Homeward Bound

Last night we received an email notifying us that our flight was six hours delayed due to a snow storm at home. This wasn’t the worst news, as our original flight was scheduled for 7 am, and we were going to have a very early morning. Now we’d be able to sleep in (as much as you’d let us, anyway) and lounge around all morning.

Since we have no car, and given that the Wal-Mart is the only thing around, we headed there for breakfast and to kill some time. For some reason whenever we travel abroad I crave donuts (and they always taste bad, so I’m not sure why I keep trying them), and I was happy to find donuts in the bakery. We had fun looking at all of the pastries, navigating through ordering at the coffee shop and the cafeteria-style checking out process (all in Spanish, obviously) and ate our food there. Your dad had bought you a banana, but on breaking it open it looked orange, and tasted ‘weird’, and I realized it was a plantain. You didn’t love it.

We then roamed around the store. Again. I was still thinking I could find a neat Spanish-speaking toy or book in Spanish. We did find lots of toys that spoke in Spanish, but they were identical to the US toys (almost all were plastic Fisher-Price), but cost about twice as much. So we decided against getting any of those. We did pick up some coffee beans and then headed back to our room to pack up. At the airport we made it through the long lines and you had fun walking along with your Trunki suitcase. At the gate you were very active, which I hoped would wear you out for the flight.

This was the flight that I was most worried about and that I’d planned for. I’d done lots of reading for activities to keep you busy, toys to keep you entertained, and any other ideas that could make the trip easier. We’d bought you one of the ‘best travel toys’ for your age, and we kept it hidden the entire trip hoping that it’d excite you and keep you occupied for a while. We packed your Trunki suitcase with this ‘surprise’ toy as well as many books and other toys. We had plenty of snacks and as a worst-case plan we even had a few iPad apps for you. We’ve never used those before for you, but we thought if things got really rough we’d give them a try.

The flight was five hours, and you did great for about four of them. You played, and ate, and slept and explored (by holding onto me and walking up and down the aisle). But around the beginning of hour five, you were over it. I think you were tired, and that was making you a bit fussy, but also you were just sick of being contained. You wanted to climb the chair, and reach over it to touch and pull the exciting looking brown hair you could see peeking out. You wanted to walk and crawl up and down the aisle on your own, so that you could grab onto people, and dig into their bags, and pull on their seatbelts. And when we wouldn’t let you do these things, you screamed. You have a newfound, super high-pitched, scream that you do when you are not happy, and unfortunately, we all heard a lot of it the last hour. Your dad and I kept getting up and holding you and walking around, but that was not placating you. At one point I took you into the bathroom, just for something different to do, and you were content in there just looking around and staring at yourself in the mirror, so we hung out in there for probably ten minutes. But alas, the seatbelt sign came on (oh no!) and we were beginning our descent (oh yeah!), so we had to sit down. Those last 30 minutes or so were really rough.

The best/worst moment was when, during these final moments, when you’d really had it, I thought we’d offer you a squeeze pack of food. I’d been saving it for just this moment, when the seatbelt sign came on and there was nothing left for you to do. I figured it’d be a great distraction. So your dad took off the lid and handed it to me, and I tried to bring it up to your lips. While doing so you grabbed it, squeezed hard, and a stream of peach/banana/beet mixture shot up a few inches then cascaded down onto you and me. If it wasn’t so sticky, and smelly, and ill-timed, it would’ve been super comical. But about half of the packet came out, and was pooled on you and I. And of course, the seatbelt sign was on, so we couldn’t get up to clean ourselves off or change. We had a burp cloth in our bag and used that to sop most of it up, but we were both soaking and stinky. Frankly, it smelled disturbingly similar to vomit, and it looked exactly like vomit, and so I’m sure that’s what everyone around us thought it was. Good times.

Luckily virtually the instant we got off the plane and I could set you down and let you explore, you were happy. I was able to get you cleaned up and changed, and we collected our bags and headed home. Your first international adventure was a fun, quick, entertaining success!

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