One of ‘those’ parenting moments at a luxury Bali hotel
Have you ever had one of those moments where your kid does something absolutely epic, or hilarious, but also really “not allowed” or illegal?
Yeah, that happened, on Sunday.
Once a month here in our little Bali town a lovely hotel has an open day where visitors can use their swimming pools. There’s a great market with local crafts, delicious Bali street food and entertainment for kids- last month it was visitors from Bali Zoo talking to the kids about reptiles, this month it was face painting.
We met some fab new friends and had a blast; the girls spent hours in the pool, interspersed with clambering on the kids’ playground and looking at the resident birds in the hotel’s aviary; a mixture of chickens and lovebirds.
Last month several of the chickens had been roaming the grounds- great in some ways, but some of the kids staying at the hotel had chased them. This time they were all in the aviary. We talk a fair bit as a family about animal rights and how we would ideally treat animals. The kids know that keeping flying birds in cages isn’t ideal, and that chickens like to roam around and dust-bathe and all that jazz.
Esmae and Eira seemed particularly concerned this Sunday about the lack of space that the birds had. They and their friends got a bucket of water and gathered bird seed from the ground and made grand plans- as kids do- where they would “come back at 3am and release all the birds!”
Neither I nor any of the other parents took much notice; they were having fun and being compassionate, and we’d explained that sometimes it was best for the chickens’ protection to be in the aviary so they didn’t get chased (or eaten by the huge local stray dog population). We had no idea that the door to the aviary was at the back, at kid height, with no lock.
At one point in the late afternoon, two of my friends’ children simultaneously puked. It was fairly spectacular and the adults hastily moved bags and clothes, called the hotel staff and hurried various kids off to the bathroom to get cleaned up. Two minutes later, Eira stepped in dog poo with bare feet. General chaos abounded, and I wasn’t paying attention to where every member of my child tribe was.
It was dark as we were walking home, and the kids were tired and happy. We were talking about the pool, and the face paints, and the puke, when Eira piped up:
“Yeah, and I’m so glad we rescued all those birds from that cage.”
Esmae stopped and turned to Eira, pushing her finger against her lips. Uh-oh.
“Wait- did you guys open the door?”
Esmae shook her head and looked at the sky.
“Yep!” Eira said, smiling. “They’re all freeee!”
“Guys I need to you to be serious,” I said. “The chickens might be ok but there are flying birds in there who have never been out. If they get out they’ll probably die. Did you open the cage?”
Patrick turned on his heels and sprinted back to the hotel while I took the girls back. On his return he announced that all the birds were accounted for, after he’d ushered three of the chickens back into the aviary from where they had been having a whale of a time in the kids’ playground.
So there we go. Three tiny activists causing chaos in a five-star hotel in Bali. Eek.