It’s much easier traveling with the kids now that they are older and more self-sufficient. But sometimes they look more self-sufficient from the outside than they look from the inside. As a case study, on our flight back from London to the U.K., I took an inventory of the contents of the backpack that the younger (aged 8) packed herself for both the outgoing and return trips.
This bag was supposed to contain everything she might need on the trip.
Before we left LA, I inspected the bag, added clothing (which was entirely lacking with the exception of a pair of fingerless gloves) and strongly recommended that she remove a number of items because the backpack was extremely heavy.
She refused and I relented as long as she agreed to carry the bag herself. Perhaps needless to say, she complained a lot en route about the bag’s heaviness (“why did you put in so many clothes, Mom???”) and on the way back I just packed her clothes and most of her books in my own bag and left her to her own devices, my rule being that anything she had amassed while on our travels she had to carry herself. The contents, then, of her backpack on the return journey was as follows:
- Black fingerless gloves, 1 pair
- “I’m definitely gonna want these in England”
- Post-it note pads x 2
- Pencil case containing pencils and eraser
- Mini stamp set
- Spiderman magazine
- Purchased at local newsagent, Highgate
- Water pistol
- Came free with Spiderman magazine; was main incentive for purchase of Spiderman magazine
- Rocks, assorted
- Amassed at various locales including the Isle of Iona in Scotland and Waterlow Park in Highgate
- Highland cow stuffed animal
- Purchased indulgently for her by her mother who did not realize at the time that said cow made loud mooing sound when squeezed
- Pencil case knitted during trip by her grandmother containing pencil sharpener, pencils, pen
- Small plastic wallet won in treasure hunt on Isle of Iona
- Tub of miniature Scottish medieval knights
- Purchased at Edinburgh castle. Probably the best purchase of the trip. What’s not to love about a tub of Scottish knights?
- Rubber Tyrannosaurus head
- Purchased reluctantly by her mother at National Museum of Scotland gift shop. I was churlish about buying it, not because it was just another piece of tat that we didn’t need (which it was) but because it “didn’t seem very Scottish”
- Copy of Sideways Stories from Wayside School
- I would have been happy if this book had gone missing during the trip
- Memory card game
- I am really good at this game. So good that after a while everyone in the family refused to play it any more. Fun fact: in the U.K. we call this game Pelmanism
- Red notebook filled with drawings
- Bouncy Rubber egg purchased at Camera Obscura gift shop in Edinburgh
- I won’t lie, there’s something really satisfying about this object. I wouldn’t mind having one myself.