- Travel is no longer that simple. When I went away to Brazil, my mother came to stay with Ayaan but this time, she couldn’t make it. So I had to first fly to Jaipur and drop Ayaan there. Then I flew to Delhi and took the London flight from there. On the way back, Jai went to Delhi for some meetings and then hopped across to Jaipur to bring Ayaan back while I flew directly from Mumbai to London. Phew! The planning was exhausting and we spent a small fortune in air tickets.
- I got to realise how much Ayaan has moved on from being the clingy, stranger-allergic baby he used to be. I majorly built up his week away long before we actually left and I could see he was pretty excited about it. From the moment we reached the Mumbai airport, he would look across at me every now and then to questioningly ask ‘Patti?’ He took to my mom instantly. What’s more, while my mom was away at work, she got my old nanny (who lives in Jaipur) to come across and babysit and Ayaan had no problem with hanging out with her either. My little baby is growing up!
- Kingfisher is absolutely the best domestic airline to fly with kids. They have individual TV screens for each seat, invaluable for keeping restless toddlers glued to their seats. The not-so-fun part was hitting turbulence in the middle of a diaper change in the loo – but I will not gross you out with more details on that.
- I was told that England would be chilly and carried loads of warm stuff but it was actually sunny all the days that I was there. I didn’t need a sweater at all during the day. It was quite a shock to step into the hot and humid Mumbai weather after that.
- You have so much more choice in terms of baby wear and toys abroad. I wanted to buy the entire shop for Ayaan but restricted myself to a new Noddy (the old one looks pretty bad now), a few books, magnetic alphabets and some cute trousers and socks from baby Gap.
- My separation anxiety (please note that Ayaan showed no such symptoms and barely mentioned my name a couple of times) kind of followed a bell curve. I was really upset and depressed when I left but then my mood kind of picked up once I reached and I quite enjoyed myself – I felt almost liberated for a while. But then towards the end, I started craving for home and Ayaan again. I think a week is at the limit of how long I can be away from him without feeling sad and/ or guilty.
- There were a lot of international participants at the course and a few other moms as well. In discussions with them, I was shocked to note the difference in maternity leave policies across the world. The UK is the best – with 9 months of paid maternity leave (wow!). But I was shocked to find that in the US, you get only six weeks of paid maternity leave and then another six weeks of unpaid leave, should you decided to avail of it. Six weeks! That is just ridiculous. And this from the country that is the most vociferous about the fact that children need to be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. How is that even possible with a maximum of 12 weeks?
Anyway, that’s all from me for the moment. I will be back soon.