She helpfully points out to the flight attendants which cabin bathroom has the changing table. She’s happy to sit during takeoff and landing, as long as she has a window seat. She knows that the moving walkways at Baltimore-Washington International are way cooler than the ones at, say, Manchester Boston Regional Airport, and has no qualms about telling other people at the gate that they are about to go on an airplane, fast fast, and that we will soon go up-down, up-down.
She also knows that if she holds out, and threatens to create just enough of a fuss, her parents will let her eat salty pretzels and cheese crackers and ice from their sodas and anything-else-just-please-stop-trying-to-get-down-no-you-cannot-run-in-the-aisle.
This many flights with child has also made us better traveling parents. And because of this – and because I am a bit overwhelmed today with nostalgia and the uncomfortable recognition that traveling will soon cost much more – I thought I would share a sampling of the many lessons we’ve learned. You know, as a public service for the other new parents who suddenly find themselves checking in for a weekend flight (oh, those days of carry-ons are way gone) with two suitcases, a Pack 'n Play, a stroller, a car seat, a diaper bag, a crying child, and a dawning sense that this will not be the same as it used to be. Not even close.
So here goes:
1. Give up hope. Those days of catching up on your magazines or pleasure reading in the air? Over. Done. Your airplane ride will not be spent reading or sleeping or working, or even making conversation with that chatty person in 16B. No, those sky hours will be consumed by the child. She will devour them. Meanwhile, you will struggle to stay one step and activity idea ahead as you wonder why this flight is taking so darn long. This all is much easier if you just assume the flight is lost time. And eventually, you might find that you and toddler actually enjoy the rides together
2. Plan. You must have snacks, diapers, and water, and ideally another set of clothing. Maybe this is obvious for most other parents, but I’ve ended up with an angry, hungry, naked child by the end of at least one flight. It’s OK, she survived. But it’s better if you bring the gear. Along with an arsenal of activities more interesting than the in-flight magazine – anything from books to crayons to Post-it notes (awesome).