Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Home again (SPB)

We just got back to Petersburg after a couple of long travel days. I have to be honest, today I am a champion of the rest stop vs. business class travel. My kids have a tolerance level for 2 flight legs and then all hell breaks loose. Also, when transiting in Europe we invariably have a huge (4 hours or so) wait between flights whereas with a rest stop we just get outta there and on to the hotel.

Our first leg from Allentown to D.C. was a bit rough given it was during naptime. The overnight leg was surprisingly good - Alex of course didn't sleep until we created a 2 blanket cave for her and even then she wiggled a while but eventually she did crash and was out the rest of the flight. Zoltan as usual required Terry to rock him for about 40 minutes, but unlike last time he slept about 1.5 hours straight without wakeups (last long haul he woke every 30-40 minutes and had to be rocked back to sleep) and when he transitioned to sleeping in my arms he pretty much slept the rest of the flight. Another plus was that we transited in Amsterdam rather than Germany so the flight was shorter.

We had departed DC really late but made up some time in the air and all told we were in our hotel room hitting the various beds by 10:30am - awesome! When we woke 4h later we were ready to explore the huge park out our back door and get the kids some fresh air and playtime. Of course, we stupidly put them into clean clothes and they promptly got them filthy but such is life. The hotel gets lots of high marks but their lack of an evening dining room is a black mark in my eyes. Yes they are next door to a convention center with 5 restaurants (only 2 open on Mondays) but it meant the kids had to get a bit bundled up to eat as it was chilly outside.

As usual Alex was our superstar. She went to bed right around 8pm local time and we never heard from her again until we woke her around 8am. Zoltan, though, was a typical small human. Around 11pm he woke screaming, we soothed him and probably would have gotten him back to sleep except that he peed out his diaper. So we tried letting his sleep laying on me, laying next to me in the bed, putting him in the crib with stripped sheets, etc. Terry finally suggests that maybe Z's hungry so we feed him. He manages to eat almost half a bag of dried apricots (new fave!) so maybe that was it. We also let him play for about 1/2 hour after that and then, finally, at 1:30am and with a bit of coaxing, the boy goes back to sleep. Of course, he slept through our alarm and our getting up, showering, dressing, packing etc.

Today's flight was a bit under 3h and took off around noon so we got to wake at a reasonable hour. The flight was largely uneventful except ... After happily buckling himself into the window seat - he'd been playing with the window shades - Zoltan stared out the window a bit and then fell deeply asleep. With no coaxing, cajoling, rocking or whatnot. And slept until Terry woke him to depart the plane. Yippee! But also, couldn't you have done that yesterday?

We've been blindly loyal to United for more than decade but this trip is making us take another look at KLM (the minus is that Delta is its flight partner - Atlanta is on none of our itineraries, ever) The kids' package we got from them had board-type games as well as the usual coloring and puzzle-type games. The TV/movie selection was vast and we didn't have to pull out the Archos at all - even Zoltan watched Baby Einstein happily for a bit. They had jars of baby food, which was awesome as they didn't have our requested kids' meal on their list so at least Zoltan had a bit more good (vs. snack) food.

All in all the most successful trip with the 2 kids. If only my jet lag would go away ....

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