We'd initially booked an 8-day holiday. But when that was almost up, we decided we were having too much fun relaxing and since Emily had taken so well to the heat and the holiday in general, we should extend by a few days. So we did.
And then all too soon, it was time to go home. And I had to pack. I hate packing. And when in Malta, we somehow end up with far more to take back up with us than we came down with (there's always the "oh yes, I meant to take that up with me five years ago" item...).
On the way down, we somehow managed to keep to our weight limit. Entirely unexpectedly, of course - I was sure we were a good 10kg overweight. But in the end, we stood at the check-in desk feeling like naughty teenagers, the numbers being added up, and we were at 50kg. Exactly our allowance: not a kilo more or a kilo less. We wouldn't have managed it better had we tried.
Considering, we were only 3 or 4kg overweight on the way back and the very kind check-in clerk let it go.
Also, note that Malta International Airport doesn't seem to have any restrictions on baby food. I didn't even need to taste the water in my flask this time round. (When one member of the security team pointed the flask out to her superviser, she got a pat on the back for spotting it on the x-ray machine and we were simply waved through.)
Air Malta, however, have no policy allowing families with children to board first, which is a little bit annoying when your baby is FAST ASLEEP and you know that having to board with the crowds will wake her up. This is something we intend to follow up on, however, as even Ryanair and Easyjet enforce this policy when flying out of Malta. Why not Air Malta?! A letter will be written!
Having said that, we were somewhat relieved to see that the policy is enforced for wheelchair users. We couldn't quite work out how that would otherwise work, not to mention it being entirely unfair.
So she woke up. Thus began the exhausting mental challenge of trying to (quietly) keep a 5-month old entertained while sitting down in a very tight space on an aircraft. It worked for all of four minutes.
Then I tried to give her some water for take-off and got screamed at (by her) as it was not milk. As previously mentioned, her feeds are somewhat predictable but this was completely unexpected. She'd drunk 7oz just 2 hours before! So we quickly threw together another feed and then she was happy.
Dinnertime on the plane involved David eating with two dinners on his tray while I entertained. He then held Emily high up over the trays while I quickly transferred the dinners onto my tray and he continued the entertainment while I ate.
We changed her nappy on our two open trays, with the small of her back over the gap.
I know we could have changed her in the loo, but there was something more fun about our way. Besides, I am the nappy changing queen. I can change a nappy quicker than you can say "she might pee everywhere" (she didn't), and I'm sure no one actually noticed.
And then, right on cue at her bedtime, she fell asleep in my arms, in a seat that was probably the only seat on the entire aircraft that was faulty and couldn't recline *shakes fist*.
An hour later, we landed and got off the plane and she woke up as the pushchair was unloaded and handed to us. And then there were the pretty ceiling lights again and she stared at them and at us with this huge silly grin on her face all the way to passport control.
We weren't worried, we knew she'd fall asleep in the car - and she did.
The next day, she was very obviously thrilled to be home. She seemed to be re-familiarising herself with every toy/piece of furniture/wall in the house with a huge amount of concentration all day.
We did very little else. She needed to catch up on sleep, I needed to catch up on laundry. It worked for us both.
I've got me a great baby.