Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Summer Vacation: Day 1

Although the weather in the Pacific Northwest tries to belie this fact, most people in the northern hemisphere acknowledge that with Memorial Day enters summer vacation. The Willowbottom family got a jump start recently on our first family trip with Hesperos out of mommy's tummy. We picked the kids up from daycare and bundled them into the car. Needless to say, Helios was nearly at his wit's end with excitement at the prospect of visiting Grandma ("Daddy Jane") and Grandpa.

Helios and Hesperos are both veteran airline passengers with four airline trips each. That and the abundant snacks and entertainment surely explains why they were so good on the airplane. There was no childish seat kicking here -- although there was drool aplenty from Hesperos along with piercing shrieks of delight from Helios, as he shouted "airplane! airplane! airplane, Mama, airplane!" in pitches that would make dogs howl, glass break, and a soprano envious.

The secrets, we've learned, to a good cross-continental family vacation are these:
  1. Bring lots of dry snacks. Crackers, dried fruit, cereal, etc. are relatively easy to clean up and you can apply the "five-second rule" to them in the event of spillage.
  2. Bring your own blankets. Baby fleece is softer and prettier than airline blankets, plus I know for a fact that one was used (not by us) as a baby changing pad. So, need I say cleaner?
  3. iPod, iPod, iPod. Helios looked like a computer geek in the making with his eyes glued to the video iPod while he watched Disney's "Cars." Although he wasn't very interested for more than 30 minutes (it was only cars, after all, not trains), that was 30 minutes of relative quietude.
  4. Triamenic. Hopefully no one from Child Protective Services will read this, but it really is a good idea to dope your kids up a little bit before a flight. I know what you're thinking. I know! Hey, I don't even take aspirin. But, their little ears suffer with the pressure and taking a light decongestant before a flight helps with that. The fact that it helps put them to sleep is just a little bonus.
  5. Booze. Ideally, the adults should tip back a shot or two in the airport lounge. While you're at it, buy a cocktail for the pilot. He's had a rough day and probably needs it. (Just kidding!).

The 10-hour cross-national flight (plus 3-hour time change) resulted in us arriving at the hotel around 3am. Helios was just energetic enough to run through the hotel, turn on all the faucets, and jump on the bed before passing out.

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