We all survived Oscar’s first flight!

He actually did alright, considering. That’s not to say there wasn’t a few ‘kill me now’ moments though, especially on our return.

On the flight over to New Zealand, we felt much more prepared. We had all his distractions ready and on top on that we had the energy of an impending holiday to keep us going. We booked a direct flight which meant it was just under 4 hours which is nothing when you think about it. But try sitting an active toddler on your lap for 4 hours straight. It’s suddenly not nothing. He was awake for almost the whole flight over before finally going into a coma like sleep 30 minutes before landing, 2 hours after his usual nap time.

Our holiday itself was great! Bringing my mum over with us to help out with Oscar was the smartest thing we could have done. It meant we were able to go out in the evenings and just be people, not parents. We stayed in a large 2 bedroom apartment and Oscar made himself right at home straight away. Candice and I remarked to each other quite a few times how ridiculously happy he was to be there. We had been worried that he would miss his things and his familiar home but we needn’t have thought twice about it.

To minimise stress, we decided not to take his car seat or pram over there and to instead hire them. This was also one of the best things we did. So much less to lug around the airport! We hired the car seat through the car rental company that we used while we were there and hired the pram from another company right next to the airport. We also hired a big box of toys/books from them to keep Oscar occupied while he was in the apartment which saved heaps on luggage space too.

The whole reason for us visiting New Zealand was for the wedding of 2 of our friends and it was gorgeous. The Queenstown gardens are a beautiful backdrop and they chose to have tthe ceremony under a giant tree surrounded roses. Candice was in the bridal party so I had been nervous about how Oscar would be during the wedding as I would have to contain him on my own. Well, he slept through the entire thing!

2021

On one of the days we were there, Candice and I decided to visit Arrowtown. It’s a small historical town not far from where we were staying. Unfortunately Oscar was having a sleepy day so he didn’t wake up for the entire time we were there. The good side to that was it meant we could eat lunch without the stress of needing to chase a child but I secretly wanted him to wake so we could share the day with him. On our drive back to Queenstown, he woke and became restless in his seat. Candice looked on the map and saw that there was a lake coming up so we pulled over and let him have a run around. This was easily my favourite part of that day. A freshly woken Oscar, all smiles and energy. Not to mention the incredible view.

DSC_0492 copy13 (1)DSC_047815

The flight home was more difficult and stressful. We both felt rushed, tired and post holiday blues were probably already setting in. Before we had even boarded the plane, we were ready to be home. Oscar wanted to run wild in the airport as any toddler would but we just had no energy. My mum chased him around letting him burn off some steam but then he burnt it off right into a pole, resulting in a big bruise in the middle of his forehead. And tears, of course. Airports echo and his sad wailing could probably have been heard from the other side on the building. Stressful. Finally we boarded and Oscar immediately started getting upset as he was clearly tired (and probably had a sore head) but he was fighting sleep with such force. Candice tried, my mum tried, I tried. We passed him around silently pleading with the universe to allow him some sleep. Finally, 40 minutes into the flight, I managed to rock him to sleep with the ‘5 Little Ducks’ nursery rhyme. We all breathed a sigh of relief and lucky for us he stayed asleep for most of the return.

Next time Candice ad I go on a big holiday involving a flight, I think we might leave him behind. I loved seeing him everyday but it’s a whole other ball game on holiday with a toddler. Until he’s about 5, no more airplane rides!

Here are a few more photos from our stay.

3 (10)6 (4)22

 

 

Screen time guilt

This isn’t a new revelation. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a while but it seems to be getting worse. Or maybe I’m just noticing it more.

Screen time. Specifically, my screen time.

When Oscar was a newborn, I had a lot of hours alone. Often it was with a sleeping baby on my chest so I was limited to what I could actually do. I needed to be quiet and still so all too often, I would spend hours on my phone. Facebook, Instagram, Baby Centre dashboards, WordPress, Pinterest. I would search recipes or read parenting articles until my phone was flashing red from low battery. Hours and hours wasted. Throughout the entire newborn age, I read a total of one book. ONE! I had thought I would be burning through books with the amount of time I was stuck in a chair.

As Oscar has gotten older, I haven’t been able to shake the habit.

I do a lot with Oscar. I take him for walks, we do activities at home, we visit parks, I read to him. I jump on a broom and sing, “giddy up, giddy up, giddy up horsey” gallopping around the living room as he chases me, trying to jump on the back. But my phone is always nearby and I always end up picking it up.

I know I’m not alone in this. We live in a different age and smartphones are changing everything. When I’m driving somewhere and I pass a parent on the street pushing a pram, they are in a zombie-like trance. One hand on the pram handle, the other hand holding a phone up to their face. I don’t want to look like that. I don’t want to be like that. But I know that’s me.

A few things have happened lately that have made me want to take a break from social media and just my phone in general. Small moments where I suddenly think, ‘these days are going by so quickly, I need to be more present’. But then those moments pass and I get bored, reaching for my phone again.

But yesterday something happened that sort of stabbed me in the guts a bit. Candice and I were in the lounge room where Oscar was playing with his toys.We were both on our phones not really doing anything important when Oscar suddenly wandered off down the hallway. I assumed that he went into his bedroom but after a minute of silence, Candice walked down the hall to find that he wasn’t in his room. He was actually in the our bedroom right next to his. He had climbed up onto the bed to reach my old iPhone (we use it to play soft music when he is sleeping in there) from the bed head. She watched him climb down and carry the old phone out to the lounge where he then walked straight up and handed to me, saying ‘Ta’.

So where do I start? The idea of going on a phone ban is exciting to me as I think of all the things I could do with that time. All the projects I could work on. All the extra activities I could fit in with Oscar. I just worry about the reality of it. Is it naive to think a complete phone ban is realistic? Perhaps a different plan where I simply set limitations on phone usage would work better? I think I’m finding it difficult because I love the online community that I socialise with. I’ve made actual friends through some social media avenues and would be sad to neglect them. I’m scared of feeling lonely and isolated. Since having Oscar, I don’t have many ‘real life friends’ that I actually catch up with. Only 1 of them actually has kids and I know she has her hands full with a newborn right now. I have a lot of non parent friends I would like to catch up with but it always feels like we would be a burden, dragging a toddler along.

I just need to work out a balance somehow. I have thought about perhaps deleting the apps from my phone. That way I would have to log onto my mac in order to visit these sites. Or even simply turning off all notifications so that I’m not tempted to check in all the time. Or even just implementing the ban only when Oscar is with me?

It sounds so outrageous that this is such a big issue in my life right now.

I just don’t know. Any advice out there?