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    International toddler

    June 3rd, 2010

    I’ve been away for awhile, but with good reason: we’re out of town. Let me elaborate: we’re more or less on the other side of the world, in a timezone 10 hours ahead.

    While this trip so far has been easy in some respects, it’s been brutal in others and I’m having serious thoughts about doing another family trip of this magnitude with any child under the age of 5. We did this cross-over with a ratio of 3 adults to 1 toddler and I admire anyone that can do it in less. As far as I’m conserned 2 kids ounumber 2 parents on these types of journeys.

    I’m envious of parents that have the luxury of road trips. Right now an 8 hour drive in a private space, and option to pull over sounds heavenly.

    20 hour travel day: one 14hr flight, followed by a 3hr lay-over, followed by another 3 hour flight on the other hand? Not so much fun. As an adult, this is a tiring trip. I don’t blame my toddler for having his scram-fest fits.

    G did pretty well flying actually. It helped that our trans-Atlantic flight was a red-eye and he slept through just about all of it. The carseat onboard was def. helpful, but he couldn’t sleep in it comfortably. Well, if you sat, restrained for 4 hours in one spot, you’d get pissy too. MY butt hurt after sitting that long, and I could shift my bum around. His 5 point harness on the other hand, didn’t give him that option. So he slept in my lap for a good few hours, pretty much sprawled out. It was the best sleep he had on that flight. Me? Not so much.

    The time shift has been difficult. G’s been waking up routinely for 2 hours each night from 2-4am wanting to play. It’s been brutal. His naps are all over the place too, and I’m torn between keeping him on his regular schedule or following the sleep-begets-sleep rule. He’s been bed sharing with us too, which is also challenging (He can’t seem to sleep in his pack and play.)… for the parents mostly. G does 360s in his sleep. And kicks. I have a nice, welty bruise on my arm courtesty of a size 5 foot. S avoided a black eye last night, by miracle, as G slept with his head in my arm-pit and feet at S’ face. As I write, his feet are at the headboard and he’s literaly upside down. But he’s at least sleeping.
    I am starting to wonder if our son really sleeps through the night. Or if he wakes up and chills out in his room without asking for us.
    I’m also realizing that he’s not ready yet for a big boy bed. I was hoping that when the baby arrives it would move into the crib and G in a big-boy bed, but observing his sleep patterns these last few nights rules this out for me. He sleep-crawls/walks on the bed, and those little side rails won’t keep him from falling off the bed. S used to sleep walk as a child, and I think G might be too. I also have no idea how to keep him in said bed until he falls asleep. Luckily we have until Nov to figure this out, but my grand designs about using this trip as big bed training is a massive fail. And here I thought G would sleep in the other apartment room by himself. HA!

    On the bonus side though, he is doing SO well culturally. He’s eating the food, which is a big bonus. My family adores him and he’s been so good to them. He also got to meet some new cousins, which is really heart-warming for me. He’s been in a great mood while awake, even given his lack of toys.

    Now here are two travel tips I’ll put out there for parents. Bring masking tape and balloons.

    In my McGuiver thinking, I knew we needed to child proof the apartment we rented. We can’t do anything permanent and with no international guidelene you can’t exactly bring outlet plugs from home, or know how many you’ll need. Hence the
    masking tape. You spend 15 min covering outlets, taping down drawers and cabinet doors. It peels off easy, without taking the paint off too. My curious toddler isn’t onto this yet, and hasn’t managed to open anything I didn’t want him to. AND he’s tried! No, don’t do this at home, but in a travel pinch it works.

    Item 2: balloons. They pack small, and when blown up give you hours of chase around, safe fun. Safe as in ‘it keeps the electronics safe’ from harder items thrown at them 🙂 I thank S for that idea.

    So there you have it. My thoughts on the first few days. We have a memorial service to get through (which as it turns out G and I can’t go to – bad juju for pregnant women and kids under 3 to go to a cemetery here) and another week, but we’re getting by.

    On my side, I am having somewhat of an identity crisis, but I need some more self reflection before I can share my thoughts. S and I are doing great, but I’m struggling with how I define myself culturally.

    On the baby front, things are OK, I guess. Still no kicks, and I’m hoping that’s just the anterior placenta talking. I shouldda brought my monitor. I could use the peace of mind right now, rather than plotting which one of my mom’s doctor friends I can visit for their stethoscope. Silly me.

    That’s not my bed!

    June 19th, 2009

    We’re visiting family this week. S’ family is getting lots of G love. G in turn is getting oodles of people fawning over him. And a new toy from Auntie K! Yeah, his life isn’t sucking right now.

    On the way out here G had his very first plane adventure, and I must say he did pretty well. He cried on the first landing, either because he was hungry, or the ear pressure thing, but CA to Philly went rather uneventfully. He slept most of the way from Philly to Norfolk on the second leg and when he wasn’t sleeping he was smiling and grinning like a goon. He gets high marks for his first day of travel. I hope the return adventure will be just as uneventful.

    I was really worried that our first leg (a red-eye flight) would turn into a bloodshot -eye flight for all passengers around him, but he snoozed through almost all of it. He had the most comfortable seat in the house though, which might have helped.

    Meanwhile, I’ve come to the conclusion that US Airways is running a social experiment, trying to see just how uncomfortable they can get their seats before people would just prefer to stand instead. Maybe all my recent international travel has spoiled me, but even Lufthansa Economy looked (and probably felt) like First Class on US Air. I get nautious if I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t sleep well when I’m not comfortable. I felt sick most of my day yesterday. Draw your own conclusions.

    Our travel experience was also highlighted by our normal set of fiascos — they messed up our seats, so that NONE of us were seated together (maybe they thought a flight attendant would care for G on the trip), and they broke our luggage. At least this time it all arived with us. 2/3 times in the past it didn’t make it past our connection. It’s great to have to plan for lost luggage, lemme tell you.

    Back to the reason we’re here — family.

    We’re having a blast. G is letting people hold him without must fussying, which is awesome. His cousins even got to carry him while he chilled in their arms. He even trained Cousin G to change his diapers — yeah, there’s a memory he’ll appreciate when he’s in his teens 🙂

    We also met G’s great-grammie. She is 94 this year and sharp as can be. He was the talk of the adult care facility she’s staying in while she recoops from a broken hip. He brought many a smiles to aging faces, lemme tell you.

    Our only misadventure thus far has been bed-time. I don’t know if it’s the timezone difference, or G’s awareness that he’s not at home, but bedtime was rough last night. He did great for naps, but evening time was brutal. I hate having to let him cry-it-out, but after multiple pick-ups for comfort, nursings, and even cuddles with me in bed until he fell asleep, I had to give up. Every time I’d put him back in his crib he’d start crying. I hope this gets better by tomorrow, because a cranky G = cranky mommy, and that’s never a good thing.

    Ta ta! I’ll post pictures soon,