Sandeep is constantly telling me I need to be more vigilant. About the kids, about walking on the street, about watching my stuff. Historically, I’ve been known to be too carefree. So today when Kayan took a tumble down the stairs Sandeep earned the right to say “I told you so.”
This trip has already made me more mindful. There certainly appear to be many more ways to maim a child here than at home. Open fires, open ditches, no seat belts, no helmets, no railings… But I’ve also been trying to stay relaxed, to maintain my belief that kids should be able to run around without hovering parents.
Sandeep has also been trying his best to be less calculating about all the terrible things that can happen to us. He was even willing to make the one and a half hour trip to Chiang Dao and back in a Songtaew, the open pick up truck that he so feared on day one in Thailand. And he was trying to let go by allowing Kayan to run around the garden of our restaurant.
And then Kayan fell down the stairs and ended up looking like this.
Luckily, for being an active toddler, this is the worst damage he’s ever had. Both Sandeep and I are trying to strike the balance between caring for our children and allowing them room to explore. What that means will probably change as we go through this trip. But in the end, isn’t that the balance that any parent anywhere in the world struggles to find?
I forgot to add in yesterday’s post that Thais are very calm and collected people. Even their toddlers have composed tantrums. The most common phrase here is Mai Pen Rai or “never mind” and Chai Yen Yen or “take it easy”.
It’s this serenity that I was hoping to find by parking the family in Chiang Mai for a month. Unfortunately, because we chose to stay close to the Old City, we very much feel like we are still living in a city. We sought respite today by taking a private cycling trip south of Chiang Mai.
It was Ava and Kayan’s first time on cycles. By on cycles, I mean strapped to them. One objective of this trip that is already playing out is Ava and Kayan bonding. They are so attached to each other that they refused to sit in separate trailers. This worked out well for Sandeep since he was excited about getting some outdoor exercise. And it worked out well for me because I am all about leisure.
Our guide, Meaow, was patient with the kids (yes, Kayan had another tantrum, but it was on a much smaller scale today) and gave us an orientation to Thai Buddhism. The Buddhist temples I had seen in other parts of Asia are less ornate than the ones in Thailand. Her explanation was that the temples are bright to represent light or ‘the way’. I don’t know much about Thai Buddhism, and have added that to my things-to-learn-on-this trip list.
Ava was having some trouble with the way, because when she saw this Ferris wheel, she said “Look Mom, we reached Coney Island!”
We got our break from the city and have already asked Meaow to take us out next week to visit Doi Saket, a nearby mountain. I hope Sandeep is still up for carting the two kids when we reach those hills.