We shuffled down the aisle to the back of the overcrowded plane where we took our seats in a 2-seat row. Monica began howling moments after we sat down... she was both starving and exhausted. There was no quick fix for this one though. We had run out of our stash of food and thus had to wait until the plane food was served, of course this takes ages because we had to wait until we had safely been in the air for at least a good hour. And remember, we were at the very back of the plane, which meant we got served last.
The exhausted and frustrated cries of my 2 year old were heard loud and clear by all of those around us. Thank goodness for the girl sitting across the aisle who was able to entertain Monica for at least a little while, because there was nothing I could do to pacify her at this point.
At last our food came. Feeding a 2 year old Uganda child is a lot harder than I had ever guessed though and finding suitable foods on the tray was a challenge and was met with more screams as each offer was rejected. I think she finally settled on some strawberry yogurt and a roll. (P.S. Jody... Monica might have a slight allergy to strawberries because after that she started compulsively scratching herself and rubbing her nose) I of course felt a sudden panic, thinking that she was going to go into anaphylactic shock right there on the plane. Thank goodness I had some Benadryl just in case. Did I mention how handy that sleep-inducing drug was?
When the food was finished and I was finally ready to get Monica to sleep (a good 2+ hours into the flight) the flight attendants disappeared and we were stuck with her tray, making it impossible for me to get her comfortable in her seat. After hitting the call button and nearly screaming for someone to come and help me, I finally collected all of our things and trudged down the aisle to hand them over.
Then the challenge of sleep began. I've picked up a few techniques for getting kids to sleep over the years so I implemented my favorite. My friend Genevive calls it "beating the baby to sleep" because it involves laying the baby on their tummy and patting their bottom in a somewhat aggressive way. Works like a charm... usually. Of course, Monica made it more difficult and fought me every step of the way. So there I was, pinning her to the seat, patting her bum, and pushing her head back down every time she tried to sit up. I'm sure it looked terrible, but I'm telling you, best sleep technique I've ever learned. Eventually she fell asleep, stretched out across her seat and about 70% of mine. For fear of lights waking her up I created a tent out of blankets that stretched from the top of the seat and into the tray and then over to my seat.
Of course, this left me precariously balanced on the edge of my seat, at the point of absolute exhaustion (having now not slept for 2 days) but unable to sleep due to my lack of space. At one point I nearly climbed down to the floor to sleep, but figured I'd get yelled at for not having my seat belt on. I tried to lean my seat back a little bit but got cursed out by the guy behind me for the inch I'd moved it. I should have punched him. Instead I sunk down into my seat to endure the miserable 8 hours left before we landed.
The story of this flight continues very much the same as the paragraph above and consisted of me trying to find a comfortable position for 8 hours while not waking the sleeping child next to me.
Our trip was not over though. We still have to make it off the plane and through Immigration.
(to be continued...)