My husband’s parents lives in Europe. Our family is making the trek to visit over Christmas. Although we’ve been to Europe before with our first child (see below, on one of our previous trips – note the Bosu Ball and my husband’s awesome footwear)…
it’s always different when you travel older children. I’m having a few anxieties about it for the following reasons:
1) Luggage: It’s winter. It’s cold. That means winter boots, snow pants, jackets, mittens, hats, sweaters, long underwear need to be packed. X 4. 2 out of 4 family members can’t carry luggage. 1 out of 4 has a biological need to run around and explore that surpasses his biological need to cooperate and follow instruction. Effectively, he’s luggage too. He’s luggage that’s closely resembles a 35 lb bag of snakes.
2) 1 pair of boots per family member? For anyone who knows me, you’ll understand why this is a next to impossible situation.
3) It’s a long flight. On our way east, it’s an evening flight. So the flight is set to take off later than the little traveler’s bedtimes. My children have not been up past 9PM more than once in the past year. And my youngest will be in our laps for the flight. For over 8 hours. He hasn’t slept in our arms in over 1.5 years. Did I mention he’s a 35 lb bag of snakes?
On the way back home, the timing of the flight makes for the longest day ever. My daughter shouldn’t be too bad, but the little one will be trouble… revisit the biological needs identified above.
4) Jet lag. x 4
5) We’re off to the land of beer and sausage, but also milk, cheese and butter. My youngest has a dairy allergy. Even bread that’s made with milk will send him into writhing stomach pains.
So what’s my plan?
1) Become a packing ninja. I’ve already started test packing.
2) I have no idea. I have no single purpose, looks good with everything, keep my feet warm, can play in the snow boots. Maybe I need new boots?
3) Aiming to have them as well rested as possible before we even leave for the airport. Getting to the airport in lots of time to have some food, change into jammies, and read some stories at the gate. Hopefully, boarding and take off all happen at the appropriate times, and they’ll settle in for some long naps. I actually purchased eye masks and ear plugs for the kiddies so they can hopefully block out the noises and just get some rest.
For the flight home: Loaded iPad. Books. Color Wonderful Markers. In flight movies. Accepting other suggestions.
4) The aim is to let everyone sleep as much as they want on day 1, while still trying to protect their night sleep. Day 2 is when we push everyone to be on European time.
5) Avoid EVERYTHING that could have dairy in it. I believe my son will enjoy indulging in the other German food groups.
I know we’ll have fun. I’m really looking forward to the time away and taking in the European Christmas. Stay tuned to find out how we manage.