our flight leaving melbourne was delayed for an hour which was actually a good thing - more time for mae to wear herself out crawling around the relatively clean floors of the melbourne departure lounge and an hour less to wait in LA on the other end. she fell asleep in her carseat before takeoff and shane and i were practically giving each other high fives. "flying with babies is GREAT! no problem! good old carseat!" she woke up about an hour later and we discovered just how hard it is to keep a one year old entertained within a meter by half a meter space and without irritating the hell out of the people in front and behind us. an hour and a half later we were ready for some peace and successfully got some baby drugs (prescribed by a doctor, don't get on my case if you've never flown with a baby for more than 4 hours at a time) into her and waited for them to kick in. and waited. and waited. they did nothing. it took four more hours to get her to drop off, with shane and i both doing treks at the back of the plane with mae in the ergo. i did a solid two hours of bouncing, singing and patting before she finally gave in and slept for about four hours. on me. with the carseat seriously impeding my/our space. out of a 14 hour flight, she probably only slept a total of 7 or 8 hours, in a couple of hard won stints. by the time we reached LA for a six hour layover our conversation was much more of the "traveling with children is RIDICULOUS. we are never going anywhere with kids AGAIN. roadtrips within victoria ONLY" variety. it was a struggle to even keep her happy in LA as she wanted to crawl and, if you've even been to LAX, you know that is not an option. the four hour flight to edmonton was a bit of a trial but at least we knew the end was near and that there would be smiling faces and happy, baby-holding hands on the other side.
it took a few days to get over jetlag and for me to get over a spectacular case of insomnia (? weird.) but it was so easy to get settled into a new routine at my mom's. so many hours when i wasn't solely responsible for watching mae, hours to go shopping with my sister, to go for dinner, to actually go to movie, to spend a weekend in a hotel and at a music festival. so many nice hours : ) we had a small party with family for mae's first birthday and a lovely time was had by all with the exception of mae's reaction to her birthday cupcake... vomit. granted she had been eating new and exciting foods all day, including more cheese popcorn than is probably good for a one year old (takes after me with her food tastes, for sure. and i take the hard bits off the popcorn for her and just give her the soft chewy bit.) but she's a barfer, that one. too much food, sudden chunk of food, flavour she doesn't like? barf. i've cleaned up more vomit in the last four or five months than i can possibly tell you. hoping she grows out of this soon.
anyway, back to the trip: we flew to winnipeg for a couple of days to spend time with shane's brother (he also married a canadian but they live there) and his family. mae was brilliant on the flights, slept both ways but was a bit of a nightmare while we were there. i blame teething and no sort of sleep schedule as she was whingey, sookey and cranky for most of the four days. but as soon as we got back to my mom's, she was fine. maybe she was just cheesed off at being expected to get used to another new house and portacot? who knows.
another lovely week of hanging with my family at my mom's and all too soon it was time to get back on the plane (with significantly more luggage than we came with due to the ridiculously cheap summer clothes that i was able to stock up on). probably the saddest airport farewell that i've ever experienced was followed by mae sleeping most of the way to LA, which was a relief. we booked a hotel for our 10 hour layover and it was SUCH a good idea. mae could crawl around, have a nap and a bath, all things that would've been pretty much impossible at the airport. we ditched the carseat for the big fight home as mae refused to sit in it for most of the way over anyway and it took up so much room. again, SUCH a good idea. we created a little bed for her on the middle seat with blankets and pillows, she fell asleep just after take off and slept for seven or eight hours! we left at midnight so that probably helped and i was so thankful that she slept as shane and i needed a bit of shut eye as well. mae slept for about 10 hours out of 14 on the way home, leaving me to think that night flights are definitely the way to go. unfortunately she seems to have left her ability to nap on the plane and will only sleep for 30 or 45 minutes at a time since we got home, which means it has taken me three days just to get this long account typed out. whew.