The First Flight
Here’s an account of Asher’s first flight: London to LA! What a flight to begin with! But Asher doesn’t like to do anything halfway, so when we asked if he was up for flying, he said, “Go big or go home, guys.” This was written the day after we arrived in the states:
“Wow! Yesterday was Asher's first trans-Atlantic flight (and first flight ever!). Candice and I spent the whole of Monday getting everything packed and preparing the house to be lived in by some of our friends while we’re away. Candice gave me a haircut, we did a lot of laundry, and we made three trips to different stores to buy formula, 7 boxes in total. They don't sell Asher's formula in the States and we didn't want to switch formulas. So we packed nearly an entire suitcase worth of formula (we sound like crazy parents, or ‘hoarders’, and there was a time when I totally would have judged us for it… but I’m so tired I don’t have the energy it takes to be judgmental of myself)! I guess it will work out well though, because we'll have a lot of extra space to bring stuff back with us.
“We didn't sleep super well the night before our trip; we were both excited/anxious about the flight the next day. We had been anticipating this trip for a while, and we just weren't sure if Asher would handle the 12-hour flight well or not... I had definitely had some visions of us standing in the back of the plane with Asher screaming his head off while everyone on the plane shoots us disapproving glances over their shoulders.
“We were also nervous just about getting to the airport in the morning; we were driving ourselves, but there were a lot of things to do in the morning and we wanted to be gone by 7:30, which is only 30 minutes after Asher wakes up. So we made a list, got up at 5:50, showered, got everything ready, fed Asher, turned the heat off, took out the trash, emptied the fridge... and we were out by 7:45! Not too shabby.
“Traffic was horrible on the way to the airport, and we went a route I'd never taken before, because Kate (our temperamental GPS) was taking us to an off-site parking place... it took FOREVER! But we finally made it and kept joking about how we have an inability to make it to the airport two hours before the flight, which is always our goal. We didn't do too bad, it was 10:30 when we pulled into the terminal, and our flight left at noon.
“Since it was our first time traveling as a family of 3, there were a lot of unknowns... should we check the stroller or take it to the gate? Will it get roughed up too much? Can we get Asher his own seat, in which case we would carry on the car seat and strap it in? The guy at the counter worked his magic and gave us three seats at the front of the bulkhead... perfect!
“We checked two bags and the stroller, and carried the car seat, Asher, and two backpacks through the airport... we had a lot of crap, but we managed very well. We were even delighted to see that they had a "family" line through security that meant that we didn't have to wait long and they were totally prepared for all the formula stuff we had. It was like magic :). And, as a side note, when we passed all the others waiting in line, I was like “suckahs,” which is, I was sure, a sentiment they would be repeating to us later while they’re fast asleep on the plane and we’re messing with a four month old… oh well, I guess it all evens out in the end.
“Finally on the plane, we got settled into our three seats, with the car seat strapped in between us. I wanted to apologize to the people sitting next to us as soon as we got on the plane, since I’m sure they were sending awful thoughts our way, but I resisted... I was trying to have faith in our little guy that he would handle it all well. We were on the plane for about an hour before it took off, and we worked a while trying to get Asher to sleep... finally he went down and was in his car seat, passed out, when, sure enough, they come on the flippin' PA with about a thousand announcements and it was so loud that the little guy just couldn’t sleep through it... so, there goes nap #1. Oh well, we just shrugged it off, and Asher seemed to be happy even though he only slept a few minutes, so we left him alone. (Parenting Rule #1: if he’s happy… leave.him.alone.)
“He was very interested in everything that was going on, so he just sat in Candice's lap and in his car seat for a while looking around, smiling, talking... being very very sweet. He smiled at people and of course they thought he was the cutest thing ever. Candice got him back to sleep and he slept for a while on her chest while she watched "The Help". He got fussy around his bedtime, but we were ready and immediately sprung into action. We went about the bedtime routine with a flurry of activity that probably looked funny from the outside looking in, not least because both of us were engaged in trying to soothe our baby with the same seriousness one might have when defusing a bomb… change the diaper, get bottle, formula, mix, shake, find blankets, swaddle baby… boom, situation handled. We managed to get him swaddled and in his seat and he slept for a full 4 hours!
“All in all, he did amazing on the flight. Beyond our expectations I'd say. We got through customs in LAX in a flash and as we were waiting for our bags more than one person commented to us about how sweet he was on the flight... one lady even asked us what the heck was wrong with the other kid that was screaming for an hour. She was totally judging those parents for not bringing enough toys for their toddler to play with. I kept thinking that it's probably dumb luck whether your kid starts screaming and won’t stop… but, in any case, it’s a little easier with a younger baby because you can just bounce him around to distract and entertain him. But anyways, I was happy that the general perception on the plane was that we were awesome parents :).”