My poor little blog. Once upon a time, my only creative sanctuary while I mourned my work self, now neglected as life gets chaotic. For those who don’t know me outside the world of the internet, life has been busy, chaotic, massively stressful of late. We finally bought our family home, but we bought it before we sold our current place. The last month has been chaos as we emptied our house twice a week, cleaned up around baby and navigated the fun that is having your house on the market with a toddler. I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s another blog in there at some point, but I refuse to write about it until I have an ending. At the moment, that is yet to come. Add to that an extra chaotic time at work, with public holidays making my four-day weeks into three (when did I start dreading public holidays?!) and family over from overseas (not that that’s a bad thing, but it adds to the situation when you can’t focus your attention on your guests) and you can imagine the fun I have been to be around. It’s no wonder I found myself blind drunk the other night off not a great deal of wine. Sigh!  Anyway, this is not what today’s blog is about, but I felt I owed you, my reader, an explanation for my absence of late. I’m hoping to find my blogging groove again when life feels a little less like an uphill battle in a hurricane.

So … somewhere in all this fun hubby and I booked a trip to Fiji – with little miss of course! It was our first family holiday since Europe 10 months ago, and I tell you right now the difference between a 23-hour flight with a 10-month-old and a five-hour flight with a 20-month-old is enormous. For those who aren’t there yet, the latter is the scarier prospect … by far!  At 10 months old missy was not mobile. She would happily sit on your knee, and napped a couple of times a day. She only cried when she was uncomfortable, and she was fairly easily entertained. Fast-forward 10 months and we now have a child who is a determined little being. Temper tantrums aren’t uncommon, and sitting still? No chance! So, I was terrified of the trip. Unlike some toddlers, my child is not sated by television, nor is she capable of happily doing anything for more than 15 minutes at a time. Hubby and I were suddenly faced with 20 blocks of time to fill. Terrifying!

Related: How to survive a flight with a baby

So, my tips for those about to embark on a similar venture? Here they are – keeping in mind we haven’t made the trip home yet. I may come back to this at a later point begging for forgiveness, but here we go:

Plan, plan, plan

I’m an anti-TV parent (yes, I’m one of those people). However, when faced with a five-hour torture ride flight you will do anything to get through it. So, when Mum told me that missy likes the occasional episode of Peter Rabbit (yup, that’s right, Gran doesn’t follow the rules!) hubby and I jumped on it, encouraging an episode before bed, and developing a habit that would give us our first 15 minutes of distraction. Success!  Actually, this worked twice so I was quite happy with that.

You might also like: How to handle hotel rooms with a toddler

Bring new things

There was no way missy was going to be distracted by any of her old toys, certainly not the ones that didn’t make any noise, and I wasn’t going to be that person on the plane. So, before we left I hit the Reject Shop (no need to spend a bomb) and bought all sorts of fun things, stickers, crayons, colouring books, play-dough and, the crème de la crème, two Matchbox cars. Not only did these work for the plane, but they were the gift that keeps on giving, coming out with us every night to happy hour in the sunset bar (a mumma still has to have a drink on holiday!).

Food, glorious food

I always pack a ridiculous amount of food for little guzzle guts. The kid can eat more than I can. For the plane, I packed all the favourites – grapes, strawberries, cheese – interspersed with special goodies like yoghurt in a pouch, which is a massive novelty!  Thank goodness I did, because that infant ticket doesn’t come with a  meal of its own. Can you imagine that crazy scenario? Anyway, the food proved a fantastic distraction. Grapes were particularly good left on the stalk as they sucked up even more “distraction” time!

The trusty ol’ pouch

Last time I wrote about travelling with a baby, I couldn’t speak highly enough of the pouch. Well, here I am again. Missy is only a wee 11 kilograms, so I can still get away with the pouch, and thank goodness for that. Napping on a plane is not easy for a 20-month-old, and after much writhing and a little bit of crying I popped her in the pouch and jiggled her up and down on the spot. In moments she was asleep. The pouch wins again.

I’m sure I’ll have more to share once the holiday has concluded and we have taken the leg back. Until then my reader …

Next up: Things I didn’t think I’d do before I had a toddler