Toddler jet lag

8 November 2018

Ah, it was too good to be true! I should’ve guessed! Having been feeling smug that she’d slept so well on the plane and then gone straight to sleep last night, Cornelia woke up bright as a button at 02:00. And she did not sleep again that night! Daddy went into her bed, when she asked if she could come to us for a cuddle, and he managed to sleep until we woke him up at 07:00. He woke up a couple of times apparently, but went straight back to sleep. Bugsy amused herself by pulling my hair, hiding under the duvet, checking the window to see if it was light yet, tickling me, tickling herself, tickling the Gang and so on. She was very quiet and very sweet, but I felt exhausted when I finally realised that I was not going to be able to go back to sleep, and said she could get out of bed and come and play in the bathroom while I had a shower, and before we woke Ian.

We went down for breakfast a really terrific spread. Cornelia ate as if she hadn’t eaten in a week: toast, raisin bread, a new (as yet unidentifiable) cereal, watermelon and a croissant! Her and Ian went back up to the room so I could just sit peacefully for ten minutes, and work out how I was going to stay awake all day without turning grumpy.

Because we’d been up early, we were packed up and ready for our return trip to the airport ahead of schedule. Of course, the meant that we then relaxed too much and Ian’s numerous false starts to fetch a luggage trolley meant that we ended up leaving later than originally planned. Thankfully, the traffic wasn’t as heavy as it had been last night, and we were delivered to the International Terminal with plenty of time. The self check in and self bag drop was slick and quick, as was security. With another successful trip to the Duty Free (Lego for Christmas for Bugsy) and AT LAST a camera charger that will work for a Canon (I know!!!!) and an SD card for Bugsy’s Kindle so I can download some more programmes for her, we were ready for another flight.

And yes, Sydney is all Christmassed up! Check out Bugsy as an elf!! 😂

Unfortunately, that flight wasn’t ready for us! Despite the Departure board saying that Gate 55 was now open, when we turned up, the desk staff had just started explaining that there had been a power outage in the Domestic Terminal and our plane needed to transfer some people here, then would be cleaned etc, before we could board. There was no indication how long this might take!

We ended up taking off an hour late, so it wasn’t too disruptive. Our flight was good and the staff were excellent. Little things like knowing Cornelia’s name as they brought her her child’s meal, made all the difference. She was very good on the flight, watching some TV, eating all of her food, and then lying down on my lap, watching The Gruffalo, and falling to sleep.

And that was where the perfect long haul ended… We landed, and Cornelia was still fast asleep and quite refusing to be woken up. And when I say refusing, I really mean it. She was a dead weight in my arms, refusing to turn around so I could pick her up easily (we were almost last on the plane again), so I tried carrying her in a slightly uncomfortable way (for both of us) that started off the screaming. I paused to try and readjust, but that’s nigh on impossible in the narrow aisle of a plane. “Oh dear, does she want to stay with us?” asked one of the stewards. Don’t tempt me…..

As soon as we were off the plane and onto the walkway taking us to arrivals, I sat down with her as she screamed, hit and generally writhed around. I just tried holding her, telling her she was safe and I would carry her (my previous suggestion of being over the “carry me” phase clearly out of the window!) but she just screamed and screamed. One wonderful mum stopped and asked if there was anything she could do to help, and my broken response was “I just don’t know! I just have to wait for her to get over it. She is completely exhausted!” My own tired emotions overwhelmed me a bit as a tear trickled down the side of my face, which I did my best to hide from Cornelia and the onlookers. Eventually her screams subsided sufficiently for me to collect her back up in my arms and take her into the terminal, although she was still crying her eyes out. At this point, Ian needed the loo and escaped to the confines of the restrooms. I sat down with Bugsy and told her that we could stay her as long as she needed, but she needed to start now waking up and getting her shit together. Perhaps not exactly those words. “I can’t, Mummy, I can’t! This is the first time I’ve ever cried with my eyes closed and I don’t know how to make it stop!” came her mournful reply.

As we walked on, with her now sitting in my arms, rather than lying in them, but still sobbing her heart out, a very sweet young woman came up and asked if she could give her her Kiwi key ring to see if that would cheer her up. I thanked her but said she wouldn’t be capable of appreciating anything right now, to which the girl said that it didn’t matter, she could have it anyway, and hoped she’d like it when she was in a better state. Such is the kindness of strangers.

At least the hitting and screaming had now given way to tears, as we made our way down to immigration control. Cornelia was not in a mood to charm anyone, but we were treated very kindly by everyone we encountered. Having declared our trip to Africa and foodstuffs, we had to have our cases opened and hiking shoes decontaminated, before being allowed to complete the control checks with an X-ray of all our luggage and that impossible question: What kind of jam is in the jars? Argh! My mind went blank, like it does sometimes at the checkout when for love nor money can you remember your PIN! Er, plum is in one and…. um…. think of something, think of something!!!! Kumquat? Maybe? I’m not sure! And then, FINALLY… marula and lemon, it’s marula and lemon, I squawked!!

Having escaped the need to completely empty our suitcases, and with Cornelia now safely installed on top of the trolley, lying down and using her car seat as a pillow, we collected our hire car from Avis and, once we’d reported the significant dent on the front that hadn’t been noted on the “condition of car” form, we rolled out of the airport and off to our apartment in Manukau, about fifteen minutes away.

It was such a relief to arrive. I checked us in with a lovely receptionist (who apologised for only having available a room on the third floor and not higher up), and she directed me to our secure parking lot. Annoyingly, we had been allocated just about the worst parking space in the building. It is right in the corner and you can only park in such a way as to open one door at a time. The passenger side is completely out – it is too close to the wall. On the driver’s side, Ian had to stop halfway into the bay, so I could extract an obstinate Bugsy (who only wanted to get out of her side of the car 🙄) and get the luggage out of the boot, before reversing fully into the space so that he could get out. At the end of an exhausting day, it was a mild irritation to say the least!

Anyway, the elevator went right up from the car park to the third floor and we made it to our apartment, all in one piece. But the day didn’t end there. It was now about 20:00, and we hadn’t had supper, nor did we have any food to make a meal. Thankfully, Westfield Mall is a two minute walk from here, so I dragged myself back out and round the supermarket, with my fuzzy head struggling to think about what we might need. Nonetheless, I did well enough to return with pasta, sauce, beer, cereals and milk. That would see us through until tomorrow lunchtime!

Bugsy, who now seemed to have recovered from her lengthy upset of the day, ate all of her pasta, and we took her straight to bed. She stayed awake for two stories and a Mumfi, then I cuddled her to sleep, which took all of two minutes. By just after 22:00, all was calm. Ian, bless him, had done two loads of laundry (mostly because he was out of underwear) while I failed to do anything apart from sit blankly in a chair catching up on Facebook and the news until I managed to drag myself to bed.

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