I'm sitting at a small table outside our room at a guest house in Pretoria, South Africa. We've just returned from weekend trip to Swaziland. The kids are sleeping and Dan is sitting across from me reading the first book in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series.
We arrived in South Africa a week ago. It was 9 pm here (3 pm EDT) and we'd been traveling for over 24 hours counting the drive to the airport from home.
I had been nervous about flying with a toddler and an infant, but it really wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. The craziest parts were when we had to go through security and Edwin had to put "blankie bear" in a bin and let go of him. That's when he decided to show everyone in line just how upset he was by laying down on the floor (just when we also needed to take his sweatshirt off of him too) and screaming. Picture me with Elena in the moby, Dan with his hands full of stuff that needs to be put in bins to go through the security check and we're both down on the floor trying to get the sweatshirt off our screaming, crying toddler while reassuring him he will get blankie bear back if he would just cooperate. Logic and reason didn't really work then, so we had to manhandle Edwin through the gate and whip blankie bear out of the bin as soon as possible. I'm sure everyone in line was thinking: "I hope they're not on my flight." Oh well.
The flights actually went really well. The first leg was about 7 hours and we all slept part of that time. The second leg was about 11 hours. Edwin watched a little bit of some video the airline had available, ate snacks, explored the workings of the food tray, drew on the magnadoodle, played with his small construction vehicles and napped. Elena slept in the wall-mounted bassinet much of the time, nursed and only had two fits of crying, which really didn't last long.Plus the hum of the airplane was so loud, most people couldn't have heard much. We were right near the bathrooms on both flights and had at least one bulkhead seat (that's where the bassinets can be used) and other seats near it. Both kids did fine during take off and landing - no ear problems whatsoever. I'm hoping our return flights will go just as well (crossing my fingers!).
We had a 3 hour layover in Amsterdam which started out a little frantically because I realized soon after we got off the plane that I had left my purse on the plane. In it were our passports, my credit cards and some money. Giant "whoops!" I left Dan with the kids and ran back to the gate to see if I could get back on the plane. No such luck. We had been the last passengers off and the crew had walked by us soon before I realized I didn't have my purse. After running through the airport looking for some one to help, a worker directed me to a certain airline counter. Another official looking guy who saw me running asked what was wrong, I told him and he quickly radioed some people and got permission to go back on the plane. I told him what seat he'd find my purse under and he found it. I could have hugged him. I've never done such a thing while traveling and I think I can blame it on never having traveled with kids before. But I can assure you that I didn't go anywhere from then on without counting our bags.
We arrived tired and thankful to be here. I was also kind of amazed at how well the kids did. Overall, in spite of the craziness of this past week, they have done well. The time change and all the new people and places has definitely taken it's toll on Edwin. Elena doesn't have a clue that we're on another continent and she's pretty much been the same as she was at home.
I'd say we've all adjusted to the time difference by now. Let me just say that it's hard to adjust and get over the tiredness on my own, but it's definitely tougher when there are also little children who need to adjust. I'm glad it's basically behind us for now.
More later! Now I need to go sleep.