We just recovered from our second transcontinental flight with Petit-Homme. He breezed through the first one last year easily, but this time around it was an entirely different ball game. He is now almost 30 pounds and as wriggly as a worm on steroids.
Including transfers, our flights took about 15 hours to reach Quebec City. My main concern was how PH would sleep. We ended up creating a makeshift bed in the corner out of a down jacket, pillows and blankets (front seats of Comfort section face perpendicular walls). The passengers in our small cabin were surprisingly kindly. Not a huff of exasperation nor rolled eyeball (that I could detect, perhaps wilful blindness on my part) despite a few moments of fatigued shrieking (vocal by PH, mental by me). The demographic of our section was overwhelmingly male, white, middle-aged. Petit-Homme busied himself prancing back and forth handing out empty wine bottles along the aisle. I am no longer anxious that others will be perturbed – I’ve put up with your kids, now’s payback time!
While KLM Business treats you well (excessive cheese and unnecessary cutlery), KLM Economy is friendly but stingy with “adult food”. It took 30 minutes and grudging responses from our attendant to get a pastry for Petit-Homme. She said she’d bring one “if there were extra”. She was forthcoming with a few cans of Olvarit puree, so parents with little babies can rest easy knowing there will be baby food on board. After a long wait, she came back twice to ask us if we were still interested in the chicken pastry for him. (Yes, yes, and yes.)
Due to safety concerns, they made us rouse him from a hard-fought slumber every time there was slight turbulence, just so he could be held in our arms. I’m not sure what others do in this case, but weighing the pros and cons of a cranky little child, ergo cranky entire cabin, I secretly declined at times. Instead I held him down on the floor while he slept during softer episodes. (justification – staff were themselves clanking around in the galley instead of being strapped down tightly.)
Finally, our exhaustions and frustrations were put into perspective by a kindly man sitting across from us. During the flight, he had surprised me by being extremely encouraging with many smiles and teases for PH. At the end, we discovered that he was actually en route to Toronto to meet up with his family, and his baby that he had not seen for 6 months as they lived in different countries! Due to visa restrictions, they could only practically meet in Canada. So, everyone had to fly around in order to spend a few precious moments together in a country that none of them had ties to.
As hard as it was to endure this trip, I can’t begin to imagine how it would be like to suffer a long separation from your cherished little darling, and then to see him completely changed – perhaps even unaware of who you are.