On Sunday, we all got up early, loaded up the car and headed to Heathrow Airport. Some 18 hours later – and after two cars, two planes and several trains and trams – we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s — tired and jet lagged but happy. We had been a little worried ahead of time: Nyan has flown transatlantic several times, but he was not nearly so energetic and mobile as he is now. How would he do on an eight-hour flight to Chicago?
We needn’t have worried, as it turned out. The young man continues to impress and amaze us with his ability to handle pretty much any situation, and he was a joy the entire trip. Seriously.
You may know that one of Nyan’s favorite things to do is to spot airplanes in the sky and point them out. That’s easy to do where we live, as we’re on the flight path for both Heathrow and London City Airport, so we see lots of low-flying planes. Imagine his glee, then, when we were waiting to board our flight and Nyan realized that those giant windows gave him a great view to the planes on the tarmac and to the planes taking off on the runway! He was screeching with joy.
The flight was long, of course, but Nyan passed the time by flirting with the stewardesses, looking out the window (and happily waving Hello to some imaginary friends who apparently were hanging out on the wings), reading his books, walking up and down the aisles, and even taking a brief nap. That was interrupted by another child, a boy about Nyan’s age who was not a happy traveler and who bawled most of the way across the Atlantic – including a screeching fit about half an hour into Nyan’s nap. That woke him up, and he wouldn’t sleep any longer. But he remained in fine spirits throughout.
The line to get through Immigration at O’Hare was long and slow, though Nyan remained upbeat, making friends with people in line and only fussing when we wouldn’t let him play with the thermostats that are installed high up on the columns that hold up the ceiling. (The kid notices everything, especially electronic things. Did you know there are thermostats on the support columns at O’Hare’s passport control? Me neither. But Nyan did.)
Those lines, plus an hour delay in getting out of London, meant we had no time to make our connecting flight to Iowa. So Daddy had to politely but firmly convince the British Airways folks that they needed to rebook us on another flight that night, and they eventually did so. We had to rush to another terminal and stand in another long line – this one for security – but Nyan was cool: he had his stroller, he had his snacks, and he had lots of people to look and make friends with.
He finally fell asleep in that security line. (Mommy and Daddy were quietly freaking out, as we had a 5:30 flight and were still a fair bit away from the screening gates as the clock hit 5pm, but we decided to take a Zen approach – we’ll either make it or not, and freaking out and stressing about it won’t change anything; and if we miss it, we’ll find another way to get there.) Daddy carried the sleeping young man through the metal detectors and we raced to our gate at the other end of the terminal; got there at 5:20, which would have been too late, except the flight was delayed by 15 minutes, which meant they had just started boarding as we arrived.
He remained sleeping for the entire flight, and was sound asleep in his stroller when we landed and met Grandma and Grandpa. He woke up a bit, crying and grumpy, as we strapped him in to his car seat, but he eventually woke up enough to give them hugs and smiles.
Jet lag has been an issue for the first few days here – he woke up at 2am that first night, wide awake and wanting to play until about 7am. Grandma, bless her, stayed up with him for much of that first night as Mommy and Daddy tried to catch up on sleep. The second night, Nyan woke up around 3am, and the third night, around 4:45. So we’re getting better, and expect that tonight he should sleep until maybe 6am – pretty close to normal.