We travelled to Portugal recently and I was well prepared for travelling with a 6 year old. The days of sitting, relaxing with a book are a distant memory. It’s all about keeping him amused. It was a very early morning start for us,which saw Monkey loaded in the car with a pot of Cheerios (he only eats them dry) as we headed up the motorway before even the birds had started their dawn chorus.
He still loves his Trunkisaurus case so he had that as his hand luggage. It certainly keeps him amused when queueing and makes him feel grown up now he can carry it too.
Going through Security Control has always been a bit tricky with Monkey. He always travels with a teddy or two, even now, and hates putting them in a tray to go through the scanner. Then of course he has to walk through the scanner by himself. It’s always ended in tears. But this time, he coped well. He let his teddies go without an issue and was far better at walking through the scanner than on previous trips. Still room for improvement.
It’s a bit of a ritual that we have breakfast at the airport. We all like Giraffe, so we headed there are normal. Last time we flew Monkey really wasn’t interested in eating anything, and just had some milk. This time he enjoyed sausage and scrambled egg with a bit of toast with his morning drink. He ate pretty much all of it too. What a difference a year makes. He’s also become far more interested in colouring in lately, it was lovely to watch him getting stuck in as we waited for our food.
Before we knew it, it was time to go to our boarding gate. Excitement levels mounted as Monkey could spot one plane after another. Which was ours?
Monkey’s always wanted to sit in the middle seat of the three on boarding, which works well as far as I’m concerned. Daddy P can help to keep him amused. I always have plenty of things for Monkey to chew on as we take off and land, along with a drink. Anything to help his ears adjust to the changing air pressure. Life is so much easier now he actually understands why I’m asking him to swallow constantly. When he was smaller I used to carry sachets of Calpol with me, just in case he found it all a bit too painful. This time around he had no problems at all, and a drink would probably have sufficed.
Once we’re up in the air and heading for the clouds the fun normally begins. I normally trawl the pound shops before we travel, collecting sticker and activity books, colouring books, small toy cars etc and then bring these out at regular intervals during the flight, mindful to have packed some in my case for the return flight. I also buy a few new books to keep him entertained for a while.
This holiday was different. Whereas before Monkey’s attention would switch quickly from one thing to another, on this trip he was focussed. He talked to Daddy P about how the plane was flying and all sorts of aviation techy things. Then he’d pick up an activity book and actually complete one activity after another. When we flew home, we asked to sit by the window, and spent ages looking out at the world below. Mummy, I’m not scared to look out any more. I’d taken a big notepad with us, and he spent ages drawing pictures. Flying with Monkey was a totally different experience on this occasion. The journey literally whizzed by and he didn’t get bored at all.
In fact, the games and most of the activities I’d packed to keep him entertained weren’t used at all, all holiday. There just wasn’t a time when I needed them. We’re not a really techie family,I had packed my iPad just in case we’d run out of every other form of entertainment, but again, it didn’t get logged into once.
I was so proud of Monkey, landing at Faro was a new experience for all of us. We played spot the cases on the carousel and Monkey always helps Daddy P retrieve them and load up the trolley.
We normally go through Carjet to organise our hire cars, using Gold Car at the destination. They are cheap, but the downside is it always takes ages before you actually have your hands on the car keys and are ready to go. We were all tired, it was hot (yes, no complaints there) and we were anxious to get going. Granny and Gramps had driven over from Spain and were already at the hotel. But Monkey coped better than I did to be honest. He would walk between the two of us – Daddy P in the queue and me with the cases, keeping us both amused as we waited.
Once safely ensconced in the car, we found the right road to Silves and headed off. I thought Monkey might fall asleep, not a chance. He was having none of that. Adventures lay ahead and he wasn’t going to miss a moment.
When it was time to come home again, he was insistent that he helped Daddy P load the car up with the cases. I want to help Mummy. He’s growing up. The flight home went as well as the flight out, and for the first time Monkey asked to sit by the window. Mummy I’m not so scared of heights now, I’d like to look out and see what’s happening. He chatted away, as looked at the views below us.
We talked about our adventures by the seaside and in the mountains. We talked about sunshine and clouds. When he wasn’t chatting away, he was drawing. Drawing his memories of the trip. As we started our decent into Birmingham, he began a running commentary, I think he’s angling for a job with Monarch myself. He kept us amused and the passengers around us thought he was a star. This from the shy little boy who rarely says boo to a goose!
Travelling with a 6 year old was so much easier than when he was younger. So much so that I’ve decided we’d be ok as a double act and I’ve booked flights for the two of us to visit Spain next month. Let’s hope he’s a good travelling companion then too!