I have written about very little of our time in Ethiopia. I hope someday I find the wherewithal to do it. But until then I will write this. A dear friend is leaving soon for her first trip where she and her husband will meet their sons for the first time and I started thinking about our trip home with Yonas. He was 21 months old, scared and pissed off. Here are my best two tips for surviving the trip home with a screaming baby or toddler.
1. Graciously accept every single glass of wine that is offered to you. I'm not trying to be cute. I didn't have any alcohol on the way and it wasn't until I was on the verge of prying open the door of the plane and jumping out on the way home that I did. You'll have paid a load of money for your tickets. Let the wine help you care about the screaming a little less.
2. Yonas screamed a lot. And he was (and is) very loud. (When kids who were with Yonas in the orphanage talk about him, the first thing they talk about is how LOUD he was and how much he cried.) Grab your screaming mess of a child and get yourself into that tiny bathroom. Screw the line. Screw the seat belt rules. Screw 15 minutes passing. We played in the water. Or the soap. We flushed the toilet. We watched ourselves cry in the mirror. And when none of that worked he screamed in that tiny place that felt far removed from judgement and embarrassment. Airplane bathrooms have an insulated, cushioned quality. The hum of the plane will make you less concerned about disturbing other passengers and may even comfort your terrified tot. It's like a crappy noise machine. But there were times when all I had to do was walk into the bathroom and he calmed down. I stayed for as long as I needed to.
These two tips in combination helped us survive the trip home. May it help you too!