It is 2am and both kids are wide awake for the 3rd night running. Oh the joys of jetlag!
We have just returned from our first overseas holiday as a family of 4, to New Zealand. We have been planning every detail for months and dreading the flight for even longer. Flying to NZ isn't for the faint hearted, 4 flights and almost 2 days of solid travel. We have been once before, when our eldest was 6 months old and we thought that was bad. Getting your first tooth on a 24 hour flight is not the best timing! But this trip would be a completely diffrrent ball game, 2 kids, one of them didn't even have a seat. I struggle to keep our almost 2 year old still for 60 seconds to put her shoes on. Oh God.
I spent months trawling through Mumsnet, Google, anywhere that might hold the answer, looking for tips to entertain the kids and to make the flight go faster, basically hoping that I would find some miracle cure that no one else had thought of. Turns out that there isn't one.
So I resorted to buying every toy that I could find that was small enough to fit in our hand luggage, we probably could have brought an extra seat with the money that I spent on this crap stuff. I had stickers, colouring, dot to dots, travel games, Top Trump's, Notebooks, Posters, Etch a sketch, Lego, Ninjago cards, Cuddly toys, Magnetic books, Mini Peppa Pig figures, Superhero figures, Books, Every Where's Wally Book in existence, 2 Tablets loaded with Games and Movies, 4 phones loaded with different Games, Magic water painting books, Star Wars Toys, Lift the flap books, Reusable sticker books, Playing cards, A fishing game, Princesses, Cars, My Little Pony and a massive bag of snacks (including Chocolate for bribery), and an In flight Entertainment system. Surely this would keep them entertained?!
It didn't, we barely touched half of it. It turns out that all a 5 year old boy wants to do is play games or 'go on a screen' which he did alot, a 2 year old girl on the other hand just wants to run, jump up and down on seats, ask 'who's that?' really loudly to everyone sitting in a 5 metre radius or that dares to walk past. We walked up and down the plane alot, and luckily they both slept more than expected (travelling through different time zones and it being Dark for most of the journey helped). Most of the passengers were lovely and had been in the same situation, with one exception. We will call her the Wicked Witch, our 2 year woke up after a 3 hour sleep and had the audacity to cry, the cry turned into a scream which could not be stifled with dummies, cuddles or bribery. Being the nice person that he is hubby took her to the back of the plane, to find somewhere quieter away from all of the other sleeping kids to be chased by Wicked Witch. Who went on to tell him to shut her up, stick the dummy in her gob and to stop being a selfish parent. (I have left out all of the swearing that she kindly included). Why hand't we thought of that, if only we were as wise as witchy and had tried to give her the dummy!
Our one saviour for hauling excessive amounts of hand luggage and 2 kids around 5 different airports were our Trunki's, the kids bloody loved them and if they weren't riding them they were pulling them. Running over a lot of people's toes/legs/suitcases on the way was totally worth it! Also sitting near other families in the same situation helps, just exchanging reassuring glances does a surprising amount for your sanity.
So what advice can I give? Not a lot, it will not be the best day of your life but you will survive and you will make it to the other side and have an amazing holiday, before you have to do it all over again. Good Luck!
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