Geographically Challenged

The fourth little traveller has much to enjoy about being the youngest. A quick walk though our house will show the fourth traveller straddling the back of his sister while she ponies him around the living room. His older brother is often forced to include him, give him the extra turn, be gentle with the baseball and drag him along when he’s out with his mates. Our eldest traveller holds his hand while crossing the road, carries his lunch to the table, and tickles him while watching the telly. He is more than happy with his branch on the family tree – until it comes to travel.

The eldest traveller had filled her first passport by age three. The second left her country of birth at three weeks, and was living in her fourth country by age four. The third traveller had spanned five nations in his first five months on the planet. Whereas our fourth little traveller was able to settle in a little more. He was our first child to arrive home from the hospital with no rush for a passport, and no immediate need for a suitcase. I smiled contently as I decorated his room, and smugly went through his 2, 4, and 6 month vaccinations at the same venue (this is a luxury to the well travelled child). His first flight was made to Australia at five months, his first real move at age two. And while he may be the only child in our household with two differing passports (Canada and Australia), his travel log is somewhat smaller.
Recently I overheard a conversation happening in the back of the car. The second and third little traveller mentioned something about South America.

“Wait!” said the fourth little traveller with a furrowed brow and a hint of suspicion “There’s a South America?” It was a revelation to him. He’d not heard of this place called South America.

“I knew there was a North America, but there’s a South America?” The elder three rolled their eyes.

The second giggled “You really really need to get out more”.

“So is there a West America and an East America?” he was beginning to sound panicked.

“Mum has Henry even started geography at school yet?” the third traveller asked with exasperation.

I caught the fourth travellers eye in the rear view mirror. I knew what was coming.

“Have I been to South America?” he asked accusingly.

“No, you haven’t”

“Have THEY been to South America?”

“No, they haven’t” I smiled. Knowing that this was what was really important to him.

As the youngest child he suffers from serious FOMO – fear of missing out. That extra trip that they got to Disneyland. The boating holiday in the Whitsundays. The toy aeroplane they all talk about in the playground at Malta. “Where even is Malta?” he asked one day.

As I unloaded his backpack yesterday I noticed an exercise he’d done in class. As a get to know you game the children had had to fill in details about themselves and answered a series of questions. Halfway down the list was the question “Who has lived in Africa?” I noticed Henry had filled his name in.

“Umm darling, you actually haven’t lived in Africa.”

“What?” he said with the hysteria of a stockbroker on black Friday.

“You didn’t live in Africa sweetie, we lived there before you were born.”

The brow furrowed again, he looked across the room to where the other three were doing their homework at the table.

“Did THEY live in Africa?”

I decided it was time for an ice-cream.

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