I knew that the trip home was not going to be pretty. Traveling alone with a newborn and a 3.5 year old who couldn't walk was never something that was going to be easy.
Niko got us checked in at the airport, I hugged him, thanked him, and tipped him, and we said our goodbyes as we entered the gates. Oh, how I didn't expect to miss them so much.
We waited a while in the children's lounge and then the Lufthansa staff let us board the plane first. Maks was very tired, since it was 4 am, and we hadn't slept much, but he was doing great. We boarded the plane and he was happy as can be. I gave him some juice, and then he threw it up all over himself. It was then that I realized that I didn't have a shirt to change him into.
|For the love, do NOT let your kids sleep on the layover before a 10 hr flight!!!|
Someone helped me find my gate and they told us to wait and they would help us board... They made us wait until everyone else had boarded. Again, I was not happy. But, when they took us back to our seat and I realized we had a bassinet, I was ok. Then I saw that we were seated next to a 40ish year old man, and I apologized, "I am going to apologize in advance," I said, "this is going to be ugly." He said not to worry, and let me tell you, that man was a Godsend. I had been praying that we would not be seated next to someone cranky for that flight. And we weren't. He helped me more than he could ever know, and I am forever grateful for his kindness.
The stewardesses showered both boys with gifts, and we settled in for our 10 hour flight. It was a bit of a struggle from the get go. The arm rests would not fold up in these seats, and Maks wanted to snuggle. He was frustrated that I couldn't hold him, because I was trying to get Sam to go to sleep, so he would smack him whenever he could. He wouldn't watch the movies, or play with toys, or anything. If I tried to put Sam down in the bassinet, he'd cry. The man next to us drank a lot, but helped with Maks and didn't mind one bit if Maks pet his arm hair, or otherwise bothered him.
After about 5 hours of that nonsense, the kind man fell asleep, and Sam decided that was a great time to have his first poopy diaper blowout ever. I took both boys to the back of the plane, where the only changing table is, as Maks pet every man's arm hair on the way. We had to wait a few mins, and when we got in, the bathroom reeked. I put the baby on the changing table, and Maks stuck his hand in the poopy toilet. I screeched, he laughed. I washed him up while holding onto the baby, then opened the door, found the closest stewardess and begged her to take Sam for a minute while I cleaned up Mr. Poopyhands. She didn't even care that Sam was covered in poop too. She showed him all around that plane, all the ladies squealed in delight as I cleaned up my crazy boy. He decided that pooping in his own diaper would be fun right after I changed him, and I realized I was not only out of diapers for him, but I didn't have a change of clothes for Sam. "What am I, a new mother?!" I thought... Thankfully, they had spare diapers on the plane, and I was able to get Sam cleaned up a bit and swaddled him up for the next 5 hours of the flight...
We went back to our seats and the kind man actually apologized for falling asleep! I was finally able to get Sam asleep and into the bassinet, and then I put "Planes" on the tv and held Maks tight so that maybe, just maybe he'd fall asleep too. Just as he'd fall asleep, a woman and her rowdy toddler would run by screeching and wake him up. This happened 2 or 3 times. I was so exhausted, I can't even explain... I had a glass of wine, thank goodness Lufthansa gives it for free. I needed it. He finally fell asleep around hour 8. I nodded off for about 20 minutes. He woke up about hour 9 and we had about an hour left. He cried in his seat the whole time. The kind man did everything he could to help me quiet him down, but it didn't help. Luckily, those planes are so loud, I doubt anyone else could really hear him.
When we landed in Denver, I was so dizzy and delirious. There was some mix up with my strollers, and I had to get to my next gate within an hour and 20 minutes. Luckily, an airport employee and some other kind people helped me. I got my luggage, grabbed clothes and diapers out of it for the boys, got through customs and everything else, made the mistake of stepping onto a moving sidewalk (phew! Almost fell!), changed the boys in the bathroom, and made it to my next gate.
I was charging my phone and was pretty much in a fog, when a man came up and said that Maks reminded him of his son, who is 8, and also has Down syndrome. I told him that we were on our way home from Ukraine and that we were glad to meet him. He was so nice, and had tears in his eyes.
Luckily, the last flight from Denver to Phoenix is a short one. We were seated next to another man, with incredibly irresistible arm hair, and I was the most exhausted I have ever been in my life. I have given birth to 5 babies, but it doesn't even compare. I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I would nod off, then snap awake and realize Maks was petting the man next to us. I finally wrapped my arm around him, put the baby on my shoulder, and tightly held them both and passed out for about 45 minutes. Maks fell asleep too. I awoke to the news that we were starting our descent and I started crying. I couldn't stop crying. I'd get it under control, and then think of seeing my girls again, and cry again. The kind man that talked to us in Denver offered to carry Maks out of the plane, that he'd be honored, and I graciously accepted. Angels. God blessed us with so many angels on the way home.
Oh, it was good to be home.