The Flight from Hell, or, How we Became "Those" Parents

As we prepared to make the trek from Minneapolis to Guam via Tokyo, I kept trying to envision how the flights would go. Specifically, I tried to envision how the 12 hour flight to Tokyo would go, especially for the oh-so-two Mr. J.

I was never very worried about Miss S., as she was already a great sleeper, and, being only 3 months old (as well as in a rear-facing-only car seat), isn't really capable of kicking the back of anyone's seat, except maybe her own. But her legs aren't even long enough for that.

Our flight began at 4:10 PM, so, around nap time. At what ended up being actually an 11-hour flying time, that put us in to Tokyo at roughly 3 AM on the time all of our bodies were accustomed to (it was about 5 PM Tokyo time).

In all my wildest imaginings of what Mr. J. would do on this flight, not once did it occur to me that he might actually stay awake the entire time. Especially since he had been up until 10 the night before and then woke for the day at around 6:30.

And wouldn't you know, that is EXACTLY what he did. He started to nod off very briefly at the beginning of the flight. However, he was nodding off with his head forward, and not in a very comfortable position. So I told Mr. I. to gently push it back. When he did, Mr. J. woke up immediately, screamed a bit, and then settled down.

We were ok with this, assuming that he would fall asleep when it was around "bed" time. In the mean time, Mr. J. decided that it was far more fun to kick the seat in front of him. We explained, repeatedly, why this was definitely NOT alright, and he did eventually stop. For awhile.

Somewhere around the five- or six-hour mark, Mr. J. became very, VERY tired. He took his blanket and tried and tried to get comfortable. But, being a tummy sleeper, he kept trying to figure out how to put "bockie" in front of him, and of course that did not work at all. So he flipped out instead, especially when we tried to help him place the blanket.

His tantrum included (though was not necessarily limited to) screaming and crying (most of the time), kicking the seat in front of him with impressive vigor, knocking his head from side to side in his car seat (thus hitting it against the side-impact protectors), and/or hitting us, often many of these things simultaneously. Now, in fairness to Mr. J., he was so beyond over-tired at this point that he really did not have control of himself. We did our best to hold his feet down so as to not irritate the poor unsuspecting businessman in front of him (because really, having your seat kicked by the screaming child behind you is really just adding insult to injury).

Mr. J. did calm down for a few brief moments in the four hour period during which he continued to scream. At most, I believe, his calm moments lasted 5 minutes. He would start to doze off. And then he would either have a difficult time placing bockie again, or he would kick his feet, wake himself up, and begin all over. I'm sure this was very very frustrating for him.

Mr. I. and I did not just sit idly by, believe me (and this, I believe, is why no one actually killed us on this flight)! We got up several times and walked Mr. J. around. We helped him regain control of himself from time to time. We tried to help him go to sleep. Much of it to little or no avail.

However, we did finally get him settled in his seat and at least quiet for the remainder of the flight (about an hour and a half by the end).

He was grumpy during our two-hours in Tokyo, though did very happily eat some Pretz (Japanese snack sticks), and enjoy some Calpis Water (Japanese drink with a yogurt flavor).

He zonked RIGHT out on the plane to Guam, before we even left the gate. He slept for the entire four hours there, until an announcement woke him up at the very end. He was less than thrilled about this, again. This tantrum involved smacking as well as, again, kicking the back of the seat in front of him.

Once in the hotel, he was down for the count, though, and slept straight until 8:30 the next morning.

Oh, and where was Miss S. during all of this? Well, for the four hour tantrum, she was sound asleep in the seat right next to Mr. J.

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