The Imp could not contain his curiosity through the process of checking our bags, getting our boarding passes, going through security, and customs at YVR. It was great - his constant questions kept him busy and distracted enough that he wasn't too worried about all the strangers and officials in uniform. I'd carefully prepared him in the days leading up to our flight, explaining what was going to happen as best I could. I think that really helped; The Imp can handle almost anything as long as he knows what to expect. (In other words, he is exactly like me.)
|He insisted on carrying his own "suitcase"|
The flight went really, really well. Better than I could have reasonably hoped, actually. I brought stickers, flash cards, writing/drawing stuff, and my iphone. He was so entranced with the whole being-in-a-plane thing that he didn't even start to get antsy for the first hour. During the six hours we were captive in our seats, The Imp enjoyed dry-erase pen/letter writing activity cards, I Spy puzzle cards, and five episodes of the Backyardigans on my phone. And a teaspoon of Gravol - I was the motion-sick kid that puked everywhere we went; I figured preventative measures were entirely appropriate.
He listened really well. He charmed the flight attendants and the other passengers. He flirted with the pretty French-Canadian girls across the aisle from us. The couple of times he got a bit squirmy and wanted to get out of his seat, we reminded him that The Pilot (figure of myth and legend in The Imp's mind) wanted him to keep his seat belt on, which was amazingly effective.
Despite having traveled a lot and knowing the uncomfortable, irritating reality, I still have a slightly romantic notion of the whole process of flying. I can't help but remember how exciting it was when I was a kid: my mom would dress us up in our best clothes, we'd get special treats (like chewing gum), and the flight attendants would give us colouring books and crayons. My first trip to Hawaii, I was about a year older than The Imp is now. It was a Big Deal.
I hope we made it a Big Deal for The Imp, I hope as an adult memories of his childhood travels with us come to him through the same rosy filter I use for mine. But the reality? Ugh.
Air Canada, even on a six hour international flight, doesn't give you a meal unless you pay for it. The options? From Tim Horton's, Quiznos, and the like. Ugh.
The dairy-free options? Exactly two.
Wait for it.
Cup-a-soup style noodles and Pringles.
Sodium and unpronounceables. Awesome. And no ingredient lists for the wraps and sandwiches, so even if I pulled the cheese out of them, there was no telling what was in the bread or spreads used. Gah.
Good thing I'm paranoid. Before the flight, I insisted we buy some kappa sushi, inari, and a package of chopped fresh veggies I spotted at a vendor once we got past security, as a "just in case." The Imp devoured the sushi. I shudder to think what his behaviour might have been like had we filled him full of the chemical stuff.
And, tip for travelers here: carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks are excellent for take off and landing. The Imp's doesn't really get the whole "chew but don't swallow" concept of gum, but chewing on crispy vegetables cleared his ears perfectly - without the adds-to-antsy-behaviour sugar and food dyes in candy. Win!
We got off the plane and were greeted by my aunt and uncle at the airport, with the most fragrant and beautiful puakenikeni leis, including one they'd had especially made Imp-sized. The Imp, whose body clock was telling him it was 11pm, was subdued but polite and happy. I desperately wanted to get a picture of him with his great-aunt and great-uncle and the lei they gave him, but when we put him down in a seat in the airport while we waited for our luggage, he fell into a deep, deep, fire-alarm-has-no-power-against-this sleep almost immediately.
This was the best I could do as he slept in my arms at the car rental counter:
Welcome to Hawaii, Imp. I hope you love it as much as I do.
If you're interested in following our travel adventures on twitter, I've invented the hashtag #SNBNHI (Shall Not Be Named Hawaii) for our travel tweets.