Well we survived the billion hour flights. There and back. Even with a sodding Icelandic volcano to add to the joy. And you know, the kids weren't even awful. We had one weeing in pants incident that resulted in a very over tired little boy crying because he couldn't understand why he was wet, and a mother who didn't really want to cuddle him too closely because of said wetness, and several extremely grumpy Germans who felt the child should stop crying, and a mother who wanted to tell them to knob off but couldn't remember any German swear words having had no sleep for 48 hours.
But besides that, they were fine. Except that they were small boys in a confined space for 26 hours a pop. Even as an adult, getting free drinks from the wine trolley (and believe me, I had many of those) and having a full understanding of how to use the remote controls for the on-board entertainment system, 26 hours is a long, long time to sit in one small space.
So this is sort of how it went:
son1: Can you help me get the games on? No, not that game, this game.
son2: I also want the games on.
me: attempt to juggle two remote controls, finding games for son2 and a film for me.
son2: I can't work the controller. Show me how.
me: sigh. Like this....10 seconds of peace. I choose a film of my own and watch 2 minutes of it
son1: I'm hungry. When can we get food?
son2: I'm also hungry. Can we have a sweet yet?
me: food is coming. They only have to serve the 200 people seated in front of us, then we'll get ours. And no, you can't have a sweet yet.
son2: are we there yet?
me: No. We still have 25 hours and 50 minutes to go.....
The food trolley finally arrives, just as the nagging and cries of 'I'm starving' start to get quite volumatic. We're served our little over-filled trays of plastic nastiness. The children rip their cutlery packets open like presents on Christmas morning, immediately dropping their knives and forks on the floor under their seats with no way of getting them out without me loading up three trays in front of me like the leaning tower of Plastic, while they scrabble on the floor looking for their feeding implements. As I set their food trays back in front of them and am about to take a bite of congealed egg (which may have been breakfast, lunch or dinner but my body clock is way out of kilter and it's hard to know what meal it's meant to be) one of them will announce that they need to poo.
It will invariably be the child closest to the window that needs to poo, thus requiring the three way tray pile again, only now less evenly balanced as things have been openened and rearranged. It wobbles ominously. The child will attempt to walk across the seats but will stand on his brother which will prompt a swift punch by the stepped on brother to the legs of the brother in need of a poo. He will then attempt to bunch / kick back resulting in the teetering food tower to wobble precariously.
We'll finally manage to extricate ourselves from our seats, wait with a small boy holding his hand on his bottom, indicating the immediacy of the poo while the food trolley moves painstakingly slowly out of the aisle. When we finally make it there and the job is done, we will have the usual angst of having to block our ears while we flush as airplane loos are a little loud. Why is that?
Then we go back to our seats and repeat the whole performance.
Eventually one child will fall asleep. I will attempt to fall asleep. The other child will wake me just as I finally manage to drift off asking me to put a different film on or perhaps saying he needs a wee or a drink of water or a blanket. As that child drifts off to the land of nod, the other will wake up and ask for a film, a wee, a drink of water or a blanket. The result is absolutely no sleep for the lone parent trying to juggle this.
After hours and hours and hours of this I give up all hope of sleep and opt to watch films instead. Here are the films I started watching:
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker
The Time Travellers Wife
I don't think I saw the end of any of them, due to previously mentioned interruptions.
All in all, from when you wake up on the day you are due to fly out, to going to sleep in your destination, it will be roughly 48 hours. That is 48 hours of no sleep, eating crappy food, sitting in a teeny space getting a very numb bum, constantly whispering: DON'T KICK THE SEAT, and dealing with foreign customs people who aren't blessed with humour or understanding.
Once you get to your destination, you might think you can now sleep. But jet lag kicks in. And even though your body is way overtired, it's also telling you that it's day time, not night time and you should be awake. So you lie there wishing yourself to sleep. And just as sleep eventually steals over you like a heavy blanket, you hear: 'Mummy, I can't sleep.' And just as you settle that one several hours later, you hear the next one say the exact same thing.
And then the sun rises and you have to face the day. Your brain feels like its clogged with soggy cotton wool and your vision is slightly blurry around the edges.
It took me 10 days to get over the jetlag going there. We got back home on Friday. Today is Monday. I can still barely lift my head off my desk. I might be this way for some time to come.
PS - we had a fab holiday. But next time, I want a Star Trek Beam me up Scottie machine to get there.