picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

Back on solid ground

Travel day has come and gone. Apparently some people pack a week in advance, which I think is just plane crazy (heheheh). Why would you stretch that kind of stress out over the course of a week when you could just concentrate it all into a 6 hour period and be done with it? In the end I only forgot one thing, Ian’s tripod, so well done me!

We checked in and checked our baggage and then met up with my family for a lovely, leisurely dinner near the airport…a little too leisurely, perhaps, as it was followed by a full-on run across the terminal to our gate interrupted by a brief interlude of pretended calm to clear security. But we made it before they had even finished pre-boarding and got shuttled right on, set the kids up with the iPad and Innotab and sat back and tried to catch our breath!

©PicklesINK 2012

©PicklesINK 2012

Ben and Molly were absolutely amazing on the plane. Ben fell fast asleep within about 10 minutes of take-off. Molly held out for a while longer but eventually succumbed to sleep as well. Ben slept soundly until they turned the lights back on for breakfast. Molly was a little more fitful (and by “a little” I of course mean “a lot”) – she wound up sleeping for a couple of hours in my lap in various positions that were I’m sure very comfortable for her although not so much for me! She woke up after a few hours but was mostly content to snuggle and stare until “morning.”

When the kids woke up, they discovered that they could both fit in one seat and spent the next couple of hours watching shows on the iPad.

©PicklesINK 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, I was fully prepared with a backpack full of activities to keep the kids going through the whole flight if necessary. So here’s the summary of what we actually used:

©PicklesINK 2012

So yes, perhaps it was overkill, but I think it was still worth the backache for the peace of mind!

Finally, one important piece of advice that I picked up for traveling with young kids: Don’t be afraid to take a good stroller – it will be a great help getting through the airport and you can check it conveniently at the gate. Make sure you bring luggage straps, specifically bought for the purpose, so you can fold it and then secure it tightly:

All wrapped up in a nice, neat little package! ©PicklesINK 2012

That way all the baggage handlers have to do is pick it up and carry it to the hold and there’s no chance that anything could possibly go wrong and damage it. Then when you arrive at your destination, they will just bring it right back to you at the gate so you can pop it back open and use it right away!

😀 😀 😀 LOLZ J/K!!! 😀 😀 😀

Okay, for REALZ now! Make sure you use an el cheapo $20 job and don’t bother with the luggage strap crap since the airline will rip it off and leave it behind on the baggage cart anyway (which you know because you can see it through the plane window) and crush your very favourite phil&teds double stroller to a pulp and then send it into the “bulky items” baggage claim for you to pick up only after you wrangle your 2 exhausted and hyper kids plus 5 carry-on bags through immigration and customs on foot!

Snapped clean off. How did that even happen? It’s not a flimsy stroller! ©PicklesINK 2012

Squashed metal frame. The frame is also bent out of shape so that the seat back no longer lies flat. ©PicklesINK 2012

But we made it through relatively unscathed (except for my stroller…sniff), Tetrised the luggage into the car, and made the 4-hour drive from the airport to the house and settled in with some lovely European-style pizza (mmmmm…) and some German pilsner…

…and a good night’s sleep. More on that later.

~ karyn

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Come fly with me

We are in the midst of preparations for our first plane trip with two kids. Ben is very excited for both the flight and the trip (to Germany to visit Ian’s family). Molly is extremely excited for the trip but is telling everyone that we are travelling by school bus, so the airplane might come as a bit of a shock.

I’m a little trepedatious since our last flying-with-child experience was an unmitigated disaster. Ben was about 1 ½. The trouble started at Heathrow when we went through security and the guy, who I’m pretty sure was modeling his look off of Ringo Starr circa 1964, told me that of course I was allowed to bring all of the baby food, milk, juice, etc. ON the plane; I just had to taste it first.

“Taste it?” said I. “Taste it,” said Ringo. “All of it?” said I. “Everything you want to bring on the plane,” said Ringo. “Bottoms up,” said I as I took a slug of lukewarm milk and chased it with a spoonful each from assorted jars of English baby foods, then bid a sad farewell to the junior-sized juice boxes and the shelf-stable tetrapaks of formula that I had counted myself so lucky to find at that Boots in Windsor (“Won’t these be perfect for the flight?” I had said happily.) “You don’t have to throw them out!” cried my obviously childless friend Ringo before I explained the physics of the opened tetrapak.

Having gained an appreciation for the surprisingly tasty quality of English baby food, we continued on to the gate where we gave Ben a dose each of Children’s Benadryl and ibuprofen (*on-the-paeditrician’s-orders-don’t-judge-me) and boarded the plane.

Once on board, we carefully secured Ben’s carseat in the seat between us, buckled him in, and watched his eyes droop as he finished his bottle and the rest of the passengers settled in around us. We (and by we I mean everyone who had realized that they were stuck on a plane with a baby for the next 7 hours) breathed a collective sigh of relief and sat back to enjoy a peaceful flight.

Then the flight attendant said those fateful words: “You have to move that.” “Move…the…carseat?” “Yes. The baby seat has to go in the window seat.” “Uh…why?” “You might not be able to get by in an emergency.” “Listen, my friend, if there’s an emergency, I’ll be taking the baby with me.” *shrug* “You have to move it.”

Well, it was all downhill from there. Ben woke up when we moved the carseat and did not sleep for the rest of the flight, in large part because it took me an hour to track down our favourite flight attendant to ask her to fill Ben’s bottle. *deep sigh* “I’ll have to see if we have enough milk.” By the time we landed I was pretty sure the rest of the passengers were plotting to toss us out the window, led by the angry nun who had the misfortune to be seated right behind us.

So this time around we’re going to be prepared for anything. We fly out around 9:30PM so in an ideal world Ben and Molly should sleep the whole time, but we are also bringing a selection of activities to keep two kids (and their parents) distracted for at least 7 hours. Or possibly 7 days.

©PicklesINK 2012

Overkill? Maybe. Or just enough kill… I guess we’ll find out.

On further reflection, maybe I should pack a whole lot of chocolates and tiny liquor bottles to pass out to the other passengers as necessary. They’re under 100mL, right?

~ karyn

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