We made it! All still alive, all (mostly) sane. I was more than a little dubious when at 7a, 15 minutes before scheduled departure of flight one, I hear “No go Cyprus, just want to go home.” Oy ve. Poor little guy. But he rallied and did fantastic the entire trip.
Our first flight to NY wasn’t too bad. At 5.5 hours it was Miles’ longest flight by three hours. He did absolutely amazing! After his rough start we were able to get Ellis asleep and Miles happily watching Jungle Junction right after take off. He stayed thoroughly entertained the entire time. Ellis is a total champ. She napped for a little bit, woke for a good two hours smiling the entire time, then napped again. Such a world of difference from Miles as a baby!
Our first layover in NY was a little rough. Miles had a ton of energy and was way overtired. It was now an hour past his normal nap time and we had woken him up at 4:30a (so I can’t really blame the guy). We were letting him run crazy, having a good time. I was starving, so we decided to try to eat at a restaurant… BIG mistake. Cue massive meltdown, followed by hitting head on table escalating us to majorly horrible meltdown, followed by hitting head again leading to catastrophic meltdown. The cause? I asked him if he wanted milk or water :/ Yup. We’ve hit a wall. In retrospect I realize it was all my fault. I have a two year old who was just amazingly patient and sitting still in a seat for 5.5hrs (on little sleep). We finally get off the plane and what do I do? Ask him to sit in a seat at a restaurant. Fail. I will remember that next time. Of course he wanted to just be up and running around. I totally get it, but the thought didn't even cross my mind. Regardless, we survived and surprisingly he was willing to get on the second airplane without much fuss.
Plane ride two was NY to London, 7hrs. It was an ‘overnight flight’ but being on Seattle time for us it was an early evening flight. Our typical ‘bedtime’ would hit about 2hrs before we land. Fortunately this happened:
Both kids were so exhausted they passed out even before we got into the air! Miles' nap only lasted about an hour. Ellis not much longer… I thought for sure she’d sleep longer considering she was awake our entire layover etc. This flight was a little tougher, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Ryan did an awesome job of entertaining Miles while I tried to kept the little miss in check. That part was pretty easy, because she did awesome, again. Amazing. I know what its like to have an infant scream inconsolably the entire flight (Miles, ahem), but even when she was awake and clearly overtired she would always give a smile. She is turning into quite the flirt as well. After a very overtired Miles had a few meltdowns, we were finally able to get him to go to sleep again. Unfortunately, we only had an hour left in the flight so I knew we had to wake him up again… poor guy.
Overall, flight two was a success and the worst part about it was my own tantrum. I got all anxious and frustrated because I couldn’t get Ellis to sleep after she woke up early from her first nap, still tired. I was hot, she was hot, we were both not very happy. The kicker is, if I just let her sit and play she was happy and content. So why couldn’t I just let her be?! I don’t know what is wrong with me. I think it is left over from traveling with Miles as a baby, because whenever she is awake but ‘should’ be asleep I feel like that is my mission and I MUST make it happen. Then when I can’t I get super frustrated which only fuels the anxiety. With Miles he would hit a wall and then be inconsolable… I was terrified of hitting that wall with Ellis on one of these long flights, especially when Ellis crying means Miles crying. But apparently she doesn’t have that wall (at least not on this trip, I’m sure it exists). She would get tired, get fussy and I could rock her to sleep. Amazing. It took me a good 45 min of being hot, anxious and frustrated before giving up and letting her be though. Once I did, we were both a lot happier. Lesson learned.
Lay over two was in London, Heathrow airport. Miles, despite being hard to wake up was super adorable when he finally came to. We were able to get a new car (surprise surprise) some food and coffee. This was my first time to London, and I have to say that in all of my traveling over the years this was the one place where I felt the most culture shock. And I didn’t even leave the airport! Maybe it was the fact that I knew we spoke the same language, but we definitely were not speaking the same language. At least in other locations I expect different languages and communication difficulties, but after the porridge and the dummy and the ‘buby’ I was thrown. Very odd indeed.
Miles wasn’t too excited to get on the third plane, but happy to hear it was our last one. His spirits improved with the gift of the car and when he found out we got to ride a bus to get to our plane… awesome! He was beyond grumpy and didn’t want to sleep, which is all he really needed. We finally convinced him to lay down and for the most part him and Ellis slept. Ryan got to sleep a bit too… I had finally shifted Ellis into a comfortable position and had just fallen asleep myself when BAM! drink cart to the shoulder. British Airways is awesome and has great service, but man do they man handle those drink carts. They are all business and just go for it. I saw many others get nailed as I was nursing my own injury. Needless to say, I didn’t fall back asleep L
Miles woke up an hour before we landed… this is when he really hit the wall. We had a lot of tears which made Ellis cry. A really rough hour. I got super frustrated but kept trying to remind myself that this wasn’t him and he was just really really tired. Afterall, he was functioning on less than 5hrs of sleep in 24hrs. This is a kid that usually sleeps 12hrs every night and a 1-3hr nap during the day. I can’t blame him. To be fair though, I was going on 30 min of sleep so my frustration was understandably hard to contain. We managed though, got him calm enough. Got off the plane. This is where we just started to have meltdown after meltdown. We made it though. Both kids got in a quick nap on the hour drive to our place and we were finally there. (more on the place in the next post)
Overall, I think the trip was a huge success. We ended up traveling with our nanny (more on that later) thinking that we needed the extra help, but we managed really well ‘on our own’. It was definitely nice to have someone to hold the baby for a few minutes while I went to the bathroom during our layovers, but on all of our flights she wasn’t even sitting with us and I’m quite proud of how well we all did. I am so proud of Miles and Ellis. This was no easy travel day, not even for veteran travelers. They were both little champs and far exceeded my expectations. One or two rough hours out of what ended up being a 26hr day is just plain amazing. It was just another reminder that I don’t give them enough credit, Miles especially. He was so difficult when he was little, but he really is such a good boy now. I am so lucky to have two perfect little animals.
Other observations from the trip:
I hate other kids on airplanes. Their crying/screaming/not as cute as my kids' conversations wake up my kids. I wish I could take my kids on a ‘no kids allowed’ flight… it would be so much easier.
The iPad and playdo are the greatest inventions ever.
British Airways is way more awesome than American Airlines.
One thing I did not anticipate is home sickness. Miles frequently said he just wanted to go home. M: “Go home now, please.” Me: “Don’t worry, baby, we’re going to a house and we can get some good sleeps” M: “I want to sleep in my fire truck bed. Play with my toys. No airplane, no like Cyprus, go home now, PLEASE!” He seems better now that he’s getting more rested, but it completely caught me off guard. Thinking about it, I guess I should be prepared for more of that in the coming weeks L
Chewed gum looks remarkably a lot like playdough...watch Miles more carefully next time.