Well, the first plane ride from Hong Kong to Chicago was straight from the pits of you-know-where. We boarded the plane right at Cate's nap time - which on the other van/car rides has worked to our advantage. Not today, [Satan]!
When we checked in they had informed us that our seats had been upgraded due to a plane change (score!) but when we sat down - I immediately realized that the armrests were very much stationary (not score)! This meant there was no spreading out for us.
Cate did actually nap when we first got on the plane - I made a "bed" for her across my lap and on the two arm rests so she could stretch out - for a whopping 45 minutes. The rest of the time was spent putting earphones on and off her head 765,584 times and watching her click the back of the seat in front of her to change the show/movie and then ask for it to be switched back by picking up my hand and pulling it towards the screen while rubbing her chest to say "please" in sign language. Help me.
About 6 hours in we were all over it - she was - I was - and Nate was 3 movies and several naps deep because at this point she wanted nothing to do with him.
We managed to survive with bouts of crying until about 4 hours left in our flight when she dozed off (I finally started to breathe easy) and she woke up screaming about 15 minutes later. Honestly, I think half of her body fell asleep - and she didn't know what or how to make that awkward tingling feeling go away. She was acting like she was in pain, but also acting extremely over-tired (weren't we all) and just flat-out annoyed that we were still flying (me too, sister!). I put her in the carrier and walked to the back of the plane where I knew the white noise from the engines were a little louder and hopefully we would disturb less people - also, this had helped soothe her previously. Not this time. She just got louder and louder. The sweet flight attendants kept trying to help me calm her down - even talking to her in Chinese (which only made her more mad) and one even tried to offer to hold her - at which point she went in to full panic mode. On one hand, this made me think "oh, good, she likes me enough to want to only scream at me - at least she knows I'm her person?" and on the other hand I was thinking "merciful heavens, child - if you want me so bad -please stop screaming at me!?" This continued for two and a half hours. Yes. TWO and a HALF hours. We offered her everything under the sun - even a lollipop didn't work. I stood still, I bounced, I sat on the plane floor [GROSS], I sat in the stewardesses seat, I rocked, I sang, I prayed, I bounced some more...around the hour and a half mark I felt my own floodgate of tears start to break - and break it did. Those angel-flight attendants just stood there rubbing both our backs and not for one second making me feel like the crazy lady I know I looked like. Instead they spoke words of encouragement and affirmation to me. Seriously, such a blessing. She finally settled, and almost - ALMOST went to sleep - instead when we walked back to our seats - she drank a carton of milk and then began our game of how-many-times-can-I-turn-off-Mickey-Mouse-and-ask-Mom-to-turn-it-back-on again. At this point, I thought - I just have to make it one more hour - whatever keeps you from screaming at me and everyone else.
We landed in Chicago and made it through customs quickly, had to wait forever on our luggage to re-check it - and then had to completely go through security again (why, Chicago?) and when we finally made it to our gate -we found out our flight home had been delayed (I managed not to completely lose my mind) and of course, after we found something to eat and sat down, girlfriend conked out in 3 seconds flat. At this point I decided we were only going to let her nap for an hour - because if we could keep her awake until we made it to Jax we would be on USA time completely and could all go down as a family after things settled down at home. We let her nap - I shoved my face with the delicious heavenly goodness that is an Aunt Annie's cinnamon sugar pretzel (stress eating at it's finest) and we waited [not so] patiently on our plane. Once we finally made it on, and took off -all bets were off. Cate put 762 stickers all over my journal, ate 5 (or was it 15) lollipops, snacks every 10 minutes (which we all did to stay awake) and then when we started getting all excited because we were landing in Jacksonville in less than 10 minutes, she laid down in my lap - and as the wheels hit the runway - started snoring......
To be continued...