Sunday, July 22, 2012

Travelling with an 18 month old

Well, it was not easy. The short flight from Dublin to London was a breeze of course, nothing too different from the many flights Oliver had done to and from Italy. Then we had one first crucial issue. Oliver fell asleep just before boarding. It was his nap time of course but ideally we should have kept him awake till after boarding. The crew were amazing, we boarded first, we had plenty of room (totally worth flying in upper economy) and Oliver slept right till after take off....we knew it was going to be a long journey to San Francisco...The main thing was that he hated the air-travel cot we were so looking forward to use. Between the two of us, we did all we could to keep him quiet but he was bored out his mind. The little telly was good, he watched a good bit of Cbebees, we distracted him with food I had brought with me, toys etc, but 10 hours are LONG. Towards the end he was really tired, but just could not settle in the little cot. We got him to sleep eventually...on the floor in front of our feet! We had his blanket from home (very important!) plus the ones from the plane, so he was cosy and, as he normally does, could sleep on his belly. I guess he slept for maybe 2 hours, and we really could not leave him on the floor for safety reason, but it was better than nothing I suppose.

He settled very quickly in the new time zone, I'd say within a couple of days he was back to a normal routine. He did wake up almost every night hungry though, and I suppose this brings me to the second crucial issue of the holiday. We were rarely at home and eating out regularly is NOT something I recommend with a toddler. Sure apparently it is very normal in many places, specially in California, but it is not our norm at home. I had never a clear idea of how much food Oliver had, the timing of lunch and dinner was all over the place, also he could only sit still for so long in the high chair and I ended up being quite stressed out. Mike's cousins have a 4 year old and you just cannot assume that the behavior would be the same. While a 4 year old can spend hours playing with his parents' iPhone, Oliver will first chew on it and then trow it on the floor. While you can talk to a 4 year old, and most importantly he can reply, Oliver will let you quickly know he's bored and wants to get down and stretch his legs...mostly by grabbing everything in reach and throwing it on the floor. He doesn't care if it's not polite, he doesn't care if you have not finished your adult meal. I swear I felt so much under pressure (totally silly I know), I was making things worse. This was not helped by the fact that the other child was apparently the best behaved child ever, who's been brought to restaurants since he was home from the hospital etc. But this is for another blog post. It was so refreshing meeting up with Best When Used By and Rain and their adorable (normal!!) babies! I couldn't say this in front fo the American side of the family of course, but for me meeting with them was one of the highlights of the holiday.
The main problem was that we could not really dictate the pace of the holiday, there was always something planned, we were always with someone. Not good with a toddler, I repeat.
It was vital for us to have some time for ourselves where we could stick to a schedule, I was doing the cooking, Oliver was eating and napping as he should have. Those were very good days.
Yet Oliver just loved it there, loved the food, the weather, the different things he could do etc. and surely he loved sharing a room with us! We discovered quickly he couldn't be bothered with quesadillas when we were eating out, classic entry in child menu in Cali  (yes he liked the first one, but as I said, we were eating out often), he much preferred our food! And that was fine by us.

The final crucial issue was that he was teething badly. And we didn't realise this was the problem till the last few days when I said to Mike "let's try the gum gel, see if it calms him down" and two seconds later Mike said "I found a new tooth!" The poor baby was waking not only because of hunger, but also because of pain!! Note to self, always consider the possibility of teething.
I suppose the most difficult part was actually for Mike travelling back on his own with Oliver. Thankfully he had the seat beside him free, but even though Oliver did fall asleep quite early in the flight (about two hours in), when he woke up around midnight (3 hours later) he was looking for me and the fact that  I was not there put him into a state. Again Mike said the crew were very helpful, did all they could to give him a hand, but again...10 hours are LONG.

A few pics to go with this post:

On the plane before take off...ahhh bless him!

I don't know what time it was here, trying to get him to sleep a bit more.

In Target the day after we arrived, stil jet lagged!

In San Francisco...and behaving appropriately eheh

At one of the many restaurants...

Playing in the garden, it was one of his favorite things!

This concludes my first holiday post!

Now very briefly on the FET. I had my baseline yesterday, all looks good, started estrogen and steroids today as per my usual FET protocol. Next scan is next Saturday, I'll try to link the posts with FET updates!


  1. Travelling with a toddler makes you wistful for the newborn days, when things were so much simpler, huh? :-) I know I do...
    Oliver sounds like a very normal toddler, with a healthy interest in everything. And I so know that stressed out mummy who manages to make things worse instead of calmer and better. There are moments when that is all you can do, it is like your mind is wiped clean and you match your toddler's level of attention and patience. But it makes good stories to tell later on. :-)
    All in all it sounds like you had quite a good time. Which is great, because you surely deserved it. FET plans also sound good - fingers crossed for good news soon!

  2. Ah, what you describe is exactly what keeps me from using hubby's frequent flyer miles to book a trip to my sister (who lives in California) with the kids! (luckily they're coming to us this summer). And I also hear you on getting your regular schedule disrupted and eating out too much - I hate that! So hats of to you for doing (and surviving) it!

    Good luck with the FET!

  3. I am so glad you are all home, safe and sound! My dear Fran, although our visit was rather short, it was a definite highlight for me too! I'm so sorry to hear that Oliver was teething - he was so good and happy the day we visited, proof of what a trooper he is! Your trip was certainly full of joys and challenges. And now you are on to your next phase of motherhood - beginning a new cycle! I wish you all the luck in the world and will mail you a copy of the photo we took that day at the park!

  4. I just read your previous post about Oliver, the hospital and the virus he had! I guess you did not all arrive home as safely and soundly as I had hoped. I'm so glad he is doing better and can't imagine what a fright it was for you. Hugs to you all.

  5. Oh my goodness, traveling with a toddler sounds exhausting!!! But glad to hear that it's all done, and you enjoyed yourself. The pics of Oliver are just adorable!!! Love them!

    So excited about your FET - fingers crossed that it's an easy process to baby #2!!!

  6. I'm glad you weathered it, Fran. Ten hours is....endless, actually. In confined places, with not much going on, and no proper place to lay one's heavy head. Our flight was only about 7, but we didn't relish that one either.

    Oliver looks such a big, happy boy! And, yes, control over napping and makes all the difference. It's so hard to be in a situation where you can't keep to the same routine. I was a complete neurotic about it when we were gone...but our best days were also the days that most closely resembled being at home.

    Glad you made it back. So sorry (again) that we could not meet.

  7. As you know, I just came back from Chicago and while the flight was way shorter than yours, traveling with a toddler is HARD!

    I love the jet lag pictures of Oliver (especially the one in the cart). Made me laugh out loud. I'm glad you guys had a good vacation. :)


Thank you so much for stopping by, your comments warm my heart!