So we’ve all made it here and are now well into the groove of our beautiful Bali holiday. Although was a somewhat ambitious first trip abroad, I’m so glad we’re here, we’re having a great time, seeing some amazing things and I am enjoying spending uninterrupted time with my boys Now, I’m sure you don’t want to hear about the glorious sunshine, our luxury private pool villa, the fresh sea food and the tropical beaches…that would be SO boring right!? (sorry). Ok, so lets talk about ‘the flight’…
15 hours. It was, how can I say? It was….okkaaaayyy. It was no where near as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it just okay. There were no real hairy moments and there were no real good moments either e.g. sleep, it was just okaaay. And that’s what made it so long, god it dragged and dragged! He was fine talking off and landing, no probs with his ears or anything like that, he was generally unfazed by the whole thing in fact and he particulalry enjoyed the highlights of every traveller’s journeys – the travelators at the air port ‘ooooo!’, the shiny floors (perfect for car playing) and the snap snap of the aeroplane seatbelts, ‘yay!’, there were so many things to keep him amused! However I think we made it round about above Germany when I heard the first: ‘park? Mummy, park?’...hmmmmm, how can I explain this?
The sitting still in one place for 15 hours wasn’t really his thing, I lost count of the number of LRP’s I did (laps round the plane). The escape doors were a particular object of fascination: No you can’t push that lever. No you can’t grab that fire extinguisher. Nope you can’t open that hatch either. Actually, we’re on a plane, you can’t really touch anything. And no before you ask again, there is no park at 50,000 feet. How about another LRP? Yay!
On the first 12 hour flight we had a bassinet seat which is one of the ones at the front where they attach a little cot to the wall. If we hadn’t had these seats and been crammed into a row I think I’d have been at the escape door myself. That little space between our legs where he could stand up and drive his car (and me) up the wall was a matter of survival. It was really tough keeping him entertained for so long. The ipad is awesome and I was well stocked on new apps and films but there is one fundamental annoyance I have the ipad. Now he knows where the main button is he is obsessed with pushing it, which of course takes you away from whatever you’re on, and then he gets annoyed again and you have to put it back on again, and then the whole thing starts again. This gets somewhat annoying after the 20,000 time. He did look very cute in his new headphones though and Cars 2 was a real god send.
I went through some strange thought processes whilst doing my LRP’s and trying to keep him amused. Angry thoughts targeted at general ‘plane people’ as I decided I would label them, crossed my mind, here’s a taster of my aeroplane brain… ‘why the hell don’t they have soft play areas on planes? It’s so selfish’…’instead of first class, they should have a kids party room where all the families are allowed to go and eat jelly. In fact I hate how they make everyone parade through first class when they get onto the plane. Oooo look at where you could be sitting one day if you work really hard. Ugh. Everyone should be given blindfolds’…. ‘the air hostesses should be forced to dress as clowns and put on shows regularly’….’why the hell don’t they give out colouring packs any more?! Is it too much to ask for a little crayon!?’….’why do planes give me spots and make me look ugly? And actually why are the air hostesses getting more attractive as I get less attractive. Stop sucking out my beauty! And my soul! Give them back!’ and so on and so on…..
They turned all the lights out as we flew through darkness and everyone was dropping off around us. This was of course middle of the day for us, so Phoenix was in full swing, no chance of sleeping at all. It was around this time when I think one of my favourite Phoenix plane moments occurred. He toddled down the aisle, stopped at a sleeping man, tugged his arm and shouted ‘Tea? Tea?’. Oops. Ah if only; toddler stewardesses, hmmmm, there could be something in this. So after several failed attempts at getting him off to sleep we had one last shot and I stood singing to him by the fire escape until he nodded off. Unbelievably I was able to move him into the bassinet and he was off. Yes! I sat down and closed my eyes. We’d done it, he had to go all the way now. Suddenly, BinG! Lights on! Everyone awake for breakfast! Grrrrrrrr. SO BRIGHT! And everyone shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! What do you mean he woke you when you were all sleeping?! I don’t care! Shhhhhh! By carefully manoeuvring the blanket amongst the peering eyes of other parents, we managed to create a ‘blanket eye cover’ so he still had darkness over his eyes but could also still breathe – what desperation!!! I think the staring parents were either thinking ‘kudos to you. nice moves’ or possibly even, ‘Oh god she’s resorting to suffocation techniques’. In total he slept for four measly little hours, but on the plus side it did mean when we arrived at midday he went down for a nap for a couple of hours, and then we woke him for a swim and dinner and then he went to bed in his usual bedtime routine, boom, bang on Bali time from day one. Textbook travelling parenting I’d say. So there was hope afterall.
So here’s my low down of plane tips with travelling with toddlers:
1) Ask for a bassinet seat. If you don’t get one just punch people until you do get one. YOU. WILL. NOT. SURVIVE. WITHOUT. IT!!!
2) Take lots of new toys. They have be new. Old ones WILL NOT cut it. Little cars and click clack bricks were the best success stories of our flight.
3) Trunkis totally rock for airports. That and travelators of course. Get on them and just keep going.
4) Take raisins. If you think you’ve got enough, just take more. The whole food thing was a bit of a nightmare. take easy wins, it’s not the time for broccoli persuasion.
5) Get an ipad. How on earth did anyone go long haul without one (god I’m a snob).
6) Scan your territory. Mark out the baby haters and the ‘family friends’. Sleepy Z ended up being flung into the lap of a ‘baby hater’, it didn’t go down well’
7) Be friend air hostesses by forcing your baby to be cute and entertaining. Once you’ve got them hooked make them do as much as they can for you and don’t feel guilty.
8) I used a really small childs rucksack for all his changing bits. I found this really handy to store and fling around and no need to take loads into the loo.
9) Do homely things. I brushed his teeth and put him in his PJS and it was only when I did that he went to sleep.
10) Don’t forget that it will end. You will not be in the air forever. It feels like it, but at some point you will be on holiday! And until then, enjoy those LRPs!
More Bali adventures coming to a blog near you soon!
Ems, Ben, Phoenix xxx