Made it.

Oh it feels chilly here right now. “Here” being buried under the covers in what used to be Simon’s room at “Ashridge” in beautiful Devon. Bea is happily playing with some toys in a cot set up against the wall, though she insisted on sleeping in bed with me last night. I wasn’t expecting hot but it’s certainly not even feeling vaguely warm here right now. I’ve already congratulated myself on lugging Sam’s wellies and rain gear all the way over to England even though the amount of baggage I had to carry was ludicrous, he’s already been gallivanting up on the rainy, muddy moors with the parents and dog.

The journey over was very long, tiring and stressful. It started badly when I dropped my laptop bag in the unlit airport car park and my poor brand new computer crashed down onto concrete. She now has a dented corner and looking at it I think I’m lucky the screen didn’t break, but thankfully is otherwise okay.

Then, at check in my one bag, jammed packed for the three of us, was over the weight limit and $150 extra was demanded to carry it. I ended up checking the stroller in as cargo and stuffing the bag around the stroller with the surplus weight to avoid the fee. This later had me at London Gatwick baggage claim even more frazzled and scrabbling around on the floor repacking all the astray items so I could use the stroller again, while Sam ran around and tried to climb onto the conveyor belts.

I was so glad to see my Dad striding across Reading train station to find us yesterday morning as by that time I had had enough of dragging two kids and all our luggage across the pond on my own. Really though I couldn’t have wished for better travelling children though as both Sam and Bea were absolute angels on the trip.

Bea was a complete messy state when I handed her over to Dad, all covered in baby goo, but she was still a delight. She seemed to find it as difficult to sleep in my arms on the plane as I did while having to hold her but she maintained her good humour and was a darling for the entire flight. She grinned and raspberried her way across the Atlantic.

Sam was pretty perfect too, a little more of a terror to keep by my side in busy airport lounges and train stations but other than a natural need to be energetic in a confined space he was really well behaved. Big thumbs up to the purchase of the CARES harness which kept him strapped in and safe in his seat for the flight. Having him understand that he had to stay buckled up just like when he’s in the car was priceless and made the flight much more bearable. He only managed to wriggle away and run off through the curtain and into business class once.

Unfortunately I don’t suppose the passengers surrounding us would have given Sam such a glowing review. Once we were on the second leg of the journey, Cincinnati to London Gatwick, Sam devoured his kid’s meal and then settled down for some kip. He had been comfortably snoozing for some time when all of a sudden he started freaking out. He screamed, and cried, and thrashed around hysterically. He was howling and kicking out at the seat in front of him. I tried to comfort him but could get no response. Nothing that I did could get through to him. He was incoherent as to why he was upsetting, demanding Mummy hugs, but didn’t seem to be aware of my presence when I tried to give him some. I ended up just having to hold Bea out of his way and wait for him to calm down. Another time that I was grateful I had bought the harness else I think he may have hurt himself hurtling out of his seat.

I really believe he was fast asleep and having a night terror. Twice this happened. The second time I didn’t try to wake him up and he appeared to wake up himself moments after his hysterics quelled. He was disorientated for a second but then seeing the light glowing outside through the aircraft windows was immediately fresh faced and beaming, telling me “Morning Mummy! Sunny Day!” as if nothing had happened. He really had no recollection of being so apparently scared and violently thrashing about just moments before. He didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked him if he was okay and could he tell me why he was scared? He was very confused when the gentleman in front of us had words about him being naughty and kicking the seat during the flight. To Sam’s knowledge I’d only had to tell him not to disturb that guy once as we took our seats in Cincinnati, and he’d been a good boy and kept his feet to himself since. In my book he was a very good boy for the entire flight.

It took us some twentyone hours of travel to get to the grandparents house via two aeroplanes, a train and a car journey, and really I couldn’t be more proud of Sam and Bea. As we pulled into the “Ashridge” driveway Sam sweetly piped up from the backseat “I love you Grandad!” After hugs and cuddles with a waiting Nanna and Mollydog, he then took occupation of the conservatory floor and was soon immersed in playing with his cars and investigating all the toys left out for him. Took everything in his stride he did. Meanwhile I am still in recovery, have no idea what time or day it is and am ready for more sleep.

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