I booked our Bali holiday accommodation when Joshi was 5 months old. At the time I wasn’t assuming that he’d be walking by the time he was 1 yr old. Had I’d known at the time that he would be, I may have spent some time looking for a more toddler-friendly place to stay. Does such a place really exist?
Toddler friendly doesn’t just mean that the staff are friendly to your toddler. The whole environment needs to be conducive to you being able to at least not be completely exhausted throughout and for weeks after your holiday. At this stage I’m thinking we’ll be going home to recover – tired and tanned.
Firstly, where we’re staying we have a lovely wooden, eco friendly cottage with a large balcony. It’s gorgeous, but the three steps we have to go up are three large steps that we have to make sure Joshi doesn’t fall down.
Then there’s the beautiful pathway of concrete blocks, each exquisitely embedded with the prints of various leaves – a ‘tripping over and falling onto concrete’ hazard for Joshi. (Also, each morning the gardener lays red flowers along the path, but while Joshi’s still exploring the world through his mouth none of them are there for long).
The warm but refreshing salt swimming pool, just metres from our room, is another potential hazard. Joshi loves to see how fast he can run up to the edge of the pool. It’s keeping us on our toes. We can’t say we’re not getting enough excercise on this holiday.
Then there’s our bathroom. It’s divine, especially for a toddler. It’s the place Joshi most wants to be. It’s the place we least want him. It’s open to the sky, half covered by a thatched roof. At the far end is very charming pond with a goddess statue in the centre, surrounded by merky lily-filled water and happy frogs. All Joshi wants to do is run across the usually wet and slippery concrete floor, pull out and eat the lilies, drink the merky water and climb into the pond. Whenever one of us is in the bathroom we have to lock the door behind us, leaving Joshi on the other side. Time spent it our bathroom is never long nor enjoyable because inevitably Joshi spends the whole time banging on the door and calling out in frustrated baby language to be let in. If either of us need longer than a few seconds on the loo then Joshi definitely has to be locked out. Gone on the days when I could hold him on my lap and use the loo at the same time. He’s just too wiggly jiggly and too enthusiastic about exploring the world to be able to sit still or more than a few moments, unless he’s eating.
Water and ponds feature high here. In addition to our bathroom, the pool and the pond, there’s the organic restaurant which is surrounded by a water and lilly-filled moat. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve saved Joshi from tripping into those merky waters.
… On the plus side, it’s been really wonderful being on holiday with a 1 year old for the following reasons:
1. I’ve loved, loved, loved having a complete break from cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry and tidying up Joshi’s trail of destruction. Not only that, the place we’re staying in has a cloth nappy laundry service! Can you believe it? For the first time ever (and probably the last) Joshi’s nappies liners have been ironed. I think his private bits must think they’re in heaven.
2. The Balinese people love babies, so everywhere we go everyone wants to play with, tickle, cuddle and talk to Joshi. It’s great. Unfortunately he’s not happy to be scooped out of our arms by anyone and everyone but there have been some long moments of him being happy to be with the Balinese waitresses in our restaurant. They totally fell in love with Joshi as soon as they saw him. On our first night here they whipped him and took him on a private tour of the kitchen. They sang to him for his belated birthday celebration, brought him a slice of candle lit chocolate cake and planted kisses on his cheek. It’s all reinforced for me how children are best raised in communities and not by individuals alone at home. It feels so warming and nurturing to be surrounded by people who are so happy and keen to be really hands on with him.
3. Also, it’s been great to do something completely out of our comfort zone and to know that despite the challenge, we can actually cope. Of course the next part of our journey is going to be the real test for me. Simon’s going to be on the Art of Living Part 2 Course for 5 days while I take care of Joshi. Simon will be up each day at 5.30am for a 6am start and then on the course until 10pm. Tag teaming time for me is almost over! Wish me luck!