Sunday, July 2, 2017

I've decided to do a quick blog series about our international adventure.  If you know my family you know that it will be packed with chaos and hilarity.

My kids are pretty much professional travelers.  They have the security process down at the airport better than most adults.  They know how to board a plane, find their seats, shove their bags under the seat, and buckle in.  They typically do pretty well with entertaining themselves for the duration of the flight.  It's really like second nature for them.

Despite their professional status, absolutely nothing can prepare you or your children for the kind of torture that 13 hours on a metal tube cruising through the sky.  We have a habit of measuring time in Scooby Doo episodes.  It helps the kids get a better idea of just how long something is.  Until this trip Emma's longest plane trip was eight Scooby's or 4 hours.  Jaxon's was only about four Scooby's.  It was inconceivable to the kids that our flight to Tokyo was an astounding twenty-six Scooby's.  

We tried to prep them as best we could for the long haul flight but if you know the little Rosebushes you know that still and quiet is something they don't do very well.  In fact many people called me completely insane for even attempting this flight with kids!  I was petrified of what would happen when a mid-flight  meltdown occured. I did everything I could think of to prep them.  I let them pack their own carry on bags.  I bought some new plane friendly games and toys specifically for the trip.  I added some new games to their iPads in the hopes that something new and fresh would keep their attention.  I knew the airplane would have seat back entertainment so they could watch movies.  I also brought some melatonin just in case the kids or myself needed a little help taking a nap.

We boarded our plane at 12:25 in the afternoon and I was the lucky one that got to sit between both my kids in the very back row, in the middle section of a 777.    Fred and his mother were crammed next to each other, next to the window, and an extremely large man just across the aisle.  After seeing the aforementioned very large man, I was sort of thankful to be stuck with the kids.  The kids settled into their seats and immediately started playing with the seatback entertainment.  There was a large selection of movies for them to watch and even games to play.  Crisis #1 occured before we even left the gate when Jaxon's screen froze.  Luckily it was only temporary and after all the preflight announcements it came back to life.  As soon as we were in the air Jax needed to pee!  He is obsessed with airplane bathrooms so I totally expected 47 bathroom breaks during the 13 airborne hours. Lucky for us, our last row seats put us next to the bathrooms because my guesstimate was pretty accurate.

I had the forethought to request special children's meals for the kids when I booked the tickets.  This was the best decision I have ever made.  The kids meals turned out to be things my very picky children would actually eat.  The first meal was a hot dog, the snack was a ham sandwich, and breakfast before landing was pancakes.   Honestly, I was slightly jealous of the pancakes.     I was worried the kids wouldn't eat airplane food but thankfully this was a non-issue.  

I had hoped the kids would sleep some on the plane but no luck.  Emma slept maybe five minutes and Jax finally dozed off about an hour from Tokyo.  In their defense, this was the most turbulent flight I've ever been on.  We bounced around a lot for most of the flight.  Even the flight attendants seemed thrown off by the constant turbulence.  Every time I'd settle in to close my eyes my head would bounce off the seat.  I will say that the flight crew and flight attendants on this flight were very amazing given how rough the flight was, it can't be easy to do these long haul flights.

I did manage to watch four movies on the flight which is probably the most movies I've seen all year.  Jax watched Trolls three times.  Emma watched several movies until her screen froze about 4 hours from Tokyo.  This caused crisis #2!  Despite the bag full of things she'd brought to do and the iPad with games and shows in it; she couldn't possibly function!  She had a meltdown complete with tears because she was sooooooo bored.   We played a few super competitive games of Uno and then I let her watch a movie on my screen while I tried to nap.  There would be no napping though because Jax needed me to entertain him and take him to the bathroom several times.  All in all, the kids were amazing given the fact that we were trapped in a very small space for a very long time.  No one needed medication or a stiff drink!  I'd call that success.

Finally, after 13 long hours it was wheels down at Narita airport in Tokyo!   This is where the real fun begins.  Stay tuned this week for more blog entries about visiting a country where you can't speak or read the language and your kids hate all the food!  

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