Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back from the Happiest Place on Earth!!!

B had her first Disney adventure this week! We stayed in Tokyo for three days, two nights, and I am very happy to report that she did AWESOME!!! We even tried a new version of a safe food-- pears in a fruit cup, rather than a homemade puree. She seemed to do fine with them initially, but I think they were still a little too firm for her, so she did not eat that many. However, it is good to know that we have them as an option just in case we are in a tight spot. (Although we now have enough frozen pears to last us until we move at the end of June, due to my pear puree craze the last two weeks or so, when I realized that the asian pears were going out of season and the grocery stores were going to stop selling them any day. They don't carry produce that isn't in season here. Talk about pear PANIC!!!!)

So in light of our vacay, and since it has been a topic coming up with other parents, I thought I would describe how we traveled safely, reaction and (relatively) stress free. Our trip took about 2 hours to reach Tokyo (via train, several transfers and a little bit of walking). I love our public transportation-- it is truly fabulous here, even with the language barrier. We ride the train a lot (3 or more times a week typically) so nothing new there--- I always bring a sippy of water and a little bento box with Kix and B's cookies, and now Corn Chex too. Since I breast feed, I also bring along all of those supplies (haha). The sling is great for riding the train, since not all of the stations have elevators and some don't even have escalators. Also, B has a love hate relationship with the stroller, so it helps to have options. We occupy her on the train mostly with books and other quiet toys, since trains here are relatively quiet. Japanese "grandmas" tend to like my daughter as well, so every now and then one will come along and "talk" with B and occupy some time.
Our hotel was awesome--- Grand Pacific Le Daiba Tokyo--- and it was right on the water with an amazing city view of the Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower, and more! Service was excellent and the room was decent sized-- there was plenty of room for the pack and play as well as a nice play space. Important things for the hotel with an FPIES kid: For us, it was fairly easy since we don't have to heat anything up. We just needed a place with a fridge for storing her fruit. Everything else she eats (cookies, chex, muffins and kix) I just brought prepacked in small plastic containers and ziploc bags. I am quite confident however, that if we would have needed to heat something, we could have used one of the hotel's microwaves somewhere though I don't know how convenient if would be. . . Anyways, had we needed a way to heat something, we would have looked for a hotel with a microwave or partial kitchen. Marriot residence inns stateside are usually fairly reasonable. I also packed everything in a tote bag insulated to keep foods frozen--- after being in the bag for 3+ hours, the pear cubes had only started to soften. Yay! I also packed the fruit cups (just pears) as back up, mostly for Disney. We also got a hotel near to some grocery stores, which I would also recommend, if you don't want to pack all of your food.

We did not experience any trouble packing our food for any of the restaurants (of course) although we did not get to try and see if they could prepare something for B there. (I really wanted to try this at Disney but the day got away from us!) Disney was a great day! It was about a 30 minute train ride and again, we brought all of the food we needed-- no trouble bringing it into the park. I did, however, bring her medical letter about FPIES in case we were questioned. For next time though, if we go to a similar place before leaving Japan, I will make sure I visit the translator before going so I can have all of the info in Japanese as well. So my recommendations if you are visiting or living somewhere where you DON'T speak the primary language, don't assume, just bring a translated letter with you. I also have a document that has a few simple Japanese phrases on it that state in Kanji and romanji that my daughter has FPIES and is extremely allergic to rice, sweet potatoes, avocados, peaches, apples, blueberries, carrots and zucchini (I include even the foods that produce smalled FPIES rxns just on the safe side.) That way, if there is a question at a restaurant or otherwise (if we had to go to the Japanese hospital, heaven forbid) we would at least have a few helpful phrases. I would also recommend this if you are visiting or living somewhere where you don't speak the country's primary language.

Anyways, B actually go to ride some rides (small world, the tea cups and the merry go round)!!! She loved them and actually cried when we had to leave the tea cups and the "horsies!!!!" No motion sickness here! Another compliment about Tokyo Disney-- their services for babies and young children are awesome!!! They had these Baby Centers throughout the park that each had a series of rooms within the center. There was a nursing lounge, with private areas (I counted 20!!!!) with a comfy armchair, table for a drink or your bag and a curtained door for privacy. There was an attendant at the door to make sure that it was ladies and babies only and that it stayed very quiet. Another room was for changes and there were several changing tables, large wash sinks and another very friendly attendant. When you change the diaper, the attendant actually throws it away FOR you!!!! Everything was meticulously clean and so kid friendly! The third room was like a large kitchen and it had multiple tables and chairs and highchairs for feeding your LO. Again, there was an attendant present to help with whatever. The whole area was back far enough from the surrounding attractions so that it was super quiet and calm, just the sounds of lullabies piped in! LOVED the baby centers!!! There was also a great toddler park that was partially fenced in and had a soft patterned ground (some kind of rubber ground maybe?) and several soft brightly colored animals and shapes for climbing on. B had a blast climbing on the animals and going through little tunnels in the shapes. She definitely was practicing her walking (and getting pretty speedy at some times she was so excited!) and really enjoyed climbing. It was yet another thing we had to drag her from in the end! She was so tired, she passed out right afterwards, when we were on the Small World ride!

Everything (rides included) was so clean and safe for a LO and we would definitely go back if we could. I have also heard that Disney is a great place for making accommodations for FA kids, so I am sure we will visit again in the future, if not in Tokyo, then somewhere else.

So in summation, if travelling with an FPIES kid or any kid, do your research in advance, bring your tools (premade food or food processor and cooking equipment), research research research your hotel, and don't be afraid to test a few limits with your LO (outside of food, of course). I never thought my B would do so well with such a crazy schedule and so many changes from her norm, but she LOVED the experience. Yes, we had our meltdowns, but overall, it was completely worthwhile to see her having so much fun exploring the world around her, whether on the train, at Disney, or just bopping around Japan on her Daddy's shoulders or in Mama's sling.

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