Somewhat Big Lessons from Not-So-Little Ones

My dear babies,

As I started to think about our last trip that you probably won’t remember – the Bintan one that your Daddy earned for us with his very hard work for his Banyan Tree client – I started to realise how much I learn from you little ones, even when I’m not paying attention. So while waiting for more of such potential affirmations from clients, here’s some of what we did (and learnt) from this trip:

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    The most curious chess set ever…

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    Going for what’s real and juicy.

While waiting for our welcome drinks at the lobby, you guys entertained yourselves with the chess pieces that Daddy found for you. Matthew, you named the pieces “A sea-horse…” and “Rocket!!!” as you placed them on the chess set. Both of you were captivated by those pieces… until the drinks came along, anyway. So much for the box of toys we packed along. Who needs those when you own the openness to view the world as your playground? The rest is just dependent on how imaginative and curious you are, isn’t it?

Upon check-in, both Mummy and Daddy were refraining from ooh-ing and aah-ing while the porter was still around, and in those little moments, you two were so quick to ignore all the surrounding luxury and instead, to head directly to a bowl of fruit on the table. You giggled and laughed as you tried to bite into them. Goes to show how differently adults and children can covet things – and you guys ignored the frivolities for what was real.

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    Infinite joy at the infinity pool.

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    In-villa jacuzzi = in-villa tub?

The next two days were glorious times spent in four different “pools” – the first being Banyan Tree’s infinity round pool that overlooks the sea; and the second, Angsana’s more traditionally-set pool with various fountains carved out at different sections. We swam, splashed and spluttered; Emma with more daring, and Matthew with a lot more caution. That’s the irony about age. The more you grow up, the more prudent you become… you proceed with more trepidation and less wonder. But Matthew, you are only three, and you need to be a lot more adventurous as I’m writing this – Mummy will help you do that and I hope by the time you’re reading this, that we would’ve succeeded somewhat.

The third pool is really our in-villa jacuzzi, one where we soaked ourselves in and threw our pool toys around. Emma, you gurgled so happily with each “ooops!” that we squeal when a toy falls, and you wandered the entire length of the jacuzzi with much gusto, and your Daddy and I cannot help noticing all over again, how fast you’ve grown and how far you’ve come. I asked him one night, “Does she still remind you of that little baby that she was?” We both turned to look at you and agreed, “No.” Once, you were a sweet little grub who was just contented to be around; today, you are feisty and fierce, wily and brave.

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The bath tub/pool

The fourth “pool” was our villa’s bathing area, which they cleverly designed to become the biggest of tubs. We filled that up and all four of us climbed in for a good scrub and bath. Matthew, you helped to scrub Emma. It’s all our first experience of a communal bath, and it’s one that I emerged from satisfied, relaxed, with all my senses soothed. I probably only enjoyed it because of you kids – it is only laughter and love that can diminish stresses of all kinds.



You both enjoyed some real indulgence on this trip – not having regular portions for meals, but getting plenty of junk food and cold drinks… all the little pleasures that you don’t get to enjoy at home. Do you already know by the time you’re reading this, how Mummy actually enjoys indulging you guys like that? I enjoy our “Fun Fridays” so much and am always looking for reason and occasion to bend my own rules just to spoil you both. I’m so thrilled to have those moments on this trip, specifically that afternoon by the infinity pool where you both lay your little bodies on deck chairs and ate chips in between swims. Because at the end of the day, what is love if not filled with raw indulgence, at least from time to time?

Your Daddy & I snuck out for dinner on the first night – we had a babysitter come in and charge us USD$74 for watching the both of you sleep for two hours. Her name’s Francesca and she has a three-year-old who sleeps like you, Matthew – kicking all sheets away and tossing and turning all night. Dinner by the beach was great – food and ambience both got a 10/10 in our books… and above that, couple time is always a must, but the important thing is: There will come many times when we will have to leave you both, and which may cause pain initially but know that at every single one of those times, be it a departure from your room as you fall asleep or a trip away without you guys, you both are always on our minds and in our hearts. Prove it? As I was delighting in that date by the beach, I thought I could hear you guys cry for me in the villa. I didn’t lose my senses over it, of course, knowing that that was impossible, but I did hold my phone closer just in case the sitter calls. So, yes, you two will for ever, be always on our minds.

Finally, my favourite moment of our vacation has to be that one night where we all cozied together in bed to watch the remaining bits of CARS. You both were exhausted but being children, you fight sleep to the death and refuse to give in so long as you have that last ounce of strength left to stay awake. And so we tucked you guys into bed, with CARS playing on . Right there, right then, I had a fore-taste check of one of my Bucketlist items: Movie Nights with you two. Mummy cannot wait for the nights we will lay in bed watching “The Sound of Music” (that’s a given), “The Little Mermaid”, “Peter Pan”, “An American Tail” and then later on, the “Mary Poppins” and “Wizard of Oz” – but only with popcorn or ice-cream in tow. Is there any other way to survive adventures of all kinds?

And so it is, that with each passing day and each phase of life that you both grow out of so quickly, I am now beginning to experience the pleasures of new ones. Very simple pleasures they are – nothing like those that came in your first years that practically make me catch my breath at every heart skip – but pure and somehow familiar in a way that warms me up when I look ahead to the coming years.

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The milk of life…

Now, you are a three-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old. May we have lots of time ahead to explore more of Life’s littlest moments and most awesome adventures. As we await more affirmations of Daddy’s hard work. 😉

With much love to you both,

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