We are back. Since my last post, Baby N and I have journeyed to Australia and back again without any post-traumatic stress this time (hooray) and then gone on a family holiday to Greece. It is safe to say that Baby N is now a legendary traveler but even despite that I am VERY keen not to go on any trips that involve airports, flying and packing (or unpacking) for a good long while. In fact, I was thinking to myself yesterday as I did the 7 millionth load of washing in recent days (approximately) how nice it would be to fly somewhere alone as an adult. So relaxing. So much less packing and coordinating needed. Literally just show up and grab a coffee and get on a plane. Amazing.
I have so much to say after all these adventures and yet it is difficult to know where to start. However, I will say that going into my Australia trip was so much less stressful than the first time. Just knowing that I’d done it once before and survived gave me some kind of comfort that I could handle most situations. As it was, I think it was easier to fly with Baby N as a 12 month old than as a 4-5 month old as I did previously. Or maybe I’ve just had more practice at being a mum with the requisite whatever-will-be-will-be attitude.
The journey this time was a flight of about 3.5 hours to Dubai, a short transit there (in the small hours of the night) and then about 13 hours to Melbourne direct. The timing of the first flight was evening so by the time I was boarding the plane Baby N should have been settling down for his evening sleep. Hahahaha! No way was he agreeing to that as the plane was SO EXCITING!
I was in business class thanks to the generosity of the inlaws (and also because hubby couldn’t come with me) and there was a small fold out table for a glass at my seat. This alone must have entertained Baby N for a good 45 minutes straight, albeit the noise of it clicking up and down nearly drove me bananas. He also found the cup holders fascinating and kept putting his hands in them. Actually he just found the whole seat entertaining and spent ages and ages crawling all over it and hitting his head left, right and centre as he got increasingly tired. Eventually about 1.5 hours into the flight he passed out in my arms which was nice. He must have slept for an hour or so before the descent into Dubai started and the poor guy suffered a lot. I don’t know if he had blocked ears or whatever (I did all the usual things to clear them) but he cried and cried and cried all the way down to Dubai. As soon as we landed he was fine, which was great, but I was pretty stressed by then.
I think it was something like midnight on our old time when we landed in Dubai so the poor guy was very tired. He didn’t cry as we went around the airport (seriously, I must have walked 5km to get from one gate to the next) but he looked moody as hell. We stopped off in the lounge for a while and I requested us some yoghurts. Baby N loves yoghurt so even though it wasn’t a snack time for him – it being the middle of the night and all – we had one just to keep him cheery.
Before long we were boarding again and this time we were on the new fancy Airbus A380 which is so massive that it’s only business class and first class on the top level and it even has a bar at the back of the plane! I was not exactly looking well put together at this stage but even so I did take slight offence at the cabin crew guy who asked me if it was my first time in business class! Also, I noticed that they would come around with a tray of drinks – champagne and juices – and they would always say to me “Would you like a juice?” No actually, I damn well want a champagne thank you very much!
There was some delay in leaving Dubai airport as a sick passenger had to be taken off the flight so we were on the tarmac for maybe 2 hours. By this stage I don’t know what the time was? 3am? 4am? Whatever time it was Baby N was suuuuuuuuper tired and needed to sleep. One of the nice flight attendants said I could lay my chair back a bit and we undid his seat belt. The next thing I knew I woke up with Baby N snoozing in my arms, the plane in the air and no seat belt on either of us. Hmmm…. Not sure that was meant to happen! I laid the seat back to be flat and tucked us both into the blanket and then the next thing I knew after that was there was severe turbulence, the flight attendants had been told to sit down but I was bouncing all over the place like crazy because I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and neither was Baby N (none of this recommended or legal probably).
I really wish people would film moments like this because I am sure if someone was watching they would have laughed as I was so flustered trying to find the seatbelt and do it up while not bouncing off my seat and holding a still sleeping Baby N down. Eventually I found my seat belt and did that up around both of us, laid back down and slept through the bounces. Baby N did a really long sleep of about 9 hours I think (I can’t remember) and when he woke up he was a delight. We fed him some stuff (some of it baby food, some of it things he could eat off my meals like bread and fruit). He also had a wonderful time charming all the flight attendants and crawling around the bar area in his PJs. I tried my very, very best not to think of all the evil, international germs he was getting exposed to during this but he seems to be just fine now so there you go.
Later he had another power nap so when we arrived in Melbourne he was all perky and happy which was just as well as I have a theory that airports hate babies as they make it so very difficult to travel with one. I had borrowed a Maclaren umbrella-style stroller for the trip as my Bugaboo is a bit too huge for travelling but the stupid airlines check in these strollers and give them back to you at luggage reclaim. Arggghhh! So this meant that I had to carry Baby N, along with a backpack and a small wheelie all the way through the airport, do the passport control juggling passports, to the baggage reclaim. I then had 3 suitcases to put on a trolley and absolutely no one helped me. No one. I really do fear for humanity at these moments.
It was then I worked out that the stroller came in at a different belt so I had to take my trolley with 3 big suitcases and small wheelie on it, push it with one hand while carrying Baby N in the other and balance the folded up stroller on top of the tower of suitcases. It was quite a sight! Anyway, I did it and all is fine. It was pretty much the same scenario on the return journey although I did give Baby N to the guy who was manning the oversize luggage counter so that I could unfold his stroller. All I have to say to all mammas out there, keep up the gym work as it comes in handy to be very strong at this stage of things!
Our time back home in Melbourne with my family was bittersweet. It was lovely to see my Mum and Sister and see them develop bonds with Baby N. My Mum is really doing very poorly these days so it was tough going on every level for me. We didn’t get out and about very much as she wasn’t up to it but also she has a very low immune system so it’s not sensible to take her in public places where she is exposed to germs. She loved spending time with Baby N and it breaks my heart to think they may not have time together ever again, in addition to the reality of her not being in my life for much longer either.
Baby N is at a really adorable age too and he enjoyed opening and closing all of the many, many cupboards and drawers my Mum has at her place. He seemed unbothered by all the change and travel. He did have jet lag of course, but so did I! I am always amazed at how I managed to birth such a chilled out baby.
During our two weeks with my Mum, Baby N went through a huge development curve and so when I returned back his Dad was amazed at the new guy he had become. His crawling skills improved dramatically and not long after we came back home he also started to pull himself up to standing. Just this week he started the first stages of cruising around furniture, but I think walking is still a way off.
Our trip home was very uneventful with Baby N sleeping for 11 hours straight on the plane. I mean seriously, 11 hours straight ON A PLANE. I even managed to eat two meals and have a nap in that time! For the shorter second flight he was more trouble as he was super wriggly and wanting to crawl absolutely everywhere, but I barely remember the details now. He also managed to do a poo just as we were coming into land so my first requirement on landing was to change him. Babies have great timing for this.
Daddy was super excited to see his son. Less excited to see his wife I think. Haha! We were home just over a week – barely long enough for me to get the laundry done – before we were off on a beach holiday in Crete, Greece with the extended family. This is the first time we have done a full family holiday, which also included the grandparents, and my husband’s brother’s family (they have a son who is almost 3). We were staying at an amazing beach resort which was all inclusive and it was wonderful. However, it was a bit intense with all the family there and by the end my husband and I were really pleased to come home.
It seems the 3-year-old is heavily favoured over Baby N (he is the first grandchild and has his grandfather’s name, as is the tradition here) so my husband and I were getting fed up of us having to adapt our schedule to fit with the 3-year-old. The grandparents were always wanting to follow the 3-year-old’s schedule which was not so cute after a few days, especially as I completely changed Baby N’s sleep times to accommodate evening dinners together.
BUT, I did get a tan and Baby N loved all his adventures in the sea and the pool. He loves water so much that he just runs (crawls) straight into the water like a maniac. I was having to fish him out of the shallows approximately every 3 minutes which was quite boring after a while! We would do beach in the morning until nap time, then keep him busy playing indoors for a few hours after lunch before taking him in the pool ahead of his second nap time. He loved it all!
His developmental timing did suck a bit though as he decided on day two of our holiday to refuse any kind of blended food. This meant some creative hunting for us at the buffet and his diet for the rest of the holiday was quite unusual. It had a heavy focus on pasta and bananas, but fruit in general was popular with him. One day for breakfast he ate the following (small amounts of each, but still): cow’s milk, oats with peaches, omelette, sausage, mini croissant, fresh figs, banana, kiwi and pancake with honey.
Now we are home now I am feeding him similar foods to before but just not blending it. The veggies and meat are cut up into very small pieces as he rejects anything without texture these days. Some days he doesn’t like to be spoon-fed but I got around that at dinner last night by giving him his own spoon which he spent the entire dinner pretending to feed me with. Every time I opened my mouth for him to put his spoon in he opened his mouth too and so I snuck the food in. It seems this age is very much the age of do-whatever-works!