One single word of advice for you all. Extra ticket. Do not buy the lap fare even if you are dirt poor like us. Actually, we lucked out, begged the counter agents for mercy and on both the BKK-NRT and NRT-ORD segments the gate agent moved other people around so we could have 3 seats together. Even though we had 3 seats, the flight was sheer, unadulterated hell. This guys is a squirmy child, and that’s putting it mildly. A toy entertains him for about 15 seconds and he jumps up to find another toy. I had a huge dread of boarding that first plane. Plus we woke up at 2:30 am, caught a cab and arrived at the airport at 4 a.m. for our 6 a.m. flight.
All in all Tiger did well but the flight is exhausting even when you have a bastion of toys and new fancy mechanical cars. We used most of the toys on the first 5 hour flight to Tokyo and toward the end, Tiger was so done. He wanted off this flying prison. We were exhausted, and hadn’t slept much. The layover in Tokyo had to be my low point. Ack slept and I took Tiger on the moving sidewalk for what seemed like 3 hours. He didn’t want to sit still. It was hard knowing we were in for a 10 hour flight up next. At the beginning of the flight to Chicago, we gave him some Children’s Benadryl. There was no way we could keep him still and we knew it was close to his bedtime after skipping two naps. I must tell you this is the only thing that kept me sane. This kid even squirms in his sleep and he kept moving around… we were worried that he would wake up. But he slept for 8 hours. This in itself is amazing since he doesn’t always sleep through the night. There were minimal screaming tantrums and he only bugged two other passengers by looking through the crack in the seats and demanding food. A nice older Thai guy gave him a banana, and a little 3 year old boy shared his kid’s meal. (Now that’s a well behaved kid)
Neither of us got any sleep however. So, when we reached Chicago I felt sick from exhaustion. Have you ever felt that? Literally, physically ill due to stress and lack of sleep. Standing in the line for immigration, I had Tiger strapped to me in the Ergo and he had a toy car he kept throwing down. He was done with waiting and we tried letting him down to walk but he kept running away. We had 3 large suitcases, 3 carry-ons and a toddler in an Ergo. Toward the end of the 30 min. wait in the immigration line, Tiger started scratching me and wailing. As we walked up to the agent, I think he could sense our exhaustion and he was very nice and helpful.. said congratulations, that we were now officially back in the States.
It was hard work navigating the airports, multiple security checkpoints and customs/immigration. I can’t tell you what the final flight was like… a turbo prop filled with businessmen and 1 agitated toddler. Ack fell asleep on the final leg and I was left to fend for myself. My head occasionally drooped and I fought to stay awake and not let the little guy loose on the straight-laced passengers.
We got home and my mom had bought us some groceries, decorated the house and made us cheese enchiladas. No enchilada has ever tasted better. We slept for 18 hours. But now the adventure really begins. Trying to get over jet lag, illness and learn how this new family is actually gonna function.