Flying Long Haul with a Two Year Old (without an iPad)

To date we’ve done 10 short haul flights with Ethan sitting on our laps.  There has definitely been a correlation between his age/size and how difficult he is to handle.  So you can only imagine how worried I was flying across the Atlantic with him… However, because he had his own seat, things were different this time.

I was a mess, I was over tired, I couldn’t lift/carry anything – I was a lame ass excuse for a human in my opinion, ask my husband, he’ll agree.

We had everything sorted though, a HUGE bag full of toys, snacks, cuddly toys, books, you name it, it was in there – (apart from an iPad).  And then we had another bag full of nappies, milk, change of clothes, sudocrem, calpol… which turned out to be very lucky indeed as we ended up flying the next day, so we had another night in a Heathrow hotel with our luggage stored in Airport security!

The key to flying when 6 months pregnant with a two year old is this… get your partner to look after them.  Jonny boy was amazing, he entertained, fed, changed, napped, ran around with Ethan the whole 10 hour flight, and he was a happy toddler with no tantrums.  It also helps if they win over the flight attendants too, get them on your side so they bring over a constant stream of goodies, activities and treats.

The flight home was a night flight.  We took off two hours late – within 20 mins of sitting on the plane Ethan had managed to fall into the footwell headfirst (which wrongly we found hilarious) hitting and cutting the back of his head.  I had a looooooovely lady sitting just across the aisle warning me about all dangers of concussion (like I don’t know them already, I’m just an idiot wakeboarder after all).  So it was actually lucky we sat on the runway for a couple of hours so I could keep an eye on him before we embarked on an eight hour flight across the ocean.

Just because its a night flight doesn’t mean they will sleep.

Out of the eight hours, he slept for about four of them.  I didn’t get any sleep – its weird, I thought I would if the lil man was catching some shut eye.  But then I couldn’t sleep because I felt like I needed to watch him incase he rolled off the seat again and also the crazy voice in my head saying ‘ what if someone takes him while I’m asleep?’  Absurd I know, but thats just parenthood for you.  So while my two boys were catching flies, I got to watch The Theory of Everything and Wild in peace!  It was the best flight I’ve had in ages!  Just a shame I could have a few glasses of red to top off the experience.

You can take a horse to water.

On our decent into Heathrow we got the juice cup ready for Ethan to enjoy so that we could enjoy a quiet landing.  That didn’t happen.  He didn’t want to drink which meant his ears were killing him apparently due to the size tantrum he threw.  The plane was silent and people were looking at me.  I just shrugged my shoulders… we tried many times to explain to him about how having a drink would take the pain away but he wasn’t having any of it… (and even the shoving it in their mouth tactic didn’t work). Theres only so much you can do when your seatbelt has to be fastened and the child is throwing the mother of all tantrums. 

Tips for flying long haul with a two year old when you don’t have an iPad: 

Toys.  Take lots of toys.  Hide your most decent toys for a couple of weeks before you fly and then bust them out on the plane at crucial moments.  Buy new toys.  Wrap old toys up in wrapping paper to make them exciting again. 

Snacks.  Loads of their favourite stuff to offer at crucial moments to prevent tantrums etc. 

Nappies.  If they are still in nappies then make sure you have loads in case you were stuck at the airport over night unexpectedly with no luggage and your car in long-term parking. 

Clothing.  See above tip.

Stickers.  Activity packs / sticker books / colouring in.  By the time we’d landed, our window area had been redecorated.  We cleaned it before we left though – aren’t we nice. 

Kids Meal.  Pre order a kids meal.  We never got ours on the way out due to flying a day later but the air hostesses threw together a nice little food tray to make up for it. 

Cartoons.  Show them how to play the TV and find their favourite cartoons ASAP. 

Was it all worth it…. absolutely.

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Uneasy Rider

I am 31 weeks preggers now (YEEEESSSS only 9 weeks left / Ooohh shizer only 9 weeks left).  Alas it has not been an easy ride this time, completely different to Ethan.  The first time around I was wakeboarding up until 5 months pregnant (until I couldn’t fit in my wetsuit anymore), I was doing yoga and I was walking an hour a day up until he was born.

Oh how different things are this time..

This time I managed to do buggy bootcamp until I hit the eight week mark I think – which made me feel absolutely pathetic.  But I was so tired and had bad nausea that exercising was the last thing I felt like doing – the last bootcamp I did I started to get tunnel vision so I knew it was time to stop.

I only rode a couple of times as well, once at Club Wake because it would have looked odd if I didn’t ride and I was still in the awkward early stages where you can’t really tell people.  And I rode in Ropes and Wires at BEP (anyone who saw me that day can vouch that I was rough as anything, I said I was ill but it was in fact, morning sickness!)

Once the morning sickness had subsided and I was over my cold as well as the two stomach bugs, along with the dawn of a new year, I got my act together and started swimming and doing some baby yoga.  I was feeling good but a couple of weeks in I caught another cold… and then another one.  I know colds are not that bad, but let me tell you, they suck while being pregnant and running around after a two year old.

I was lucky enough to go to Florida where I had a fabulously relaxing time and upon my return found out I’ve got low iron levels, which explains the extreme tiredness and shortness of breath (sooooo fun).  I started the iron tablets as prescribed and my body rejected them which may as well have been another stomach bug.  Testing out another kind as we speak. 

So now I’ve reached the final stretch, not long to go!  I can’t tell you how much I’m dying to get on the water, or lift a kettle bell, or wake surf, do circuits, yoga, walk more than 50 yards without back pain, ANYTHING… I just want to move my body!  I can’t wait until I don’t have to take a break and sit down while making a cuppa tea!  And I can’t wait to get my pre baby body back! 

I know its all worth it in the end and I really can’t wait to meet this little human I’m growing, but its not been an easy ride.  Its really really hard work making a baby!  

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Airport security with a baby / toddler

IMG_7397I’ve just returned from the Sunshine state that is Florida and I’m stoked to be home! Descending through the blanket of grey clouds to and even greyer looking Heathrow, then hopping in a taxi which led us round the grey boundary of the airport to the car, to then sit on the M25 and M1 and look at more, well, grey.  I tell ya, I just can’t get enough of England!  

This was our sixth trip abroad with the littlun and how about going through that airport security with a baby / toddler?  Its not easy, even when you think you’ve got it down to a fine art.  AKA, food in one clear bag, milk / water in another clear bag, calpol nappy cream in another and so on, and all handy ready to pull out and shove into a grey tray as you take off your belt, your watch, your shoes, pashmina – while getting your laptop out and trying not to lose your passport that seems to always be in your hand at this point. Oh and then theres trying to contain the toddler while folding up the buggy to get that on the conveyor-belt as well. 

The UK is completely different it seems to the other places I’ve travelled to with Ethan, (Spain, Portugal and the States).  At Heathrow it took us 30mins to get through security from start to finish as our bag of baby stuff was in a queue as one person was checking through nearly every bag that crossed their path, including swabbing them inside and out.  Painful to watch.  They check all the milk/food etc in a machine as well as make you taste it yourself, they look at the ml of the calpol (please don’t take this off meeeeeee!) and toss away the nappy cream as its over the 100ml limit – because all I want is a baby with nappy rash on a 10hr flight, another £3 in Boots on more cream once through.  It was a tedious experience to say the least. 

However, when flying from Europe, you get to go through as a priority due to the child so its a little less rushed.  You don’t have to strip off all your clothing and they don’t give a toss about milk / water testing.  They’ve allowed me through with a 2litre bottle of water before!

Funnily enough, the States were similar.  Yes we had to strip but we forgot to take sunscreen, water bottles and the over 100ml nappy cream out of the hand luggage and it went through unnoticed.   

Aaaaanyway – Tips for surviving UK security: 

1. Be organised

2. Buy clear bags and separate all your baby stuff

3. Milk in one, calpol / sudocrem in another

4. Food / fruit pouches in another

5. Get all that out along with lap top etc and put in grey tray

6. Strip yourself of all your valuables – watch, iPhone, belt, shoes and put in grey tray

7. Keep baby / toddler in buggy until last minute, then take out, try and get them to stand still while you fold up buggy and put on conveyor-belt

8. Pray the security people are friendly as child has run through without you and hope you set off the alarm as you run after them

9. Get buggy, get child in buggy if you can, dress yourself

10. Wait patiently as they test everything you brought with you to feed your baby / toddler.