12 hours. Solo parent. 3 kids.

July 2016

Yooooo guys. We are home! For the summer holidays.

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Before we stepped into our pristine-looking Terminal 3, Changi Airport, I had the adventure of the month. I travelled with my three little ones, aged 5, 3 and 9 months on a 12 hour flight to Singapore. Maybe it might not sound much of a feat to some of you. For me, it was an achievement!

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My 12 hours on flight with them, felt like the longest 12 hours of my life. To be exact, it was not just 12 hours. It was 1.5 hour of travel to Heathrow + 2 hours of checking in and a long walk to our departure gate + 12 hours of flight + 45 minutes of getting our luggage. Cray-cray!

I suppose it did not help that the two kids were not seated next to me. They were an aisle away. Hmm…

1st hour on the flight:
Fiddled with the children’s ear pieces that SQ gave to the little ones. Tried to fit the ear muffs for the headphones. Could not put them on properly. Passed them to stewardess to help. Even they had problems putting the muffs on the head phones. After 10 minutes, they were fitted properly. Returned to the children, helped to put them on, turn on their shows… 5 minutes later…

Ryan: ‘Mummy, the muffs are off the headphones again.’

Gillian:’ Mine too…’

Me:  ‘You just got to watch your shows with the adult ear piece’

Ryan and Gillian tried to use the adult ear pieces but could not put them properly in their ear as the ear pieces were too big. Started whining again but stopped when they realised not much could be done. I decided that I could not be too considerate to all their requests as it would just be too much for me.

2nd hour on the flight:
‘Are we there yet?’ Ryan asked.
‘No, Ryan. It is another 11 more hours to go.’

Deep down, I knew it will be the start of the painful endless questioning of ‘Are we there yet?’

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Gillian fell asleep.

3 air stewardess, 1 air steward and at least 2 passengers came to me and asked if I was travelling alone with 3 kids. My affirmation seemed to be a source of consternation. They offered their assistance to me should I need them. Such wonderful people on the flight.

3rd-11th hour on the flight were a blur to me. Endless toilet trips while carrying Baby Megan. I could have asked for help from the stewardess but it seemed that Baby Megan only wanted me. Had to bend over many times to select cartoons for the children. Made 7 bottles of 4 oz milk for Baby Megan. Threw 2 bottles away. Explained to the children that we would be arriving Singapore really soon if they were good. Ate my meals while carrying Megan in one arm. Children complained that they could not sleep properly/comfortably in their seats. Comforted them and told them that it won’t be long before we reached. Tried to stay positive and felt a tinge of regret travelling alone with 3 of them. Played with Baby Megan while she was in the bassinet. The small bag of baby toys that I brought alone was helpful as it kept her entertained for short bursts. Baby Megan was very popular with the passengers on the flight, many of them remarking what a cheerful baby she was.

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Final hour on the flight. I said a prayer of thanks. Initially, I thought I would have wanted to wait for everyone to clear the plane before leaving. But in the end, together with the children, we joined the queue, in full anticipation to leave the plane. I must have felt combination of exhaustion, desperation, excitement and claustrophobia. I was literally  running towards the baggage carousel with the children. Getting our 3 heavy luggage from belt was another challenge. Fortunately, there was a kind lady who assisted us with that. 🙂

Overall, it was a successful plane ride with the kids. Megan possibly cried like 5-10 minutes of the entire journey. The kids were pretty sensible and there were no tantrums. Just multiple trips to the toilet which were disagreeable when you are carrying a baby in one of your arms. Thankfully, no one fell ill during the trip. Gillian spilled one cup of water. They ate most of their food. All three children had short naps on the flight.

Will I travel again with 3 kids? Yea, if there is a need to. I would. Anyways, this experience would not be replicated since the kids will be older when the opportunity arises again. By then, I imagine it would be easier, wouldn’t it?

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