Technically Matthew has been on a plane before, when we brought him back from China, but he was only 21 months old. In my gut, I believed that he would love the plane ride, because he loves motion. Both bus and train rides have been successful. Thank goodness, he did love the plane ride. He was patient about waiting to board the plane and waiting for take off. Right before take off he signed and said "go" (it's his best word!). The other part I was a little worried about was the airport and running, especially on the way back when it would be just me and the kids. But luckily, he stayed right by us while we had to go through security and when we had to wait to board. Maybe it was his backpack that I weighted down with rocks! No rocks...but he did carry his backpack the whole time.
Matthew didn't have any interest in the monuments or museums we visited, but he never cried or whined. He chose to sit on a bench with me at most of the museums. He did a lot of signing for "drive", but I don't blame him because we put in a lot of walking miles! He also signed "swimming" throughout the day. On the second day we visited the Capitol. The security guard was listing off the things that we had to put in a tray to go on the conveyor belt. "Phones, wallets, purses, belts, and tree leaves." I looked at him like, "What?" and then I looked at Matthew and he had a leaf in each hand! On the way out a different security guard interacted with Matthew by repeating the taps Matthew did on his table and gave him a US Capitol Police badge sticker. I would say Matthew's highlights were the swimming pool at the hotel (although it drove him a little nuts to not be able to go in the hot tub - you had to be 16 or older and they had a life guard who was strict about that rule), riding on top of double decker bus, and the carousel on the National Mall. (Oh and maybe watching the sofa sleeper be put up and down each night and morning. Fun times.)
We did have three incidents of running. Three might not sound like a lot (and I guess there could have been more), but because it's so scary when it happens, anything more than zero is too many times. The first time happened when we were leaving a grocery store near our hotel and walking through the parking lot towards the sidewalk. Even though I was holding his hand he managed to break free and run towards a parked car. He attempted to open the door, but luckily it was locked and we caught up to him quickly. The second time happened when we were in front of our hotel, waiting to take the shuttle to the metro station. A car drove up and a family was unloading their suitcases. He made a beeline for the car and was about to get in when Rob caught up to him. As I mentioned in Message to Snarky Woman at the Park, when Matthew is attracted to something he will run with blinders on and without regard for danger. He does NOT stop no matter how loud you are yelling for him to stop.
The third incident still kind of freaks me out because it just reinforces for me how fast things can happen. Matthew and I were heading out for just a short while and I turned to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Matthew was right behind me, but when I turned around he wasn't there. We were at the end of a long hallway, so even if he had run, I would at least still be able to see him. It was almost as if he had vanished into thin air! Just then an elderly man across the hall opened his door and said something to the effect of "Hey buddy..." and sure enough there was Matthew...inside someone else's room! It took awhile for my heart rate to go back to normal.
I don't like to be a pessimist, but I kind of already knew that sleeping through the night was going to be a problem. In I Love You...Bye Bye, I was pleasantly surprised when he slept through three out of four nights at my sister's cabin. At my sister's cabin we had our own separate area and sleeplessness would only effect Matthew and me. But when you are staying in a hotel and Matthew can't sleep...it can wake everyone up! And there is always the fear that we will wake up people in other rooms. Maybe not from Matthew, but rather Abby's loud insistence, "MATTHEW, BE QUIET!!!!!!!!!"
He slept through the night two out of the four nights. The first night he woke up at about 3:30 am and he never went back to sleep. Matthew and Abby were sharing the pull out sofa sleeper, but we had him join us in our bed when it was apparent he wasn't going back to sleep anytime soon. Our bed was not the best choice, because he couldn't resist tapping the headboard. Finally, I gave up hopes of him sleeping, but I still had hopes for the rest of us. I gave him my phone to watch YouTube videos of bouncy houses. We did not have free wifi in our rooms (I know, crazy right?), so in these wee morning hours of video watching he ran through all my data streaming. We got two text notifications that they would add 1 GB of of data for $10, but of course we didn't see the notifications because he was using the phone.
The third night we were there, he was so tired and he asked to go to sleep. I was a little worried, because it seemed early for him to go to bed at 7:30 pm even though that would be a normal bedtime for him at home. I guess I was right to worry as he was awake at 11:30pm! I ended up switching places with Abby so that maybe she would get some sleep. Things that might not sound loud in the light and noise of the day, can be super loud in the quiet of the night (i.e. clapping, fiddling with the metal part of the sleeper sofa, and tapping on the top of a Starbucks cup). It defies logic, but the two nights that he slept through the night were also the two days that he took a late afternoon nap. You would think that taking a late nap like that would screw up his sleep pattern, but I guess the naps were just making up for the lost sleep from the nights before.
Despite there being some bad and some ugly, we will take another family vacation. Maybe we could find a museum that Matthew would like...I hear they have a vacuum museum in North Canton, Ohio!