22 October 2010

Back at it

I'm on the underground on my way to work and listening to music or reading can be quite difficult. I am prepared for my classes which is good news for me today as I am still feeling ill and a bit lethargic. Another post about the trip, this one more introspective.

Travelling with small kids is something we do, Yoko and I. Mei is 18 months and has been to six countries and will probably get to another one or two before she is two. Travelling with kids is hard, that goes without saying, but I have come to the belief that it is easier than avoiding it and thinking that your life has stopped in one sense. Since I have gotten married and had kids, I have travelled much more than I did before I was married.

Not that there's really any intrinsic value in travel, but it's something I quite like... Not just quite like. Live for? I love it.

That said, when we are actually doing it, it is a huge stress on our family and our marriage. This time was particularly bad as I was ill and needed to really focus to essentially stay standing up on Monday, leaving me neither in the state of mind or mood to be much use to anyone. I was bitter and frustrated, but the arguments and angry walks through the streets just wanting to go home are left out of the travelogue in favour of happy memories. The truth is that I need to be more patient with my wife and kids and that I am failing at that. I can keep the lid at times, but not when I am sick and not when so much is required of me. I get irritated with every choice I have to make: my Japanese ability suffers.

Naomi and Mei did a good job though, all things considered. They're kids. Naomi melted down a couple of times and I lost my patience with her. No, the trip is not going to revolve around you deciding when you want to ride or not ride in the stroller. No, you can't have any more candy and why are you screaming about it? And then the regular kids things that just happen: waiting in line to board the plane-you need to pee NOW? You can't. Can you wait? (No, wait, how is she going to know if she can wait or not?)

But this is what you do when you have young kids. Better fathers are more mature and patient. I need to work on it. One day I hope that the kids remember me fondly, not as a brooding, lethargic, frustrated man.

A couple of years ago I went on an anger strike. Perhaps I need to do that again. We'll have to see what is in store for me between now and the new year. Hopefully only small things. Classes and work and slow thesis progress.