Wednesday, November 21, 2012

International travel with an infant (aka flying 12 hours with Max screaming)

Ok so I thought I should tell the story of our trip across the globe:)

It's 9pm the night before the flight and Jeffrey and I are busy getting everything taken care of. Although, I had been packing and making lists of everything Max could possibly need for a week now, it still seemed like I was forgetting something. Never the less, we were doing last minute laundry, dishes and taking out the trash. So much for never leaving a dirty house because we never got around to mopping the floor (which is really dirty from all the English rain) or bathrooms or even vacuuming. So returning to the messy house may be a bit depressing, but I'll worry about that later...We finally get to bed around 10 and of course Max wakes up 45 minutes later for a feeding. He woke up once more after that, but was sound asleep when our alarm went off at 3am to get ready to go. Which gave me maybe 2-3 hours of sleep in total. Ok, so the car to take us to the airport is here, and Jeffrey loads of the car. I go and wake up Max (which is very sad, because I have never woken him up on purpose before haha) and change him and feed him. Everything is ready to go, so I strapped Max into his car seat and we are out the door by 3:45am. The ride to the London airport wasn't terrible. Max cried and fussed for about 20 minutes before falling asleep in the car. He slept for 1 1/2 hours before waking up when we arrived at the airport. Everything was good and chill as we checked our bags and went through security. Max just hung out in his stroller.
When Jeffrey and I went to get breakfast, is when Max starting getting really fussy. He needed to eat, so I took him into this nursing/baby changing room that they have in the London airport. I have to give dibs to the English for this one because this room is a mothers best friend! It had a padded changing table, with disposable sheets you could pull out, plus a sink and a big comfy chair for nursing! It was nice feeding Max in there as I didn't have to worry about the dang nursing cover (which is so annoying to nurse with). After that I got him to go to sleep in a quiet part of the airport. It was maybe 7am at this point. So we go off to find our gate and the airport is getting louder and louder as the day gets started and more people begin to arrive. Loudness isn't great for a sleeping baby and Max woke up right before we boarded the plane. We did, however, get to bring Max's baby car seat on board for free since there was an open seat next to us on the flight. So we got to board first since we have an infant and we get settled in our seats just fine. There were 2 other babies on the flight as well and in our general location too. They were older, maybe 8 months, but Max was the cutest:) Anyway, it was nice to know we weren't the only ones. So right when we have to be seated for taxi and take off, Max starts screaming. There wasn't anything we could really do at this point, so we just had to live with it. He finally fell asleep shortly after we reached our flying altitude and actually slept for nearly 2 hours! At this point Jeffrey and I were feeling good, and positive that maybe this flight wouldn't be so bad after all... Well, once he woke up, he ate and was cute for everyone around him, doing smiles for everyone to admire. Then came the start of it all. Crying and screaming started as Max was getting tired again and he doesn't really know how to calm himself down at all. So, I take him up and carry him to the back of the plane and try to get him to calm down/sleep. It took a while, maybe 45 minutes, and some unwanted advice from a flight attendant about correct ways to hold a baby until he finally fell asleep. Thinking I was in the clear, I went back to my seat, ready to settle in to watch an episode of Law and Order: SUV. He only slept for about 30 minutes when he woke up suddenly crying (he does this quite often anyway, most of the time I am able to get him back to sleep). Well, the screaming started and wouldn't stop, I tried feeding him, which he ate a little, and changing him, but really he just screamed. I spent the majority of the rest of the flight.. give or take 5 hours with Max pretty much screaming at the back of the plane. He managed to fall asleep in his carrier ( as I swung it back and forth) for about 20 minutes, but other than that, pretty much screaming. Jeffrey took a few turns at holding him, but nothing worked. Good thing about a plane is that it is pretty loud so only the back rows could hear him, but it was terrible. I felt like the worst mother in the world. Whenever people would come back to use the planes restroom I would get that sympathetic look. A few people stayed and chatted with me for a while about Max. An older lady even came over to me and asked if I wanted her to hold Max so I could have a break. I probably shouldn't have let a stranger hold my screaming child, but after hours of trying to comfort him, I let her. I stood right there with them, and she was so nice and friendly. It was nice to get a small break:) SO that is the extent of the flight, me standing in the back of the plane for hours while Max screamed, I swallowed back tears more than once.... I could tell the flight attendants were getting super annoyed, but I didn't even care anymore. But actually for the most part, the passengers seemed to feel more sorry for me than annoyed. For that I was pleasantly surprised. When we finally were about to make our descent and had to be seated, I tried to nurse Max so his ears would equalize, but that was a no go since he wasn't that hungry. So Jeff pretty much held a pacifier in his mouth for 15 minutes while we landed. I would like to note that Max will not suck on a pacifier no matter how much we wish he did. He likes to gnaw on it, but constantly spits it out. So right when we land, Max decides to spit up all over my crotch, and into the seat, making it look as if i severely wet my pants...Max had also spit up on Jeff's shirt at least 3 times during the flight as well.
 So if we weren't stressed enough, then we have to go through customs when we land in Atlanta. Thankfully the lines were pretty short and Max was actually being ok once we got him in the stroller. ...but, when we went back through security, we had to take Max out of the stroller, and then the screaming began again.... We tried to get some food, but I only got to eat half a sandwich as max was crying and people were staring so I took him to the side. Anyway, we had a several hour layover, but Jeffrey, who was taking a different flight, had a shorter one. He got Max and I to our gate and we sat for a while. Again, for the 10th time that day I tried to get Max to sleep, I finally did in a quiet nook in the airport, but when I took Max out to go sit with Jeffrey an airport car drove by with a super loud siren and yes, woke him up. At this point I am on the verge of tears, as I tried not to get irrationally mad at the airport car, when duh we are in an airport, but I couldn't help it. The worst part came when Jeffrey had to leave to go catch his flight.. Not only was I stressed from the terrible flight, but I was going to have to take another flight alone with Max and not see my husband for a month! It all hit me and at that point I couldn't hold in the tears any longer. As much as I wanted not to look like the crazy lady crying in an airport, I totally was. I tried to pull it together at Jeffrey waited until the absolutely last minute to leave. It was super hard on him to leave us, but neither of us really had a choice. I know he hated leaving me in my state and just wanted so bad to make it all better, but there was nothing he could do at that point.He had to catch his flight and I was going to have to do the rest on my own.
So Jeffrey was gone, and I'm with Max at the airport for another 2 hours before we board. Determined not spend those two hours with max screaming, I take Max to the quietest part of the airport I could find and turn on the sound machine app on my phone. I turned it all the way up in hopes it would drown out some airport sounds for Max. I got plenty of insane looks from people as they passed by and heard the loud sound of waves rolling, but I really could care less what anyone thought at that point. I know a lot of people were annoyed, but whatever, I was annoyed with them for talking so loud and keeping my baby awake so whatever:) max did fall asleep for about 15 minutes, in which I finally got to sit down and take a drink of water, but he was startled awake. Again, i could not find a way to settle him down. I was so stressed out, my face and eyes were red from crying, my hair was already greasy, I had dried spit up all over me. I looked terrible to say the least. At one point I was rolling Max in his stroller back and forth trying not to cry again, because he would not stop screaming and everyone was staring! I kept thinking, only a few more hours and I'll be in Texas... it was the only thing that got me through...
So after that few hours (which seemed endless!) we boarded the plane. Max would again, not stop screaming. But I do have to say that there were a bunch of very nice and helpful people on this flight. A lady helped me carry the stroller and carrier to be checked and the man sitting next to me, carried me bags and stowed them. They both chatted with me during take off, while Max was still screaming, and after when I FINALLY got Max to sleep! I swaddled him up and he was out once we got in the air! Thank God he stayed asleep for the entire 2 hour flight! I honestly do not know what I would have done if he hadn't. Since Max stayed asleep even when we landed (poor baby was so exhausted) the man next to me, carried my bags and helped me all the way until we got to baggage claim where my mom and dad were waiting. I have never been so happy to see them, and I have to say they were pretty happy to see me as well. My Dad got my bags and Max did wake up, but it ended up being ok because I had to feed him before we got in the car to head to New Braunfels. Max was awake, but fortunately not screaming in the car ride home. By the time we made it the house. Max and I had been traveling for nearly a full 24 hours and I hadn't slept at all, and Max maybe slept 5 hours total... We were both so tired. At home Max got a bath and nursed and went right to sleep. When he woke up for a feeding 3 hours later, he was impossible to get back to sleep, and I just handed him over to my parents, who were nice enough to stay up with him and get him to sleep so I could get some rest...
It was an insane day and I am dreading the return flight we have to make next month...But we made it and even though it totally sucked, I am glad we are here and able to see friends and family that I have missed so much!
On a positive note, my Mom and I have found a way for Max to be able to nap on his own (not in my arms) most of the time! But that's a blog for next time:) Max and I hope to see everyone while we are down and we have a lot of free time so feel free to give me a call or just come on by the house:)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mom Hair

So I have come to discover where the term "Mom Hair" stems from. I have long thick hair, that I always considered to be one of my assets, but in the last few weeks I has become a huge pain. Basically there is no time to curl or style my hair everyday and even the days that there is enough time for hair styling in a classic " down do" it's not long before it gets destroyed. Long hair with a baby is a total mess because it is either getting in the way of nursing, getting spit up on, or getting pulled and yanked out by baby. Whatever the case, I quickly discovered that having my hair up and back is the way to go. After many days of messy pony tails, and some deliberation if I should cut my hair short, I came to a conclusion. I don't think I could pull off short hair, and I think I would miss my long hair way too much! I kind if consider it my one beauty. After seeing a pin on pintrest about easy hair up dos I got inspired to try an easy hair up-do every day for a week. Although I consider myself only moderately talented when it comes to doing my own hair, most of these take less than 5 minutes to do and a few take about 10 minutes. I think all of them are doable for anyone and require only a little practice and supplies:) A lot of them have french braids in them, which is a great thing to know how to do:)
Day 1: French braid to the side with side twist bun. Used 2 hair ties and 2 spiraled pins.
Day 2: Loose twist bun with head band. Used 2 spiral pins and 2 hair ties.
Day 3: Front side french braid pulled back into a messy bun. Used a hair tie and 2 bobby pins.
Day 4: Two french braids. Pretty basic here, I used 2 hair ties.
Day 4: Side front twisted back to regular ponytail. I used 1 hair tie and 1 bobby pin. For this one I had to spend a minute or 2 quickly running a straightner through my hair to get out the natural wave.
Day 6: Regular pony tail with flower attached. I spent a few minutes quickly curling the bottom of my hair, and used just one hair tie.
Day 7: French Braid down the back with loose twisted bun. I used only one hair tie and 2 spiral pins.