Being There for Little Things and Big Things

Pondering Developmental Milestones

Family travel let’s you be there for your kids’ milestones. The big ones, and the little ones. There are more “teachable moments” than you can shake a stick at.

One day we realized that our 9-year-old son did not know how to blow bubbles and we decided that it was time to remedy the situation. Up to this point, we weren’t purposely limiting his access to gum, but for whatever reason he’d rarely ever had it. Maybe 3 or 4 times in his life.

Anyway, one day we were at the grocery store in Rovinj and Ethan, our son, was not so subtly hinting that he really wondered what the gum at the check out stand would taste like. It was bubble gum. We bought some and proceeded to attempt to explain how to blow a bubble. It’s surprisingly difficult to explain. All you can really do it tell them to chew the gum until it’s soft, then put it just behind your teeth, push your tongue through, so that the gum covers it, then purse your lips around your tongue and blow. The *real* trick is getting the air to flow between your tongue and the gum. This is all very complex and hard for anyone on the receiving end to grasp.

Once you’ve explained the process and demonstrated it, they just need to practice it until they get it. More than once, the gum got spit out mid-blow. There was much confusion and frustration. Until… the lightbulb went off and voila! The first bubble. Then there was a period where he had to figure out how to repeat it.

Eventually, it all made sense and he could blow bubbles on demand. And it is so satisfying and entertaining for him.

There have been so many little (and big) milestones during our trip. Ethan became a strong swimmer in Thailand, mastered chopsticks in Vietnam, and began experimenting with new drawing styles in Malaysia. Now, in Croatia he has become a confident bicyclist and has learned to blow bubbles. The best part? We were there for it all.