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!
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.
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.