Sunday, 20 January 2013

Babies on a plane

Now I've survived it, I feel quite proud.  Travel with babies is one of those things that you hear can happen, and people assure you it does happen, but you can't believe it possible until it's done.  As a survivor, I can now assure you that it can happen.  It just won't happen in the way you're used to. 

I used to spend a day packing for myself before a trip.  Getting all the clothes out on the and undergoing a narrowing-down process always seemed better than choosing outright.  It also gave the opportunity to drag out old favourites that I'd never wear at home, but somehow would pass for holiday wear.  Kinda crazy, yes, but mostly really time-consuming. 

Then I'd hop on a train to the airport, pausing for a cappuccino at Liverpool Street, before heading to the tube and eventually the terminal.  Check-in, dump bags, browse duty-free perfumes before settling on a giant Toblerone, drink a glass of bubbly and sleep the whole way after take-off.

I was a good traveller.  But baby-on-board is a whole 'nother world.  The airport is no longer just a high-security shopping mall, but an obstacle course of temptations, unpleasant changing facilities and people for me to avoid with my huge pack of baby-supplies.  Even with my new improved packing technique, which is basically forgetting to pack my stuff and employing the narrow-down strategy to Ethan's clothes, we had tons to carry.  Milk, bottles, diapers  wipes, toys, snacks, blanket, change of clothes, extra change of clothes - well that was the small bag, anyways.  We packed whatever we imagined would save us from a horrid transatlantic adventure   

                                   'This toy?'  'Yes, one time it kept him occupied for 5 whole minutes.' 
                                   'How many wipes?'  'A pack?'  'We'll bring 2!

And don't other baby-carriers know it!  We would get anything from the sympathetic half smile to the full-out 'save-me!' grimace from other parents.  Babies are instant conversation starters, as always.  So we could even exchange survival techniques with out fellow baby-trekkers in the passport control queue.  Some unpleasantness out there, like giving the baby a dose of anti-histamine before hand.  But also some nice tips, like get them to eat something during take-off to combat the pain of popping ears.   

And then the flight itself.  The poor little fella was so tired with getting up early to get to the airport and disrupted nap schedule  but he was such a sweetie.  Smiling at other babies and the flight attendant.  He managed to sleep briefly, after some crying that I'm sure was more than the other travellers wanted to hear.  I had worried that his crying would be hard on my cabin-fellows.  Those lucky travellers who have had their duty-free and their bubbly and their Toblerone.  I had visions of a kind of airplane disaster film, a kind of Snakes on a Plane, but with babies.  Screaming.  Puking.  Unhappy and just generally causing an international incident.  But it was ok because I - and everyone else in the plane - just cared less than I thought.  No dirty looks over the seat.  So, all in all, tiring but do-able.  

Ethan liked the cartoons.  We made it safe.  Had a great time away.  And although I missed my bubbly, we did manage a celebratory in-flight wine on the way home.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Where have you been?

It's been so long since I've written. Over the past year, I have oftenthought about blogging, but life took over. Then after a while, so much happensand changes that I didn't know where to begin.

Now everyone around me is blogging away and so I return, kind ofembarrassed, I suppose, for not keeping it up. Also kind of excited to tell youall the news!

Ethan is 1 year old! Where did that time go? He's such a little mister now,crawling, walking sideways along tables, chattering away in near words,clapping and waving. We have come to visit my parents in Texas over Christmasand stayed for while into the New Year. He has been Lord of Manor, demandingall of his Opa and Oma's attention; directing them around like a little slavemaster. They give into him, offering him ice cream and whatever non-deadly bitsof household stuff he sets his heart on.

We are discovering new things about this little emerging person every day.And it's the most exciting journey. He recently informed us that he loves TexasBBQ probably better than any other food on the planet. We went to the SwingingDoor, a local place serving simple smokey BBQ foods. Paper menus and plastictable cloths all surrounded by the smell of the smokehouse out back. Signs ofgood BBQ.

On the evening we went, he was being a little crabby. Didn't want his toys.Wasn't interested in the bread served while we waited for our order. But oncethe food arrived, his eyes got wide and his little grabby hands went for everybit of meat within his reach. He was stuffing in green beans, rib meat anddirty rice like we'd starved him for a day. He smelled like BBQ sauce until Ishampooed him later that evening before bed.

Thom and I are trucking along. Having a baby takes its toll on anyrelationship. But we have also had a year of grief to contend with, and in casethat wasn't enough, we've both started businesses this year. Thom is followinga long-time dream and tattooing. His artwork has always been great, but now hemakes it all permanent and even gets paid. It's been an ambition for a longtime and it's wonderful to see him do it.

I am confining my psychology work to one day a week and have been luckyenough to work as a personal trainer around Thom and Ethan's schedules the restof the time. It keeps me busy, but also healthy and happy. Nothing beats beingaround fitness-minded people for positivity. I've lost the mum-tum and gained asix pack. In the next few months, I'll be preparing for a body building competition.Yummy-mummy category! Keep an eye out for my posts about my progress. Promise Iwon't leave it so long!