First of all, let me just say that my wife is my friggin’ hero. To be able to handle a hyper-clingy, cranky, and sick baby for the entirety of a 13 hour flight and three subsequent days without snapping and punching the nearest living person shows more strength and patience than anyone I know. Certainly more than me. Men, I’m sure your wives are great, but they’re not Trish great. Sorry, they’re just not.
Judah was up almost the entire night before we flew out, wailing and snotting and just generally being disoriented with pain-rage for most of the duration of the four or so hours of sleep that we would have gotten before we had to wake up at 3:30 am to make our flight. He had a high fever that subsided a little with medicine, but kept him good and ornery ahead of what was already going to be an arduous round of flights.
The first leg, from Raleigh to Boston, was fine, maybe because it was so short. And I would like to add that JetBlue is the absolute best. At all the things. All of them. My new preferred airline.
Then came the fun flight: Boston to Dubai. This leg ended up at a little over 13 hours (our return flight will be 14.5). Judah was in his mommy’s arms, squirming and crying and nursing her dry for nearly the entire flight. He had a solid two hour nap while lying on mommy’s chest, but the rest of the time he was either cranky or nursing. And thankfully, his nap overlapped with Shiloh’s sole nap of the flight. Trish napped too, and I actually got to watch a movie while the three of them slept.
Shiloh was better behaved than we were anticipating, possibly due to the fact that it was a daytime flight, and her meltdowns are usually reserved for nighttime (and also because we shoved an iPad in her face for several hours – don’t judge), though by the end of the flight, it was 11 pm or so back in Raleigh, and she snapped and wailed uncontrollably when we tried to make her buckle up for landing. Safety is UNACCEPTABLE daddy!!! Good thing we didn’t really care at that point. Couldn’t do jack squat about it anyway even if we did.
Things did not ease up once we got “settled in” either. Once we were in the apartment, we had to deal with a combination of Judah being tormented with illness and fever, and all family members being jet lagged. It was a ruthless combination, and kept us up for several straight nights. Just last night I was up with Judah in the baby carrier until 3 a.m., partially because I was still jet lagged, and also so Trish and Shiloh could sleep some, since if Judah was in the room, he would be yelling at full volume for several hours before (or if) he fell asleep. After 3, he woke up, and I had to pass him off to mommy. He did indeed yell for a full hour, and Shiloh woke up with no intentions of going back to sleep for a while. I went out at about 4:30 to get some snacks, and we all relaxed for a while, before both kids were finally ready to sleep at around 6:30. We all then slept until 11:30.
We’ve been at our apartment for four days now, and jet lag is finally beginning to wear off. It’s past their bedtime in local time, and they’re both asleep. Whatever Judah had (our original theory was teething, but it was actually a viral infection called roseola) has finally seemed to wane, and now he’s back to his normal level of bedtime crankiness.
It sounds like a pretty rough run, and it certainly wasn’t easy. But man, that’s life. That’s how it goes sometimes. Life is rough, and you either develop coping mechanisms, or…well, you really don’t have options there. We could have spent the days and hours running up to our trip fretting and in fear of the potential stressors and meltdowns, but we chose not to. We chose to hope for the best and plan for the worst. It wasn’t the worst, but it certainly was far from the best. And without preparation, it may have felt like the worst.
Our reward is being here in Dubai, hardly any more sick and frustrated than we would have been if we had stayed at home. I am writing this right now while looking out the window, watching the Burj Khalifa sparkle against the night sky. Today we went to an aquarium and tomorrow we will maybe go to a theme park. Kid stressors happens anywhere. The fear of how to manage kids should not put you off traveling any more than it should put you off of anything else you do in life. It really doesn’t take much more effort to be prepared, and travel is your reward.