It’s only been two months (+3 days) since the four of us dragged ourselves, exhausted and over it, off our first-ever international flights as a family. Now, in just a couple more days we’ll be boarding a plane to do it all over again — except this time, it’ll be just me and the kids.*
Basically, Chris didn’t want to burn through a lot of his vacation days, while I thought it was a bit silly to only take the kids for a week since they’d barely be getting over jetlag before we left. Plus, earlier tickets were much cheaper. So, we ultimately decided that I would get tickets for the three of us in mid-December and Chris would join shortly before Christmas. I used a combination of points and cash through the Chase rewards system for our tickets, then bought Chris a ticket on the same flight, but a different day, through the airline itself. The four of us will all be flying home on the same plane.
So, that leaves me taking the kids and I’m a touch nervous (though ultimately I really believe it’ll be fine. And if it isn’t, it is only 14 hours …). Here are some things I’m doing for my sanity:
1) Going up to Rome the night before our international flight. The tickets I got were insanely cheap out of Rome, but obviously that still left getting there from Sicily. I could have taken one of several flights available that would likely have given me plenty of time to make my late-morning flight, but honestly I didn’t want the anxiety that would come from worrying about whether the plane was delayed or whether we’d get our baggage in time or just being rushed trying to get through the enormous labyrinth that is FCO. Instead, we’ll go up the evening before, spend the night in a hotel and not have to worry about being rushed the next morning.
2) Only taking one suitcase for the three of us. I’ll have two kids to wrestle, the last thing I need is extra baggage to cope with. We’ll take one checked bag, and a backpack each.
3) Having a car seat for Owen shipped to my mom’s house, rather than taking his with us. This way, I’ll only need to deal with Fiona’s seat (which I want anyway to keep her contained during the flight) and we’ll only have to install one when she or my dad picks us up from the airport in Chicago.
Other than that, the game plan for surviving the flight is the same as before: new toys in backpacks to whip out when they get bored, suckers to help with their ears during take-off and landing, tons of snacks to keep them happy throughout the flight and kid-sized headphones so they can either watch plane movies or their own electronic devices. Back-up plan if they are still little hellions? Bringing cash to buy alcohol during the flight (for me, not them).
Please cross your fingers for us!
In other news, we discovered another reason to love our house — we are only about half a mile from the Monday farmer’s market! The kids and I walked over there today, with Fiona on my back in a carrier for the first time since she was probably a year old (it was definitely a ton easier than trying to walk on narrow sidewalks or cross streets with her, but my back was killing me — I think I need a toddler-sized one, perhaps). A crazy thing happened there: my kids insisted on buying broccoli and carrots. And then we got home and Owen demanded to eat them as well. He’s been passionately anti-vegetable since he could eat, but today he willingly ate three raw carrots and tried bites of broccoli. I think the market may be magical.
*Yes, I do realize that the general consensus (this includes Chris) is that it is absolutely ridiculously to be heading back to the States already. I don’t necessarily disagree, but trip was booked before we even left in a panicky haze of “what if we are still in a hotel at CHRISTMAS???” combined with “OMG TICKETS ARE SO CHEAP RIGHT NOW, WHAT IF THEY AREN’T TOMORROW?” Whatever. I don’t care. I’m excited to see our families anyway lol.