Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Trip Over the Ocean

I've been off the blog for just over a month because the children and I made the big eleven hour flight across the Atlantic to visit family and friends for a whole month.  So once again, I have a lot of catching up to do!

On the way to Texas the flight went as well as it could possibly go.  We made it with relatively few troubles.  The flight had a slight delay.  We had to wait about an hour and a half at the gate before getting on the plane.  Bobby got a little upset because of all the cars I brought, he really wanted the one car that Judah already had.  He got over it eventually as saltine crackers came to the rescue as a distraction.  They boarded us before priority seating without me even asking.  Many people traveling with children recommend not boarding early, but when I am without my husband I prefer to board early because it takes us so long to get settled and people are not trying to get past you.  I really don't like feeling like we are in the way.

On the plane we had a whole row to ourselves, plus two seats behind us.  When I was getting my boarding passes, the lady blocked the extra seat in our row so that I'd have a seat for Bobby which was lovely.  The flight was not full, so they had extra space.  Hannah and Drew sat right behind me and Bobby.  Genna and Judah were at the other end of the center row.  Isaac was in the middle.

Here's the problem with overseas flights nowadays, they have TVs for every seat.  This means my children were counting on watching movies for eleven hours.  The problem arises when they only have ONE appropriate movie on the whole flight for children.  Moana was it.  However, they all wanted to watch the Disney channel and Fantastic Beasts and so on which I didn't want them to watch.  So, what do you do?  Apparently, when you have six children, five of which have their heart set on eleven hours of TV, you encourage them to (a) watch Moana as many times as they can stand, (b) attempt to preview the Fantastic Beasts while the toddler drives cars all over you and then tell your oldest three they can watch it if Isaac will avert his eyes during two certain scenes, and (c) you give in to the stupid Disney channel for the oldest 4 kids.  Judah literally watched Moana for all but 2 hours of the flight.  They were happy even if I did feel like I was rotting their brain, and very likely their souls, for the sake of a peaceful trip.
See what I mean?  Perfectly good brains rotting before my very eyes!

These photos only confirm my fears.

Bobby is really a great traveler, but he is a horrible sleeper when he can not be in a crib.  So guess how long he slept of that 11 hour and 15 minute flight.  Did you guess 30 minutes?  That's right!  I got 30 minutes with a sleeping baby and 10 hours and 45 minutes with an awake, albeit happy, baby.  He spent most of his time driving his cars on the empty seat (or on me) and eating snacks.  He watched Moana for about 10 minutes, but since he can't or won't keep headphones on this didn't keep his attention long.  Bobby has always enjoyed lining things up.  While he was lining up the cars I asked him if he lined them up, and he replied, "Line up."  That was his first really clear two word phrase.  While he lined up and drove his cars, I had one earbud in and was attempting to watch a few of the movies they had available for adults.  I'd say I was maybe 33% successful.  That's about as much of the movies that I was able to follow and take in with all the distractions and questions.

This was such an easier flight than when I made the same flight back in 2008 with three kids 4 years and under for two main reasons.  First, I have three big kids to help me carry bags and pull suitcases.  We packed light, but still how light can you really pack with 7 people?  We had one rolling suitcase for each of the oldest four (a kid-sized one for Drew) plus one for me.  Everyone, but Bobby had a backpack for their carry on.  Judah's was ultra light, containing only his and Bobby's lovies and one toy.  Drew's was fairly light, containing one change of clothes for each of the boys and myself for an emergency.  The girls each packed their own bag with one emergency change of clothes and other things for them to read or do.  Isaac had a small backpack with toys for the three youngest and a couple books for himself.  I had my Mary Poppins diaper bag with diapers, snacks, a few more cars for Bobby, and our small electronics, passports, etc.  I wore Bob and had a small stroller to gate check for Judah to hop in and out of.  Getting around the airport was a breeze compared to way back when, when I had to alternate shoving my suitcases and double stroller while wearing a baby and keeping up with the 2 and 4 year olds through the airport when I had to move to a different line.

The second reason this was easier is that I didn't have to take everyone to the bathroom myself.  Hannah was Drew's buddy and Genna was Judah's buddy.  Those particular personalities usually mesh better and so when I really don't have time for anyone refusing to cooperate with their big kid this is how we split up.  It seems funny that Hannah would get the oldest of the three youngest since she is the oldest and presumably more capable.  However, Drew needs a firmer voice than Judah which Hannah has, and Judah needs sweet cajoling which Genna is full of.  Isaac typically has trouble being helpful willingly and on this kind of trip is not the time to teach him, so he gets a freebie by being my "helper" with Bobby.  Anyway, Hannah and Genna both had to take Drew and Judah to the bathroom five times each.  That would have meant I would have had to have taken kids to the bathroom for a total twelve times, including the two diaper changes for Bobby.  Back in the day before I had a big kid set, we all would have had to go together all twelve times and tried to squeeze in to that tiny space.  So, you see!  Having six kids really is easier than having three!

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