May 25, 2010
Our international baby
Since being born in New York, our tiny 2 month old babe has been traveling the world. She has gone from riding the subways in the boroughs of the Big Apple to taking the train across the border into her mommy's beautiful country of Canada. And just as she was settling into her Nani's home in Ottawa, we were flying across the Atlantic to Dubai. From there we made our final flight across the desert en route to Bangladesh.
Arissa was only a little over a month old and so understandably, I was seriously worried about making the journey up north to Ottawa, Canada. The train ride would be a long 12 hours and enjoying the scenery would be the last thing Sunvi and I would be busy with. We plopped Arissa into her BabyBjorn and hoped that our colicky infant would have one of her good days, especially since she had one of her colic episodes resulting in an entire night of Sunvi doing last minute packing and cleaning all by himself while an already sleep deprived Me handled the screaming baby all by myself. She was asleep when we got on the train but as soon as the train started she woke up and started screaming. However, that day we were in luck - it was only a hungry cry (I have now mastered the Art of decoding MY daughter's cries) and as soon as she was fed, she went back to sleep. The rest of the journey, she slept, woke up to feed or have her diaper changed and whenever she would start crying we quickly carried her to the vestibule (I think that's what it's called - you know the space between each car) in order to spare the passengers an earful from a very loud baby. And while there, the chugging sounds and the swaying motions of the train lulled her sleep and we were able to bring her back to our seats. She is a very light sleeper so to make sure she didn't wake up and have a fit I literally carried her in my arms for the entire journey passing her to Sunvi only when she needed to be held in the vestibule. My arms felt as heavy as lead by the time we got to Ottawa but if that's what it took to have a more or less peaceful journey (for us and the rest of the passengers) than so be it. In the end we did have a few unexpected things happen - a drunk old man fell on top of me while I was holding a sleeping Arissa, which prompted the entire crew on the train to give her and I some special attention - always checking up on us and coming by and asking if Arissa was ok (which Thank God she was - I was able to hold the guy from putting all his weight on us with my free arm). And at the end of the journey we also got compliments from some of the passengers sitting around us on how wonderful Arissa was. Well I guess that's not that unexpected ;D
Just before Arissa turned 2 months we made sudden plans to come to Bangladesh and so we were off. This time I was terrified of the journey ahead. We had to first take the train from Ottawa to Toronto which lasted 5 hours and she was not at all fussy for most of it. In Toronto we had to wait 8 hours before our 9:30pm flight. The day was hot and sunny and Arissa was not happy about that. Once in the air conditioned airport she fell asleep on my chest in the BabyBjorn and didnt make a sound until we boarded the plane. That's when our wonderful luck of having a baby who travels really well ended. SHE SCREAMED as if there were no more boobies in the world! When the plane started to take off, a cabin crew came over to tie her into my belt and that just sent her over the edge. She turned brick red and just screamed, no crying just screaming at the top of her lungs only stopping to take a breath. I panicked! They wouldn't let me take her out of the belt at the same time she looked like she was about to stop breathing and I even tried feeding her but couldn't get into position since she kept shaking. She had been crying continuously for a good 25-30 minutes. We even heard people requesting the cabin crew to change their seats. We felt like everyone around us was just giving us dirty looks that said 'why can't you stop your baby's cries?' Finally once we were in the air, I was able to feed her and she chugged the milk down amidst sobs. But she was still not calming down and as soon as I went to burp her she threw up her entire meal. After we changed her she fell asleep in my arms. We put her in the bassinet and it was smooth flying from there. We had our traveling baby back! She slept most of the 13 hour flight and woke up to eat. Once we reached Dubai, we checked into a hotel since we had an 8 hour layover and I was able to give Arissa a bath, feed her and put her to sleep comfortably for a few hours. Our next 5 hour flight to Dhaka was stress-free since Arissa was happy and in order to minimize her ear popping I made sure she was fed during take off and landing. Our little traveler did great and our trips with her have been a terrific bonding experience for all three of us. Here's to hoping her passports will have many more stamps from many more countries in the future and that theses early experiences will help her love traveling and exploring new places like her mommy and daddy.