Thursday, 7 June 2007

Globe toddler

Bambi was born in Cape Town. At six weeks we took her to Zambia and at ten months we moved her to Scotland. For the first year and a bit of her life, those first six weeks represented the longest period of time during which she hadn't flown somewhere. She flew to the bush. She visited South Africa a few times. She's also been to Victoria Falls. The more I think about it, the more I realise that I have tended to treat my daughter a bit like a laptop.

Perhaps it's because of this early start, but she travels really well. Of particular entertainment value is her early interest in languages. You see, Bambi may have only walked at 15 months, but she's been talking since 11 months. She's just never been worried about giving words a go. So when the hotel concierge in Paris said, 'Bonjour!' to my wee 14 month old princess as she crawled behind the reception desk, she shot back a 'Bonjour!' all of her own. And we got the best service imaginable for the rest of our stay.

In South Africa she leaves most homes with a breezy 'Totsiens!' and greets anyone with a tan with 'Molo!'. As there are actually 11 official languages in South Africa she's not always on the money, but her efforts raise a smile anyway.

I do sometimes question our decision to live a nomadic life and, in the rundown to a move, I do worry about the effect this could have on Bambi. It was, after all, our choice, not hers. She has friends here - in fact she definitely has a best friend here. One whose absence will be noticed and whose presence will be missed. I keep in touch with my friends and I hope to teach her to do the same but it is a difficult one to explain to one so young.

I just hope that her budding interest in different cultures and languages makes it as worthwhile for her as it is for her parents. I hope that she doesn't hate us one day for not having given her a geographic base from an early age. On the whole she seems pretty happy with her lot in life. But teenagers can be decidedly odd - you just don't know what to expect. I fear the hormones, and the ammunition I may have given them!

For those who read between lines, yes, our big news is that we will be moving in the next few months. The details of the destination have yet to be ironed out. But here's a clue. We're probably going somewhere we've never lived before, but I anticipate living there as much as if I were going home...

14 comments:

Kaycie said...

When my older kids were very little we moved quite a lot, albeit only in the states. They always seemed to find it an adventure and I think that it was good for them. This last move was so difficult, I think because we'd lived in the same house for twelve years. In my experience the older they are the harder it is to leave behind familiarity and friends.

I am very curious as to where you'll live next.

The Good Woman said...

Yes, Kaycie - I've been quite surprised at the bonds Bambi appears to have forged at such a young age. But I suppose the real test will come when we actually move - the change could well provide a distraction and new friendships made in short order.

Go on - have a guess where we'll be going...

Katie said...

I wish I had travelled more when I was a child. My parents weren't big on holidays so I didn't even get on a plane until I was 15. I think exposure to other cultures from a young age is fantastic.

Good luck with your potential move!

The Good Woman said...

Hi Katie. I didn't travel much as a child either - I think I'm compensating now. It will probably be the opposite with Bambi and she'll become a hermit in a mountian cottage without a train station or a through road.

Pascale Clerk said...

My kids first took the plane at 1 month. Maybe when your daughter is an adult she'll want to settle in one place. Now let me guess about your next destination. Australia ? New Zealand ? Too bad you're leaving Scotland though (maybe not for you).

jenny said...

Ah-ha! I had a feeling it may be time for a move from you. You'll have to change the title of your Blog.
I once told my hubby before we had kids, that once they started school, I didnt want to move until they were done with school. I realize now how short-sighted that was, because you can't predict how life will change. We moved quite a bit when I was a kid and I always found it hard to make new friends and I dont know if it was just because I was the "new girl" or because I was Deaf. Maybe both.
Now, with our girls, we think we will be staying here for a good long time, but who knows what the future will bring. I say, enjoy the moving while you can, and be sure to listen to Bambi when she needs someone to talk to. We try to explain everything, even if it goes over their heads sometimes. I'm sure you have already thought of that so dont mind me...

The Good Woman said...

HI PC. No. No. and I'm looking forward to a last summer in Scotland.

Jenny, your advice is good. I have already started easing her into the idea of moving but more in terms of selling the destination. I battle with explaining the loss involved with shifting homes. My Good Man and I agree that, should we see her getting noticably upset by the moving, we will go home and settle down. No question.

doodaddy said...

You've already lived in some of the coolest places -- what could you be looking forward to as much as that?

San Francisco! Say it's San Francisco!

Elsie Button said...

That's amazing - all that travelling and picking up of other languages! She obviously doesn't mind flying? Blimin eck, putting betty in the car and driving 10 minutes up the road has turned into a major performance recenlty! that's v exciting about you moving. you will have to change your blog title...

Anja said...

Big thanks to the "Globe Toddler" for the wonderful singing to which we were treated on the phone last night. Good luck with the plans for the future, we look forward to seeing you again ... elsewhere!
Love A & C

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Since Amy was born in January 2000, I've moved with her 4 times, a mere amount I know but it does give children experience in life. Lots of luck to you all, Crystal x

The Good Woman said...

Hi Doodaddy. I'd love to live in San Francisco...but no. It's not there.

No Elsie, she doesn't mind flying at all. She still gets more excited about trains and buses than she does about aeroplanes.

A&C - go well dear friends. See you on (the other) continent.

CJ An experience I have no doubt it will be!

lady macleod said...

I can tell you this - now matter what you do, when she is a teenager she will have something to say about it; no matter what you do, as long as you do it with love, your child will survive your parenting and most likely flourish. I hold the world's record for the most angst over parenting and it was for naught. That is what I learned, that and keep your sense of humor. When she hits the teen years it is good to develop a sense of the absurd!

Gwen said...

Bambi will appreciate seeing so many different cultures and countries. She will grow up very well rounded, knowledgeable and not in the least bit insular, of that there can be no doubt. They do say that travel broadens the mind, and it is abosolutely true.