Travel memory: Learning to talk on Kauai

Years later, our beach babe still loves the crashing surf.

Years later, our beach babe still loves the crashing surf.

A recent conversation with a friend about vacationing on Kauai (in Hawaii) reminded me of one of our first milestone family trips: A vacation in 2010 during which L spoke for the first time.

The three of us—R hadn’t even been conceived yet—stayed for a week in Poipu at the Villas at Poipu Kai, a wonderful property of furnished vacation rentals near Brennecke Beach. Those were the days before this blog; at the time I was keeping a different blog titled, The Daddy Dispatch (someday, I’ll re-publish those old posts). That said, this particular trip was of the unplugged variety; I happily didn’t write anything while we were there.

That didn’t stop important stuff from happening.

At the time L was about 13 months old, and she hadn’t said much more than, “Mom,” and “Dada.” We were just starting to wonder when she’d say her first real word. Then, one day, on the beach, it just came out: “A-gain! A-gain! A-gain!”

She was talking to the ocean, of course. The waves, specifically. She loved the way they came in and lapped at her tiny feet. She was ordering the ripples to continue.

Again and again, the kid screamed, “Again!”

At first, neither Powerwoman nor I knew quite how to react—we found ourselves somewhere between joy and did-she-really-just-say-that? After about 12 or so repetitions, we started cheering and crying and clapping and doing all the stuff that first-time parents do at a milestone of this nature. “Again” became the theme of the trip; everywhere we went, we did things two or three times, just so we could hear our first child ask us to do them again.

Looking back on that day, travel is an integral part of this cherished memory. Would we remember the accomplishment if L had said, “Again!” here at home? Of course. But the fact that she said it there in Hawaii, commanding the cerulean sea, makes everything about the experience more vivid.

That vibrancy, that extra detail, makes the memory even more special. That we experienced it on a family trip adds panache to an incident we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives.

What developmental milestones have your kids achieved while traveling?

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