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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Travelling With A Child

So much for blogging at least once every 2 weeks!! But in my defense, I have been busy travelling (and planing for it). We went on the most amazing European trip in May, then I went to the outrageously beautiful Rawa Island with Alayna and my sister, and then last week we had our annual Family Day at Casa Titik in Cherating.

Sometimes I can’t believe that I get to travel quite often, now that I am a mother. I have always heard all these horror stories about travelling with small children, and lets face it, I’m pretty sure we have all been stuck in a plane with an inconsolable, borderline-possessed crying child.

Luckily, travelling with Alayna has always been pleasant, to a point where we would not even consider going somewhere without her because it's more fun when she’s around.

So I figured I would share what it is like travelling with her, who knows maybe it could help fellow mommies out there.


FLYING

The key is to be prepared. For everything. Which is why we always dedicate one carry-on bag just for her stuffs. Inside are:

  • Lotsss of diapers
  • Wipes
  • Change of clothes
  • Blanket
  • Socks
  • Her favorite toys (lots of playdoh and duplo blocks)
  • Books
  • Color pencils
  • Baby food
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Vitamins and meds, in case she falls sick
  • Baby Carrier

Her carry-on bag usually weighs a ton (good thing there are no weight or size restrictions for baby bags) but hey, would you rather carry a heavy bag or risk being end up with a screaming baby and get cursed and glared at by all the passengers?

Alayna's first ever flight was on the day she turned one. We flew to London on MAS when they had just started using Airbus A380s, which means that it was a direct flight, about 13 hours :O

To be completely honest, it was the easiest flying with her then, compared to when she is bigger. She slept before we even took off and almost throughout the whole flight! She only woke up to eat and play for a bit.  And when she wanted milk, I would nurse her and she would fall asleep again.

Speaking of which, I had my aunt made me a few customized cape tops, so that I could breastfeed anywhere anytime without having to use a cover. I loveee them! I wore them under all of my winter coats. Made breastfeeding while travelling so damn easy.

If you're wondering what the cape top looks like, here, let me sketch it for you:



Okay that looks awful. Let me try again.


Umm you get the idea right? I suck at drawing but I promise the top looks really good!


By the way, I also think breastfeeding when traveling is more convenient, as compared to bottle-feeding. You don’t need to worry about pumping or reheating the milk etc (your baby bag will be heavier too!). When the baby starts crying you literally just shove a boob. Takes about 2 seconds (especially with my special cape top, no need to fumble putting on the cover and whatnot). That way the baby won’t even get the chance to scream at ultra-sonic level, cos once they do, sometimes it’s hard to calm them down again.



She dozed off before we even got on the plane.


Slept throughout the train ride to Paris too.


Well behaved child = happy parents


When she was two, we went to Miami and New York. The total travel time to Miami (including transit in Dubai and JFK) was a whopping THIRTY SIX HOURS. This time around, it was a bit trickier because:

  • Her sleeping time is now less than when she was one
  • She could walk
  • She is more aware of her surroundings
  • She knows what she wants

It was vital that we were alert to her needs, so she would have no reason to feel distressed. Luckily Alayna is not hard to please. As long as she has her toys and gets to watch her favorite cartoons, and is well fed, she’s golden. We just had to take her for a short walk once or twice because she was curious.  Other than that, she slept peacefully. She did get slightly whiny here and there but all I had to do was breastfed her and she was all good. Nothing that a boob can’t solve huh? ROFL.



Curious girl.


She loves looking out the window to see the clouds. 


Quietly watching her cartoons.



Last month, when she was three and a half years old, we flew to Milan, then drove to Switzerland, Venice, Florence, then took the train to Nice, Monaco and finally to Paris.

 This time, it was even more tricky because:

  • She could talk
  • She could negotiate
  • She knows how to manipulate us
  • She is like an energizer bunny
  • She knows what she wants and would try anything to get it
  • She sleeps much less
  • She has stopped breastfeeding hence no more bribing her with the boob 

Now, if you know me, or if you have read my old posts, you would know that I am completely terrified of flying. Like, digging-my-nails-into-the-person-next-to-me-and-nazar-to-puasa-for-three-days-if-I-arrive-safe-and-sound kind of terrified. I usually take a sleeping pill before boarding the flight. It's THAT bad.

But see, I couldn’t do that anymore ever since Alayna came along because a) I was brestfeeding and b) I have a child to look after.

Up until she was two it was manageable because she slept most of the time.  Even though I couldn’t take the pills, I could still try to sleep while reciting the “ayat kursi” to calm myself down. 

But when she was three, not only did she not sleep before we took off, being the chatterbox that she is, she wanted to talk the whole freaking time.

“Mommy, we’re in the plane, I love it!”

“Mommy, why isn’t the plane moving?”

“Mommy, are we flying yet?”

“Mommy, I don’t want to wear the seatbelt.”
(to which I answered you have to for your safety, otherwise the pilot would not fly the plane)

“Mommy, what is a pilot?”

“Mommy, where are we going?”

“Mommy, what is that?”

“Mommy, why are we on the airplane?”

"Mommy, are we above or under the clouds?"

“Mommy, can you tell me a story?”

“Mommy, are we flying yet?”

“Mommy, are we flying yet??”

“Mommy, are we flying yet???”

It was bad enough that I could not take the sleeping pills, but now I had to try to calm myself down by mentally saying my prayers as I looked around getting all paranoid after hearing a loud thud at the bottom of the plane or a weird buzz in the overhead compartment, WHILE entertaining her endless questions.

It was like having a nervous breakdown.

Thank god that at least Alayna was well-behaved throughout the flight, she didn’t cry or anything cos she had her hands full with activities. She actually really enjoys flying. I guess it is because ever since she was a baby we would excitedly show her when we see an airplane passing by, or tell her how amazing airplanes are etc. She’d get so excited when we tell her that we were going to fly somewhere.

She’s enthusiastic, that’s all. It is just unfortunate that her mommy has control issues (they say people who are scared of flying usually has control issues). 



She slept in the cab on the way to the airport.


Which meant she was full of energy when we boarded. She was awake half of the flight -_-



Thank god for stickers.


And toys. Kids flying with Emirates get a toy, a soft toy and a blanket. Not sure about other airlines though. #teamemirates


Playdoh time.



Cartoon time.



When she got bored she would wake me up.


And ask me to take a selfie with her.


Finally after what seemed like forever, she passed out.


One of the good things about traveling with her at this age is that she now prefers to walk (or run) on her own instead of being carried.


Which means mommy can carry her shopping bags instead hehe.



CAR & TRAIN RIDES

As mentioned earlier, we also drove and took the train on our euro trip. Sometimes the journey takes up to 6 hours. It was no problem though because Alayna is used to long car rides (Nadri's kampung is in Kelantan and we visit my sister who lives in Kemaman quite often). I also prefer going by car or train because, you know, I don't have to worry about falling off from the sky.





She used to hate the carseat when she was small but now she can sleep for hours in it. Not only is it safer, but it would make car rides more pleasant for the baby, and you too.


Utilising her allocated screen time in the train.



Sleep.


So that pretty much sums up everything. Maybe next I'll talk about what it is like once we have reached our destination and how we go around the city with a small child in tow and me in sky high heels haha.



Travel buddies :)


Selamat berpuasa guys!

XXX,
Tia

6 comments:

  1. She is soooo cute!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know its an old post but I hope you can check the comment I left on your kryolan post. So sorry if I'm bothering you!! :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops sorry, I must have overlooked your comment on that post. Will check it later tonight okay XX

      Delete
  3. hi tia, great post.
    could u also share more details on the traveling by airplane part? im considering going on a holiday when my son is about 1 year old tapi i pening nak beli ticket. do i need to buy him a separate seat? or is it safe to just hold him on my lap? thing is, he hates to be held for too long so i usually prefer to put him in his car seat when traveling, that way dia takleh nakal2 sangat. so should i bring my car seat on the plane? which brings me to another problem, what car seat is airline approved? coz through google i found out that not all car seats are airline approveddd.. appreciate your thoughts pls!
    thanks so much

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  4. Such an inspiration! Please please do talk about when arriving and walking about town with a child and in high heels! :D

    ReplyDelete