We’re safely home now.
There’s a lot I would like to say, and many other posts I’d like to read (my feedly is a bit terrifying at the moment).
But E. woke up at 1:30 this morning needing a change, and then was so upset about being in a strange environment that he ended up coming into our bed for a cuddle. He was burning up- he must have caught something on the plane, or eaten something, as his entire digestive system is clearly massively out of whack. Anyway, we had requests for milk every thirty minutes or so, combined with intermittent crying, and then at 4:30 a.m. he decided he was ready to get up, so we all got our day under way.
When we put E. to bed last night at 8 p.m. I remember thinking that if we were unlucky he’d get up at 4:30 or so.
Starting the day at 1:30 a.m., after going to bed at 9 p.m., really hadn’t crossed my mind.
Q. and I have both been walking around in a jet-lagged, sleep-deprived haze. He’s gone in to work to do mindless administrative tasks. I’m continuing to try to get the house back into order. E. is at this moment, blessedly, napping. Poor little love. It is so hard on him, and he’s been so brave coping with all of the changes and the travelling. It took quite a long time to get our bags after we’d gone through customs, and E. kept saying in a depressed little voice that he wanted to go to our city. We had to keep telling him that we were there, and we just had to get our bags, and then we’d be able to leave the airport. He didn’t fall asleep in the car ride home, which we were half-expecting- he just completely zoned out. He seemed quite happy to get home last night- he was very excited to see the cats (he’d been telling me all through the flight that they’d be at the house), and all of his toys were new again.
E. did so well on the plane. It was almost eight hours gate to gate, with seven hours in the air. He slept for probably the first two hours (he fell asleep while we were taxiing to get to the runway- this is the second flight in a row where he’s done this- long may it continue). Then he was happy enough to “watch” an episode of the Berenstain Bears on endless loop (with no sound), commenting occasionally on the appearance of a school bus or a cat, while playing with his trucks, or his stickers, or my earphones, or the arm rest of the seat. He ate a good dinner of pasta and bread and fruit, and drank some milk and some water (although probably not enough). He had some snacks. He went for the occasional walk up and down the aisles with me, and had the occasional look outside of the window with Q. He did have a big cry right at the end when the pressure changes were hurting his ears and he was refusing to swallow, or yawn, or suck his thumb, but otherwise he barely made a sound.
Q. and I both watched TWO movies on the plane. Sometimes we were even watching a movie AT THE SAME TIME, while E. just did his thing between us.
This is just unheard of in our experiences travelling with E. so far.
The flight attendants and the passengers around us all commented on what a good little traveller he was, and Q. and I were really proud of him. He did get bored and frustrated at times and we’d have the occasional suggestion that he was “All done pane! Get off pane!”, but then I would pull up the map on the screen and show him where we’d started, and where we were going, and what was left to do, and he’d settle again. I have a number of friends with older children and they’ve all told me that travelling when children are between two and three was the hardest point. I have to say E. made it look easy yesterday, although as I pointed out to Q. when he commented on how much easier this flight had been compared to the ones to and from Oz last year, if we’d had another twelve or fourteen hours of travelling added to what we did, E. might not have held it together quite so well. Still, it was an unqualified success. He clearly understands the process of flying- going to the airport, checking the bags, clearing security and customs, waiting at the gate and watching other airplanes, boarding, the flight itself, getting off the plane, clearing customs, getting the bags, leaving the airport. I don’t know how much he remembers from the other flights he’s done, but I really do get the sense with him that he’s now a seasoned traveller and that none of what we do really surprises him.
Now if we could all get a bit more sleep tonight, we’d be golden.