Five Family Travel Tricks Only Grandma Knows

My parents left last night, and I can only assume they’ve arrived home safely and crashed straight into bed to sleep for a week and/or had their internet and phone connections cut off by a storm again. Or decided never to speak to us any more. I mean I’m sure everything’s fine*.

During their visit we took them to see the bits of Singapore that didn’t exist last time they checked, and also Pulau Sibu, in Malaysia, where we went with the kids a bit over a year ago. Because of all this I’ve spent much less time blogging over the last few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten it. No no! Instead, I’ve been discreetly stockpiling these five family travel tricks only Grandma knows (or knew, or can get away with).

Five Family Travel Tips Only Grandma Knows | Journeys of the Fabulist

What To Do When A Child Won’t Keep Up

Find a leafy branch. Hand the branch to the reluctant child. Tell the child that they have a very important responsibility, which is to keep insects off Grandma’s back. (Make sure you choose a soft branch.)

In my next series, I explain the Granddad technique, which is "put on goofy Tarzan performances at random points along the trail".

In my next series, I explain the Granddad technique, which is “put on goofy Tarzan performances at random points along the trail”.

What To Do When A Child Won’t Keep Their Hands To Themselves

Draw faces on the child’s fingers. Give all the Finger People names and immortalise them in song. Admonish the child to take good care of their Finger PeopleΒ so that it may go well with them and they may enjoy long life upon the earth.

Where is Thumbkin?

Where is Thumbkin?

What To Do When A Child Needs To Climb Something Using One Or Two Of Their Hands But They Won’t Because Their Fingers Are People

Try to stop them from killing themselves. Assure them that the Finger People don’t want them to die and would rather they just held on safely. Admit you’ve brought a biro and can easily draw on more Finger People. Ask the child if they’ve ever heard of Knee People?

Hint: knee people are not a great idea for seat kickers. Or children who need to use their knees for climbing.

Hint: knee people are not a great idea for seat kickers. Or children who need to use their knees for climbing.

What To Do When You’re Too Tired (Lazy) To Cook Dinner On Holidays

Make nachos! Field questions from your six-year-old about whether “anyone in the world” has “ever eaten chips for dinner before”. Wrack your brain trying to remember a single occasion on which your mother ever suggested nachos for dinner when you were a child, and conclude that this is something she grew into as a grandparent. Worry about how you’ll handle all the nagging pleas for nacho dinners from now on.

The one and only time a human being has or will ever eat chips for dinner.

The one and only time a human being has or will ever eat chips for dinner.

What To Do When Your Child Is Being Horrible And Strangers Are Frowning At You

Remind yourself that your child is no worse than any other person at the same age. Or better yet, have Grandma remind you, through endless tales of your own juvenileΒ escapades, narrated with unnecessary glee. Fix Grandma with a withering glare until she admits that you turned out alright in the end. Try to ignore her when (under her breath) she adds, “Or at least I hope you will… eventually…”

Pulau Sibu, Malaysia.

*Update: everything is, in fact, fine.

 

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