India

Sorry I’ve been a little mia for the last two weeks. Last week S and I arrived in India (and we haven’t had access to the internet until yesterday) and the week before that I was preparing for our holiday (We’re visiting three cities in India and then three cities in the Far East). I have two cousins getting married and two cousins performing a sacred thread ceremony (more on that another time). Anyhoo, as exciting as it sounds, it’s also stressful. I’m a tad fanatical when it comes to what S eats when we travel and so I spent the week before we left making lists of everything I needed to buy and bring with me. I was also a little stressed because we were taking a day flight and given that S is constantly on his feet (a ball of energy as my friend M calls him), I wasn’t sure how we’d get through the 9 hours. But it was all in vain (and thankfully so!). S was great on the flight. He charmed the pants off the air hostesses, he played hide and seek with them, he ate, he napped, he played with his toys and he watched bits of the movie Cars. I didn’t even have to bring out my Ipad once!!! ūüėÄ

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And then we landed in India….oh Mumbai, why do you have to make life so difficult? I’m all for security and what not but in Mumbai airport it just doesn’t make sense! When we got off, we were told we couldn’t get our stroller at the gate (even though the guy in London said we would). Why? Because they need to be scanned by customs in India. Okay I thought, S napped on the flight so he can walk to security and to the baggage hall. We get through security, into the baggage hall and our bags are out in 5 minutes (hallelujah!!) Not so quickly…the car seat comes out but the stroller is no where to be found. I go up to speak to one of the airline representatives and she tells me there’s a delay and everyone’s strollers are on the way. It’s 11:45pm, it’s hot, children are tired so parents are carrying them. Everyone is starting to get really frustrated!

Now we’re lucky, we came in from London where it is 7:15pm so S is not overtired but his bedtime is fast approaching and at this stage he’s starting to get cranky. And like me, he doesn’t handle the heat well. Half an hour passes and the strollers still aren’t out. They finally come through almost an hour later and we start heading to the Green Channel (nothing to declare) but not before we queue up to have our bags scanned. This is my issue with the whole scenario!! If you’re going to scan the bags and strollers before we leave the arrivals hall then why couldn’t we have got the stroller at the gate. But you know what, after feeling frustrated for about 10 minutes, I came to terms with the fact that logic just doesn’t exist here (and the next few days demonstrated that even further…but that’s another story!) It’s just such a pity because Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport has been transformed. After years of renovation and construction, they have a beautiful terminal building but scratch beneath the surface and nothings really changed. It would have been nice when modernising their airport to make arrivals more comfortable, they modernised their procedures as well.

There is however lots India has to offer and more importantly S and I are spending lots of time with family. There’s always a silver lining somewhere ūüôā

Flying with a toddler

Back in May I flew with my almost 15 month old from Taipei to London, via Hong Kong. I planned it so that he was awake for the first 5 hours of the longer flight and then slept for the rest. Although he was a proper walker by then, I was still able to keep him occupied enough to get through those 5 hours.

On Thursday this week, we took a day flight from Lagos to London which is 6 1/2 hours. Easy, right? Not with a 20 1/2¬†month old toddler. But I was prepared. I took into account that he probably wouldn’t nap as there would be too much going on around him and so not counting take off and landing,¬†I had to keep him occupied for a little over 5 hours.

As soon as we took off I put him in his seat (we booked seat plus on Virgin, a god send) and let him entertain himself with the controls, the window shutter and the headphones. After about half an hour, I took out 6 plastic ikea bowls I’d taken on board and a mixture I’d put together. It contained raw rice, pasta, black lentils, yellow lentils and red maroon kidney beans (lots of colour). He absolutely loved this! It kept him entertained for¬†almost an hour. He poured this mixture from one bowl to another, attempted to eat some (ofcourse!) and got lots of it all over the floor.

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At this stage we were over 2 hours into the flight and¬†it was his lunchtime so I took out his thermos of food (I don’t like plane food so¬†can’t expect him to eat it) and started feeding him. After his lunch I gave him an apple which kept him busy for a while. He loves fruit and enjoys eating an apple whole rather than having it cut into pieces.

3 hours into the flight, we’d already had 3 nappy changes (something to do with the cabin pressure?!) and I’d attempted to put him down to nap twice but he made it very clear he had no intention to sleep. So we went for a walk and S charmed lots of ladies and became friends with the cabin crew.

4 1/2 hours into the flight, we’d had another nappy change, attempted to nap again (still didn’t happen although he looked extremely tired) and so I pulled out the big surprise…a brand new shiny train from the Thomas & Friends collection.

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This kept him busy for another 45 minutes as he drove it all over his table, his seat and the floor below him, making a brum brum sound (how do they learn these sounds?).

We went for another walk, he played Candy Crush with my mom (who was flying with us) and listened to some music.

Before I knew it, the captain was announcing our descent and S was on my lap and strapped in, playing with the TV control. As “they” say…boys do not sit still!

The flight went by pretty quickly and we landed before I knew it. I much prefer night flights when S can sleep for the majority of it but day flights aren’t as daunting as I expected.

I’d love to hear your suggestions and fun activities to keep a toddler busy on a plane!