When: October 8, 2013
Where: Boston to DC, DC to Atlanta, Atlanta to Johannesburg
Who: Henry, Nate, Ben, Q (aka my mom), and me
How: By some miracle bestowed upon us by God
I think I was dreading our flight to Johannesburg from the moment we found out we were moving to South Africa. Pre-kids: no problem. With kids: horrific. Seriously, if you have enemies, wish for them to travel with young kids. It's a logistically challenging, diaper blowout planning, baby feeding, meltdown avoiding, pack mule-ing ordeal that makes me realize I never appreciated how easy traveling was before.
Truth be told, as far as flying children go, I have to say, ours can behave pretty well. Can. If they so choose. On the flight from Boston to DC, Nate had what can only be described as an epic meltdown. So much so that one of the (grumpy) flight attendants asked me, "What are we going to do about your child? I think he needs milk". Well, he didn't need milk. He doesn't even like milk. So that was unhelpful. Thankfully, after apparently becoming bored with his thrashing mental patient ways, he pulled it together and we made it to DC. Reason for meltdown: unknown.
Once in DC, we collected and rechecked our metric ton of luggage and made our way over to our next flight (which was delayed - joy of joys) to Atlanta. Again, on this flight, another meltdown. Reason for meltdown: tired and past bedtime. Acceptable reason, still not enjoyable.
In Atlanta, we stayed at an airport hotel for the night. We had to collect all the bags again, though minus a few that they lost on the way. Frustrating but also less to carry so I was actually ok with it.
Finally, we make it to the hotel for the night. Set up the pack n' plays for the kids, gave them baths, read some books, tried to get them to sleep. At this point, I have no idea how we are going to manage a 16 hour flight the next night due to the toddler meltdowns on relatively short flights. Things don't seem promising and I consider staying in Atlanta forever (since we are already here after all).
The next day I wake in fear. The flight was happening. Henry and Q won't back out with me. We head over to the airport early to recheck all our luggage once more. Each time, this process takes a month and I feel sorry for the poor airline employee who draws us.
Our flight left right on time at 7:15 p.m. (right around Nate's bedtime) and after all my worry, overall, both Nate and Ben were pretty great on the flight.
Of course, it was exhausting and the 16 hours felt like 4 days. It was constant child entertaining, corralling, and standing in the back rocking, but it was nothing like the disaster I feared. The worst was a few crying episodes and a seat kicking incident. I guess Nate got the major meltdowns out of the way the day before. Funny enough, we weren't even the worst behaved passengers on the flight by far. Apparently, a few people in the cabin in front of us were sharing a smuggled bottle of duty-free vodka and started throwing up all over each other a couple hours into the flight. So compared to them, we were great. The crew and cabin did not turn on us. I didn't have to pretend like I didn't know the boys. We made it to South Africa.
So. Much. Baby. Gear.
Nate taking a nap during our first layover.
Henry and Nate waiting before the long Atlanta to Joburg flight.
Our plane. At least they couldn't kick us off over the Atlantic (right?).