So, the trip.
The trip was okay. All in all, it could have been a whole lot worse: none of the things I was really worried would happen did happen, and the thing I was worried wouldn't happen, did. Like I said, I'm glad we went, and it was good to see my granny, but traveling with an extremely perky and mobile 13-mo has its drawbacks.
Truthfully, Iyyar did great, all things considered. He did. But the 10-hour flight there with him in my lap trying to scale me like a mountain so he could smile at and flirt with every single passenger in the rows behind us... well. And the daily 50-minute bus rides to and from my grandmothers with him raging and shrieking in frustation weren't really a high point either. While we were at myy granny's, he did fine in the sense that he didn't cry much and actually even napped a couple of times, and had the charm turned on full-blast (and let me tell you, 200-proof Iyyar charm is a thing with which to be reckoned) but as you might imagine a 100-year-old rural Hungarian nursing home is one of the less baby-friendly environments you could come up with. So I felt bad, because at the end of it I felt as though I'd barely talked to my grandmother at all. I mean, I talked to her, but every two sentences I had to interrupt myself or her to pull Iyyar off a drawer, cabinet, tablecloth, cane, walker, or other verboten item. And every time the door was left open, there was the immediate splat-splat-splat sound of little hands and knees making a beeline for the corridor where all those little old ladies were waiting to pinch his cheek and smile at him and tell him how cute he was. The last day we were there, I said I was sorry that we'd barely gotten to talk, but she was glad I'd brought the baby, wasn't she? And she said yes, of course, and we agreed we could always chat on the phone. So.
Among the things for which I must be grateful is that Iyyar did phenomenally well with the time change. The flight over was rough, but he did sleep a few hours, and then stayed awake most of the next day (I think he did pass out in the stroller a couple of times). I put him to bed at around 7 the first night we were there, and other than an hour of screaming at 9 or so he slept straight through till 10 am. I suspected this earlier but I really think that Iyyar wakes up when it gets light much more than he wakes up in response to any internal clock. The hotel room had those typical thick Hungarian blackout shades, and he slept way later than he ever sleeps here. At home he is usually bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5 am, though if I am lucky he will go back in his crib for a little bit after he nurses. Anyone else think I need to get thicker curtains for the boys' room?
I did end up taking the car seat, which I was glad for, because the friend who was supposed to meet me at the airport in Vienna got sunstroke from biking to Slovakia the previous day (this is the kind of thing that happens to her. All the time.) So her sister ran in from work to get me with her van, and it would have been awkward indeed if I hadn't had a carseat. It also came in handy on the way back, which was pretty much the ideal flight with baby. Iyyar got a seat to himself, we were in the bulkhead row, and I don't really remember what he did the whole 10 hours but there was very little crying involved. And we both had food for the flight, which also helped a lot. The whole week in Hungary was spent on a diet of plain yogurt, bread and butter, Twix bars (which, bizarrely, come with an Israeli hechsher in Hungary), and bananas. I got into Vienna at about 3 on Friday afternoon, and assumed that Kosherland (the bigger of the two kosher groceries in the second district) was closed. But I assumed incorrectly. As we were walking down the street (oh, I think that was right after Iyyar choked on a bread crust and vomited yogurt and breastmilk all over every part of himself, his clothes, and the stroller, and I realized I didn't have so much as a tissue in my so-called diaper bag) I spotted a guy with a kippa who, when I went up to him and asked, thought it was still open. And indeed, as we walked up to the corner the store is on the lights were still on. But as I walked up to the door they went off. I pounded on the door and pleaded and the door was opened by the proprieter, who told me sternly, "Funf minuten!" So I raced around in my allotted five minutes and bought pita, hummous, chatzilim salad, smoked turkey, cheese for Iyyar, rice cakes, and, um, gummy wheels. It was the seuda of kings.
Sorry if this is all a little incoherent. The trip was just, well, so incredibly exhausting. You don't really appreciate a baby-proof environment until you are without one and on your own with your kid for a week; every second he wasn't asleep I had to be either holding him or looking right at him, ready to pounce on whatever contraband was on its way into his mouth. Added to the heat and the jet lag and the hunger pangs it got to be a bit wearing. But he was a trouper and really it was all worthwhile seeing my granny read him books about Piglet in Hungarian, and seeing MHH and Barak waiting for us at the gate, and seeing Barak and Iyyar's reaction on seeing each other. To wit, giggles. Lots and lots of giggles. You're back! And I'm back! Woohoo!