I took advantage of the General Elections long weekend last week to take a trip to Jakarta and visit my 86 year old Grandma. Irene had volunteered to be a polling agent and was planning to attend a post Elections party on Saturday, so I figured that I would try and bring Zoey on my own.
Zoey has travelled out of Singapore a number of times, but this was the first time we were taking a trip without Irene. It also meant that I had to be more strategic in the way I packed the things to bring, both carry on and checked in. My family had requested for a number of things to be brought over for them, so I had to be sure we could bring the things without having to pay for excess baggage. I also needed to ensure I had enough things to entertain Zoey during the flight and the infamous Jakarta traffic jams.
So instead of Zoey’s bumble bee trolley bag, I packed her toys and books into her school bag instead. It is smaller and easier to stack on top of my trolley bag. My laptop, which is usually carried in Irene’s backpack went into my trolley bag. I carried Zoey’s snacks, milk, change of clothes and diapers in my tote bag. I opted to use the tote bag instead of the normal backpack for ease of access to all the items. Our passports, my wallet and phone was in a small sling bag that I kept on me all the time.
I managed to pack all our clothes, toiletries and extra packets of milk into 1 small suitcase. Everything else was all my family’s stuff.
The one thing I struggled with was whether or not I should bring my tablet. I wanted to have the option of using Sesame Street videos to entertain Zoey when she was bored, but did not want to make it a habit.
It turned out I did not have to worry at all. Since Zoey does not normally get access to the tablet, she did not ask for it at all. Once we got on the plane, she leafed through the inflight magazines before sitting down and doing colouring. She sang, pooped, ate and played for the short 1.5 hour flight. After that she slept on the way to Grandma’s house and woke up to skip, hop and jump there.
Throughout the 3 days, she read, played with her toys, stickers, broke some crayons and did loads of colouring. She never asked to watch TV or play with even my phone. She was well behaved, ate her meals and went to sleep at reasonable times. It made my first solo trip with her a truly enjoyable experience. The fact that she bonded with her Great Grandma over books and toys was fantastic and I have never seen my Grandma so engaged with a young child. She was constantly looking and smiling at Zoey, asking if she wanted food, drinks etc.
This trip reinforced my commitment for Zoey to continue being a low tech kid. I feel she gets so much more from human interaction as compared to sitting in front of the TV or tablet. I also don’t think she feels that she is missing out because even though the TV was on in my Grandma’s room, she was too busy jumping and playing to pay attention to it. In the end, I did not even have to take the tablet out. For the entire 3 days we were in Jakarta, Zoey was completely tech free. I consider that a win!