I thought I would put together some bits and pieces from our experience of taking the 3 kids OS. I had so many questions sent in by parents while I was over there so it’s best I explain what I can and have been asked about here.
Thanks to everyone firstly, who waited till we got home to tell us they thought we were crazy. We know! It became clear in the first few days we were there… maybe on the plane ride over there too.
A baby, and toddler and a ASD boy walk onto a plane…
Pretty much as much as you may prepare, also prepare it may all go out the window. Byron was great. He had movies, food and toys that he actually really didn’t use.
Toddlers and babies are a different story. Most distractions really last under a minute and If there is turbulence, prepare for the baby to just be strapped to you and just do the constant rounds with your partner. Toddlers love to walk the plane…. maybe twice and then they get over it. It helps if nanny and poppy are down the other end. Visits break up the boredom and with any luck they may charm a few fellow passengers and have a giggle or two.
Definitely go the red eye! If you can withstand the kids being awake till one you can bet money they will be out like lights for majority of the flight! ( we did this on the way back) Bliss! But don’t think you will sleep… no don’t be stupid. No, for some ungodly reason you will be staring at the small screen in front of you wondering why the fuck Matt Damons agent didn’t hit him over the head before he signed his contract to ‘The Great Wall’ … shame Matt..the Great Wall of … SHAME.
Don’t forget to keep nappies and bottles with both you and your partner so you aren’t frantically going through one bag and losing your freaking mind.
(Honestly next time we would maybe choose a closer destination given the ages of both the girls)
Also keep in mind all your kids will only need to use the loo or need a nappy change AFTER the seatbelt sign goes back on to tell you to stay seated. As if they would even think going maybe in the 8 hours before then would be logical!?
We stayed at Centatra Resort at Karon Beach, which is just outside of Patong in Phuket. We had previously stayed there before for our honeymoon and loved it. It’s incredibly family friendly and the resort has so much to do for kids. Kidsclub, pools, games and activities nightly we were never short of variety. Karon itself too is a quitter beach area perfect for families and just a short ride away from Kata, Big Buddha, Patong and all the tourist attactractions that will take your fancy! The people are friendly and you are never short of amazing food and restaurants!
Karon is filled with fantastic places to stay or if you want somewhere even quiter, Kata is 10 mins away and has places like Club Med right on the beach.
If more up beat and hustle and bustle is your thing than Patong is 10 mins the other way with every hotel and need you can imagine!
I didn’t realise until we arrived that we must be on our game with the kids. As you can only drink the bottles water in Thailand it can prove tricky with kids especially at shower and teeth brushing time. Never take your eye off them and constantly remind, remind, remind! Byron wasn’t too bad except at shower time. It’s just habit to open your mouth. Evie was tricky because she loves the bath and loves to dunk her head under. Needless to say there were a few arguments.
I tried to just stay on top of bottle sterislation for the baby. Boil boil boil , scrub and have pleanty of bottles on standby.
We survived and got through it without one issue! But it did take up a good amount of time per day.
You just go with it in the end. Here you would have an outcry, a witch hunt, a public hanging for parents not having seat belts on their kids. But if you have been walking around in circles in the sweltering heat for hours with kids crying and needing to go to the toilet every 5 mins or asking for that damn singing, light up minion a billion times… when someone says tuk tuk? You get on the damn thing and just hold on!
And the kids LOVE it. This mum didn’t handle the ride from Patong back to Karon so well with a sleeping baby and massive travel sickness. But we made it in one piece and it’s a funny memory now of our holiday.
Most taxi will have seat belts but not baby seats so it’s just what you deal with. The Bub was usually strapped to one of us and Evie and Byron sat in the back seats looking out for elephants and tigers chasing us. When you see families of 6 all on a motorbike driving home you quickly get used to the norm.
For us, this was the best thing ever. Jim was absolutely dead set years ago that the best thing for Byron was to get him out and traveling as soon as we could. The more he absorbed the better it was (goes with any child). Having such an extensive background in autism and mainly adult autism, he knows the more you open a child up to the world and the realities the better off they will be. Hard fact is sometimes autism has to bend to the rest of the world too. It’s a 2 way street and I know that may be hard to swallow for some parents, but like he says… once they are adults it’s not always in your hands.
Byron shone brightly in a world where language wasn’t the first way of communicating, luxuries weren’t always on hand and new smells , textures and taste were literally every step he took. He picked up Thai phrases easily and was proud to show them off, tried a few new foods he has never experienced, dealt with some of the fumes ( that were horrendous) without a blink of an eye and seemed to connect even more strongly with his identity and place in his family. His sisters were a connection point with everyone he met, Thai, Russian, Italian etc. This actually gave me such a insight to the world we live in and I need to remind myself more often. A huge part of our identity is our family ( crazy or not). Everyone who met B knew that these were his sisters, what they liked , any translations of what they were saying ,?were given, he had 2 dads ( Queensland and Melbourne ) and this is my mum. She likes coffee.
He kept a journal of his travels and noted what each day entailed to show his teacher when he got back. The biggest experience I wanted for him was to be blessed at Big Buddha. In fact once we got there and I watched what you had to do, I was the one saying “oh he won’t be able to do that, he will be noisy and try to talk to him.”
How quickly I was proven wrong by Jim and again reminded mum doesn’t always know best. Jim has a little chat with him and then I watched him walk over to the mats and bend to his knees to make the long knee crawl to the monk sitting at the alter. He did the whole thing calmly and gracefully and walked back with a huge smile on his face . “Mum.. that.. that guy there.. he .. he gave me this cool braclet!”
You could see the monk grinning from the loud comment. It was pretty cool.
We went back to Thailand for a big reason being the people! AMAZING ! The kindest and friendliest peeps on the planet!
For those who follow us on Instagram or FB you would have seen my loose attempt at collecting pictures of the fans of the kids. It didn’t do any of what happened justice. Every single day, multiple groups of people would ask for pics or cuddles with the kids. In the beginning it was mainly Japanese or Chinese tourist who were insanely polite and sweet. The whole thing was just adorable and fun. But then it moved to all nationalities. Our visit to Juncyclon shopping centre felt like we were walking around with Beiber! We ended up leaving and slightly baffled. Understandably it’s pretty common if your kids are fair and blue or green eyed, you will get swamped. If your kids also play up to it and smile and wave at everyone they see.. ( namely our baby… yes Zuzu, I’m talking about you) then you will be in for the circus.
A lot of people have commented or written in to be careful or jump to conclusions of the worst, but it’s not. Many of the groups were families themselves and were happy for me to take photos of them aswell. They were in on the fun. I refuse to always see the worst in people. It’s draining and sad and just not always the case. Plus we had a entourage and between parents and grandparents we had every angle covered.
Anyway , it’s a common occurrence and a lot of fun when you go with it. The kids were thrilled at meeting so many new people!
Ok… this is the easiest topic! Food and restaurants are everywhere and it’s all pretty fantastic and cheap!
Most people in the first few days hit the booze hard because… well cocktails are just dirt cheap and it seems to just be the trend. By the 3rd day you pretty much get over it. BUT you don’t get over the food. Whether it’s street food or fine dining you have pleanty of great options. And in Thailand … they do all good very well! They kids went pretty over board on the good old nuggets and chips, so much so one particular day after B had potentially eaten way way too much… the kids just had vegimite toast all day. And dam even that was good!
For a family of 5 including drinks we were looking at about 30-40 bucks for all of us. And there was always left overs. By the end of the trip it got considerably less because the kids just could never finish even half a meal and we just ended up settling for entree plates to share.
I do miss the satay chicken… so much.. so, so much!
Basically in summary… travel with kids isn’t a picnic in the park.
You won’t be relaxing on a beach for hours and catching up on all your favourite books.
BUT, you see the world through a whole set of fresh eyes. Wonderment, adventure, discovery… in my humble opinion we learnt more about the world and ourselves than we ever did traveling by ourselves.
It was something that bonded us as a family and strengthened our relationships. It reminded us that we work best together and together we can do anything. (Cue sappy music to a finale ). It also gave a great appreciation of how truly lucky we are!