Given that this blog has been silent for the past month, you may be forgiven for assuming that we were indeed hoisted off our plane somewhere in the Middle East and forced to find our way home on camels. Thankfully, this did not happen, and we have had a lovely month of friends, families, food and festivities. Sadly, this all has come to an end and we are back into the normal routine with a teething baby, workloads piling ever higher, and bank balances that are woefully low. It does mean, however, that l can return to the land of blogging, and update you on our plane adventures with The Boy.
These are the basics of our journeys:
Departure time: 13.30 (local). Arrival time: 20.00 (local). Flight Duration: 14 hours.
Baby slept: 4 broken hours. I slept: 2 broken hours.
Departure time: 22.30 (local). Arrival time: 16.30 (local). Flight Duration: 10.5 hours.
Baby slept: 8 solid hours. I slept: 7 solid (ish) hours.
These are the things that l have discovered (and can l say here, many thanks for all the advice l was given – we were certainly more prepared than we would have been).
1.) The Boy LOVES travel.
He seriously loves it, spending most of our time in transit staring at/ yelping at/ waving at/ dribbling at/ smiling at anyone who looked in his direction, and many who did not. Apologies to the man in Starbucks who was clearly trying to enjoy a pre-flight coffee in peace; to the couple sat behind us on the plane who had to stare at a his face poking through the gap in the seats; to the flight staff who had to keep stopping and playing with him even in the middle of the meal service (and thanks for the toy, by the way); to the airline counter staff who put up with him attempting to eat our tickets/baggage labels and dribbling on the weight counter; to the security staff as he crawled his way through the body scanner, thinking it was a game; and to the passengers on our flight who were woken by a small child standing in his bassinet and waving his arms/toys excitedly at them.
Distracting The Boy before he disturbed anyone else.
2.) The Boy HATES bassinets.
For a baby that hated being swaddled, and spends his sleeping life either star-fishing or wriggling around his cot, l was sceptical about strapping him in a bassinet to sleep. I was right, he hated it. Even when he was soundly asleep in our arms and we ever-so-carefully- transferred him over, he would wake in the space of minutes, indignantly screeching and waving his arms about in a bid to escape. In fact, the only time he liked it was when he realised that if he sat/stood up in it he got a good view of the rest of the cabin. See above.
3.) You can’t take enough food.
Whoever told me to take more food than normal, l thank you. The Boy became an eating machine, putting away bottles of milk, snacks, whole food and most of my meals at an astonishing rate. Luckily we had also taken a sterilising bag on board as l had to make up a handful of new bottles so he could survive until we got back to the in-laws house. The airline staff (again) were very accommodating as we depleted their water supplies quite substantially. On that note, you can’t take enough water either.
4.) Babies do not understand jet lag.
Babies with jet lag are much like having a child in the first place. Whether it is horrific morning sickness, fatigue, swollen ankles, stretch marks or painful births, the thought of doing it again is accompanied by a lot of trepidation. If you had asked me a week ago, l would have said l would never fly long-haul with Boy ever again. Now we are booking flights for both June and December this year. Somehow we have forgotten about the 2am playtimes and the confused and pretty grumpy child who could not understand why he was in his cot at midnight when he was awake, and then not allowed to sleep at 10am when he was actually tired.
What do you mean, 2am is not an acceptable time to play?
5.) You will all look as if you haven’t bathed for months.
Within an hour of the first flight, The Husband’s hoodie was covered in baby rice, the boy’s jumper and trousers were covered in vomit stains and l was picking half masticated biscuit out of my hair. Cue 12 hours later with little sleep or time to visit the toilet, let alone pass a comb through my dishevelled hair. The Beckhams (how do they always look so glamorous after a flight?) we are not.
6.) I will never travel with The Boy alone.
I am often thankful for The Husband, never more so 10 hours into a 14 hour flight with no sleep, an excited baby, tired arms and legs, and a head that felt like cotton wool. He felt like that too and still willingly took charge of The Boy for a while so l could have a rest. It was amazing, as was the beer that one of the flight staff handed me.
Roll on the summer!