View from a Kyoto hotel window (or rather: a 5 minute reflection)

Both Dan and I have woken up with colds and sore throats. This doesn’t bode well. Energy and positivity are key ingredients to make our days work.

It’s our second morning in Kyoto. We hope to, at some point, actually write about what we are seeing and doing. That is actually happening! But by the time it gets to post-kids’ time at night, we’ve nothing left. We barely even talk, let alone have the will to reflect, debrief and analyse. Or plan the next day of sight-seeing.

Living with big M at the moment is like living with Jekyll and Hyde. He turns on a knife edge from being chatty, sweet and curious to being how I can only describe as someone possessed: shouting or full on screaming, kicking, throwing anything to hand, spitting, biting, scratching, or simply running away. Sometimes just a couple of those behaviours and sometimes all of them in quick succession. Then repeat. Managing those meltdowns takes a huge amount of patience, control and energy. When I say managing them, I mean trying to calm him down or give him space to feel his feelings without destroying his surroundings/hurting people. Sometimes he can snap out of it quickly. And other times he just simmers for a bit and then explodes again.

It’s the in between times that also require a lot of energy to avoid these meltdowns. It’s like living with a pressure cooker that you can’t take off the heat but can only sometimes turn down. Sitting at breakfast quickly becomes tense because you can tell from his bum-wriggling, loss of indoor voice ( not going to lie: this kid has no idea what an indoor voice is! And in Japan it’s kinda crucial. Everyone’s very sotto voce), biting of pens and grabbing of anything on the table that he is about to…BLOW! So it’s all hands on deck, entertaining with different activities: spot the difference, drawing, stickers, colouring in, noughts and crosses and about 15 trips to the buffet. This is all to last us 45 minutes of breakfast time. Which I suppose is a long time for a kid to sit down. But it only takes that long because of the million different things we try to do to keep things cool. Plus we have to all feed ourselves and poor little M too (who, I should add, is off her food and doesn’t like sitting still one bit)

So by 8.30am, Dan and I are already tired. And of course big M hasn’t had any physical activity since he woke up at 6.30am so it’s off to the swimming pool to burn off some energy which we practically had to draw straws for. It was Dan’s turn so I’ve had some time to sit by this window and look out on a Kyoto road. And gather my strength.

Crucially, time to remind myself that it’s all good. It’s just a phase or ‘IJAP’, as Dan says. Usually when our eyes meet over little heads. It’s our hourly mantra. IJAP, IJAP, IJAP. In IJAP we trust. 🤞