kid or only fitness freaks who dreamed of gyms on vacations had. None of the glowing reviews of the property had even breathed about this long trek.

Hearteningly enough, the toddler told us enthusiastically that she is ready to climb “all” the steps!

She climbed two.

So, we long-suffering parents steeled ourselves and took turns in heaving our heavy bodies, backpacks and a wiggly toddler up and down the hill several times in the day. It made us as cranky as she was after the long road trip as well as tired and frustrated. Vacation, despite all the chanting we did, was beginning to feel like just a relocation to yell and whine some more. Child-rearing is an uphill task, did you say!

Much later, at dusk, we were taking a boat ride on the serene river and the crimson sun was dropping anchor. Calm was finally upon us. She looked up at me with her trusting, droopy eyes and said, “Mamma, the sun is also going on a holiday!” I knew then, no matter how trying it got at times, a vacation without this little human’s big words was no fun at all.