Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ready or Not

February already. I've submitted most of my writing assignments (including a few pieces that weren't in the contract, so let's hope I get paid for those too!) and after many weeks of post-holiday season "jet lag," Little A seems to be getting back into a regular sleeping schedule. An entire month of sleeping past midnight and waking up between 10 and 11am has made it impossible for him to attend playschool until this week.

The family trip to Hong Kong went more smoothly than expected. We were dreading being stuck in the giant metal sausage even for just the hour and a half flight time with a very active toddler, but he was amazingly behaved both ways! This seems to be a sign of increasing emotional maturity.

The first suggestions that he was "growing up" came about during the last couple of supermarket trips. Where he previously had a 10 minute maximum shopping trolley tolerance and refused to ride his stroller at all, he suddenly realised he loved shopping trolleys and would try to climb into them whenever he saw one. He would sit in the trolley quite happily and only get antsy during checkout time, when he had to wait for the groceries to be zapped and bagged and the bill paid before getting them into the car. 

In preparation for the coming Hong Kong trip, I took his stroller from the corner it had been gathering dust in, and attempted to coax him into it for a few trips down the road to the bank. Surprisingly, he not only complied willingly, he seemed to enjoy sitting in what he once viewed as prison on wheels. So the signs looked favourable.

At the airport, where it took an inordinately long time to check in due to some problem with our tickets, my husband strolled Little A strolled around the departures area. We then let him run around through Immigration to exhaust his energy pre-flight and discovered a Children's Travel Lounge by the boarding gates, where he made friends with a Lego man twice his size. 

On the plane, he fell asleep before takeoff and upon waking sat quietly in my lap eating bread and drinking milk until we landed. Once we'd cleared Immigration and retrieved our baggage in Hong Kong, my sister organised a half-hour minibus ride to the hotel. Little A behaved during the entire ride, saving his energy to run around the lobby as we checked in.

While he still preferred to play on his own rather than with his cousins, he was fairly manageable the entire trip. He sat in his stroller when needed and got up to a minimum of mischief. Chinese New Year's dinner was a challenge as he didn't like the closed, full dining room on the hotel's executive floor. His father had to take him downstairs to our room and keep him there until 9pm, when, well and truly hungry, he sat in my lap and wolfed down the pasta he'd pushed away an hour earlier.

The plane ride home was equally pleasant. Having eaten at the hotel, he slept on the bus to the airport and woke up as we were clearing Immigration. My husband and I took turns chasing him around the airport while the other had lunch. Then we popped him into his stroller for the long walk to the departure gate. He spent the entire flight sitting on my lap despite having a seat of his own, but was again remarkably well-behaved: playing quietly, looking out the window and nursing.

These last few days, he's been weaning himself voluntarily, much to my surprise and delight. From insisting on nursing every few hours and every time we are in the car (no matter how short the journey), he no longer cries when I say no and give him a cup of milk instead. Perhaps it's helped that his body clock was readjusting (there were a couple of days when he didn't nap at all) or that we were away from home at naptime. 

Even better, he has managed to fall asleep in his stroller more than once. Joy of joys! Another blessing is that he has finally started to sleep in longer stretches. 2-3 hour straight naps, which most babies do from birth, are new to my 19 month old son, who for the first year and a bit of his life only slept 45 minutes at a time. 

With luck, things will continue to go smoothly. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

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