The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Travelling with a toddler

I tried to read as much information about travelling with a toddler as I could before we left for the UK. Some sources had lots of useful suggestions and some just said I was mad for even thinking about it. What I learnt was that its definitely better to be overprepared and that sometimes I would just have to relax and let things happen of their own accord.

I know with hindsight that I packed far too many clothes for Amy on this trip. I was obsessed with layers and so laid out 5 t-shirts (she didn’t wear one), 5 long sleeves (she wore all of them) 5 vests (she wore these too) and 5 jerseys or sweatshirt type tops (she also wore these). In addition she had 2 tracksuits, 2 pairs of comfy trousers, 2 pairs of jeans and a dress and a skirt. I could have cut in half the amount of clothing I packed for Amy because we were able to wash wherever we were and what with central heating, things dried overnight.
My reasoning was sound however, the more she had the less chance of her running out of clothes or shoes if she got one set wet. We must have been lucky, it hardly rained!

As far as Amy’s backpack went I think I did just fine. I took three of her favourite books, a colouring block, a colouring in and sticker book with extra stickers (stickies!) a set of plastic farm animals, a box of alphabet picture cards, a set of plastic tockys (watches) and her favourite teddy and dolly which Ron said wasn’t necessary but gave her something to concentrate on and hold onto whilst getting from A-B.
We had friends to stay on the Monday night before we travelled on Thursday. This was a good distraction and helped take my mind off it all. By Wednesday night I was starting to feel panicky and so I dosed myself up with lots of rescue remedy. This is something my family has always used in times of stress or nervousness and I think it did help. I didn’t actually need it once we had left, its usually the anticipation of travel rather than the journey itself which ties my stomach up in knots. I am one of those travellers who has been around the world and back again and still gets into a right state when trying to remember where I have packed my passport!

This is Amy enjoying the first of many holiday cuphees (coffees – or rather babycinos or cups of warm milky froth with chocolate sprinkle). Ron wandered off to get a coffee whilst we were waiting to board in Melbourne and came back with this for Amy. She finished it so quickly that we had to go back and beg for another one! Note her slippers, these were a $7 purchase which worked out really well, they were comfy to wear but solid enough that she could run around the airports in, but also very easy for us to slip off her feet whilst sleeping.

This is Amy in transit at Hong Kong airport. She was great fun to travel with for the most part in that anything is exciting to a toddler and she took great pleasure in running around and looking for the PLANES! and charming the socks off anyone she came into contact with.

We were delayed taking off from Hong Kong and so I got the stickies out. Note the look of intense interest from Ron. Its hard to maintain the level of enthusiasm necessary to keep Amy entertained for long periods of time. We were both relieved we were doing this together because we took turns to play, draw, read, sooth whilst the other one had a nap or ate dinner. (or drank a bottle of wine!)

Our whole trip has to be qualified by admitting how easy we had it on the flights. Because Amy was 18 months old at the time of travel we weren’t required to purchase a full price seat for her. Instead we paid 10% of the ticket price plus taxes which still works out to a lot of money for an infant. I made sure we got our moneys worth by pre-ordering a toddler meal, some airlines have three children’s meals, infant, toddler and child. The toddler meal was excellent, juice box, mac ‘n cheese and fruit. Each time it arrived, Amy was asleep! We were very lucky on our flights. We did 5 flights in all and thats why I laugh manically when people ask me “how was Amy on the flight?”. Why is it people forget that you actually board planes no less than4 times flying return to the UK and in our case, 5 times because we started in Sydney, flew to Melbourne, boarded the flight to Hong Kong, got off and back on again and then on the way back, London – Tokyo – Sydney. The only flight that we didn’t have an extra seat for Amy was the return journey from Tokyo to Sydney and in this case we had the bulk head seats with the bassinet so at least we were able to sit Amy in the bassinet whilst we ate our meals and got comfortable. At one point she even fell asleep in the bassinet when the very helpful airhostess removed the one end but unfortunately it was just a little too soon into the flight because the lights still hadn’t gone down and after a short while she was up and ready to play again. In the end she fell asleep on me for more than 3 hours, something I would have sworn would NEVER happen and thats irony for you!

As you can see the extra seats made the difference between flying hell and flying relative comfort. Melbourne to Hong Kong we had three seats so Amy slept in the middle with head on Ron and feet on me. Hong Kong to London the new airhosting staff took pity on us and reserved the row of four right at the back of the plane so that after the seatbelt signs had gone off we upped and moved and then Amy had two seats to sleep across. The only downside, I kept checking her nappy for poo only to realise that no, it was just the toilets! Small price to pay for comfort and some sleep in my book!

Overall the flying was ok, I wouldn’t rave and say she was brilliant. There were a few moments when you see that emergency exit right by Ron’s head? Well it was very tempting to open the door and throw her out! But she did sleep and Ron and I were able to get a few hours in as well. I read two books and we ate a few meals and played a hundred games of peekaboo and whats in this hand and colouring in. Our arrival into London is a whole other story for another post but summed up by the photo below. This is Amy after her bath having a quick cuddle before getting changed for bed at 7pm. She didn’t even wake when I put her down and dressed her or picked her up again and put her into the cot! Completely worn out!

More to follow tomorrow, I promise.
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