Our last couple of nights saw us journey to Paerata, an area chosen for its proximity to the airport while keeping us well away from the boundaries of Auckland. We stayed in a bed and breakfast on a cattle farm, and were gifted by the owners with fresh fruit from their trees which included passion fruit (delicious). Its so exotic to see all this tropical fruit just casually growing here as common as apple trees at home. We received some recommendations from Lou, our host, and while we did not have time to hike the areas she mentioned, we did take a few hours to explore Humu falls, and dip our toes in the pool below it.
Harry, I tried all trip to capture a photo of you in your latest Pomona Pants (above), (They are called “little hipsters” and come in a custom-fabric lined cuff that Meghan at Project Pomona designed. These, and other pants of this style can be found at http://www-projectpomona-com.myshopify.com?rfsn=1012071.b94f73).
I had visions of all sorts of cool pictures of you adventuring New Zealand in your trendy pants, but it never seemed to work out. First, the shoes we brought that matched the cuff-colours were kicked off while mountain-biking, and only one was recovered. The thrift-store replacements do not exactly compliment the colour scheme.
Secondly, we are in a stage where dirt and food are attracted to you at an alarming rate, and unless the perfect opportunity presents in the first hour of being dressed, stains are a given. This was my final attempt before throwing in the towel on a Pomona Photo shoot while on our trip. This filthy, clashing bundle of joy is feeling all-the-emotions at the end of the day, and having NONE of my photo-taking attempts. Happy times at Humu falls!
I felt that the home-bound journey went better than I ever imagined it would be.
The crew-member who checked us in swapped me to a bulkhead seat so we’d have more room, and access to a bassinet. Your Dad was seated nearby, and almost managed to join us after my neighbour was offered an upgraded seat, however some very late-comers eventually showed up, and forced him to reclaim his original seat. We then had a neighbour on my other side offer to switch with Matt, rationalizing that when he and his wife used to fly with their kids, the bulkhead seats were the ones they had enjoyed also. We definitely benefitted from peoples kindness and consideration in what is an often challenging setting! We were seated near the toilets, which worked well since you were highly entertained by the coming and going of the other travellers, and you made friends with everyone who’s eye you managed to catch. You napped well, and settled into bedtime and slept solidly through the night in our arms. I was able to find and finish the movie that I’d started three weeks ago but not been able to finish.
We wound up caught in what seemed like a heated disagreement between two stewardesses over the use of the bassinet. We were approached at the beginning of the flight, and read a “riot act” about letting you crawl around in the bulkhead space. To clarify you had not actually done so, and were sitting on my lap, but this was more a “warning”. This stewardess stated her bit and we agreed, and she proceeded to repeat her original statement three more times, as though we had not already agreed to her request (This stewardess in particular also had incredibly heavy, uneven eyeshadow, and a large volume of lipstick on her teeth, which given the scenario I only found more irritating).
You were over the allowable weight limit for the bassinet to be installed on the wall, but a cheerful and nice stewardess brought it out anyways, recommending it be put on the ground in front of us. Queue the original stewardess’ return and question why the bassinet was on the ground, further, her insistence on mounting it to the wall stating “we can’t use it for the baby, but we can put things in it”.
This initiated several interactions of go between where each of these stewardesses would claim their more accurate knowledge of the rules, and as instructed each time, Harry was held in our arms, then placed in the bassinet, then held, then encouraged to return to the bassinet, and ultimately just held the remainder of the flight, with each of the employees claiming the other “didn’t know what she was talking about”. It was incredibly confusing, and irritating for us, and while I really want to know what the official airline’s stance is, I feel like the crusty stewardess was probably right regarding it as a safety hazard. It seems unlikely that an airline would officially allow an unsecured bassinet just “placed” on the ground with a baby in it, and I fear that asking or complaining at this point might bring enough attention to regulations to wreck that opportunity for future travellers.
We again wound up with an empty seat from L.A. to Portland for you to sit between us. You are now a seasoned pro at napping on the go, and we know to take advantage of every opportunity to exercise you if you might soon be cooped up. Your final nap started as we boarded our Spokane-bound plane, and you woke up as we began our descent. At this point we had all been travelling for 24 hours, and you had gone that entire stretch with no meltdowns. I don’t think I have ever appreciated your good behaviour as much as I did that day. You’re a pro, and made the last bit of our trip -including the flights- downright enjoyable (I can’t believe I’m using the words “flight” and “enjoyable” in the same sentence in reference to travelling with a baby).
I felt like the last week of our trip we had really hit our stride. Naps fell perfectly during drive-times, or you adapted to naps enough that we could be in the same room doing things while you slept. We got you moving enough to compensate for the times where you needed to be strapped into something, and while nighttime was usually interrupted 2-5 times, we managed. There were definitely times we asked what we’d gotten ourselves into, but we made memories I will cherish forever.