As with so many parents I know my two children are very different. Number two is a little more 'lively' than number one. Now number One mostly slept the first long haul flight and was quite contented watching the television in the back of her seat or eating and the journey was really a breeze (apart from being seven months pregnant with number two at the time!!)
The one thing I did learn from last time that really worked was the 'magic hand luggage bag' full of goodies, games and books completely unseen before.
I have started getting the magic hand luggage bag ready. In it I have been collecting various things to keep the girls amused (I hope) for hours. I have got them sticky mosaics from the Orb factory, if you haven't come across these look up the link they are simply fabulous for little fingers, fine motor skills and keeping kids occupied from quite an early age. My youngest is three in August and just loves them already.
I have trawled Trade me for hours for some new books, especially for the younger one who just adores the Wiggles (with any old yellow wiggle you like, she really doesn't care as long as they sing and dance!!) I was rather happy to pick up seven very new looking books so they are in ready to go.
For my eldest child, well she loves stickers and being a homeschooler the temptation to get her an Usborne educational sticker book was just too great!! She has been asking me about the planets recently and there's a rather lovely big sticker book they do on the planets so that should keep her happy for a while.
Another great place to find awesome travel games is a company in Orewa called the Puzzle shop. It is owned by a really nice man called Steve. It is as much fun to visit for an adult as it is for a child. Every game of every description you can imagine and puzzles galore. For a traditional games person this shop is like Aladdins Cave!! Steve has a table in the middle of the shop where he will very happily show you various games and just let the kids play. It's my kids favourite place to go in Orewa, in fact it's the best way to get them to behave nicely on a shopping trip, knowing that if they are good we will go to the Puzzle shop!! My two favourites and ones we have packed for the journey are antivirus and Dobble the website is coming soon so keep an eye out for it http://www.thepuzzleshop.co.nz/
For the plane journey there is one more thing that a nurse told me (believe it or not) that worked a treat the first time round. She told me to try and do the late night flight and to buy a big packet of chocolate buttons and keep Charlotte awake until the flight (which left at Midnight) I was obviously a little dubious, although Charlotte has always been great at staying up late!! She told me everytime she got sleepy to give her a chocolate button to keep her awake. The only time we did this was in the car on the way to the airport by the time we got there she was very excited. The nurse had told me that her adrenalin would kick in with the excitement and she guaranteed that as soon as the plane took off and the initial excitement of flying was over she would sleep for hours. SHE WAS RIGHT!!!!! Charlotte slept from Auckland to Hong Kong 11 hours straight....I was a very happy, very pregnant Mummy!!
We are leaving on the same flight this time so to test whether it was fluke or really worked we are doing exactly the same again!!! There is a time and place for chocolate afterall me thinks!! I have bought them both some nice warm PJ's and dressing gowns to travel the first leg of the journey as that also worked well last time and helped Charlotte settle straight to sleep. Then at Hong Kong a change of clothes and a freshen up along with marathon runs up and down the lovely airport to exhaust both of them for the 2nd leg...he he.
So with the entertainment and plane journey in hand my attention turns to the transport issues I have with a three and a Six year Old. To hire car seats is insanely expensive in Italy and the UK so next we thought about taking their carseats but they are so bulky. I wanted to buy them both a Bubblebum seat which are frankly absolutely ingenious
However unfortunately my youngest is only a little three and neither tall enough or heavier enough for the seat, which is frustrating. If we travel again though when they are older I really do see these as a wonderful traveling option for parents who don't want to lug heavy car seats about. My friend is lending me one for my eldest and well the youngest is going into a car seat lent to us in UK so we are organised on that front even if we do have to do a bit of lugging around. Another great alternative to the bubblebum seat and one I like the look of is Boostapak.
The next issue was Rosie and her potty training. Rosie has been dry now for about four weeks night and day now and it will be six weeks by the time we fly. I don't buy any nappies now so she is completely used to not wearing one. We have had two nightly accidents where I have not got her up in the night for a wee. Unlike her sister who could just go all the way through Rosie needs to be got up at around 10pm for a quick one and then goes all the way through no problem. It got me to thinking how inconvenient it would be if she had an accident on her plane seat or a guest or hotel bed. I certainly don't want to take a step backwards and put her in nappies after coming this far so I have bought some disposable incontinence sheets the type that we used to use when I was doing auxillary nursing, nice big size and can easily be tucked in on an plane seat on put over a bed sheet.....another potential problem solved!! Available from lots of places I found them at www.nappiesplus.co.nz
That just left the pushchair and lady luck was shining on me today as I walked into the new Hibiscus Coast Hospice shop (Great to see you operating again after the fire!). The first thing that greeted my eyes was a small, lightweight telescopic pushchair for just $10.
I think that's all the bases covered....let's hope so anyway. Although let's face not sure how you can plan when you are traveling with young children they are so completely unpredictable!!
I have my wonderful folks with me and we have seats together on plane so that will be nice. We are not at all nervous about it, just incredibly excited. I am lucky to have two children who are lively yes, full of character yes that too but they are well behaved, polite children (most of the time anyway, like any kids they have their moments!)
I have shown Rosie a video off good old You Tube of the inside of an aeroplane and that she is expected to sit down. She got especially excited about the idea of a little television in her seat of her own. I think it's easy to worry too much about traveling with kids, from experience they are usually tens times better behaved than you give them credit for. I know it's also easy to worry about those around you and disturbing others but you know what you can't predict children and if the worst happens well at least you will never see those people again....unless you are sat next to them on the flight home!!!
If you have any great traveling tips let me know about them!!