We just arrived home from a week of “vacation.”* We took an airplane to get where we were going. Luckily, it was only an hour-long flight.
I’m in awe of parents who take babies and very young children on cross-Atlantic flights. Those moms and dads must know some secret I was never told. Or maybe the whole family drugs up on Gravol.
This trip was a huge treat because my husband came with us. I had back-up for a full seven days. I wasn’t outnumbered for a whole week!
Murphy’s Law seems to kick in whenever I take my children anywhere. Apparently going on an airplane is no exception. Here are some of the highlights:
- I purposely booked our Westjet flight for midday so we wouldn’t need to rush to get to the airport on time. My five-year-old son was up at 4:30 a.m. anyways, ready to leave. We ended up rushing around at the last-minute too.
- I gave the kiddies a treat in the airport (popcorn from Starbucks) to keep them from begging for the (super cool, very exciting!) airplane snack the minute we boarded the plane. My 23-month-old daughter spilled the bag of popcorn all over the airport floor and then started eating it. My son asked for the airplane snack the minute his seatbelt was buckled up.
- In a lovely moment of sibling harmony, my son grasped his sister’s hand as we boarded the plane. Unfortunately, she tripped and nose-dived through the door. We entered the plane with a howling toddler, making every other passenger so very excited to welcome us on board.
- I set my son up with headphones and the in-flight TV as soon as possible. The minute he put the headphones on he started yelling at me (without realizing it) because the previous passenger had turned the volume up to max.
- My daughter travelled on my lap. She flies free until she turns two. She is very tall for her age. As soon as we sat down the guy in front of us reclined his seat as far back as humanly possible. We got the last laugh when my daughter started kicking and pushing on his seat later in the flight.
- Both our departing and return flights were in the middle of nap time. Naturally, my daughter waited to fall asleep until the plane landed, giving her a ten minute nap; thus insuring no real nap that day.
- After giving her plenty of run-around time at home and in the airport, my daughter had not had a dirty diaper all day. Of course the lovely incident happened after the plane had taken off and right when the flight attendants pushed the drink carts into the aisle. Any mother who has travelled knows that the “change table” in an airplane is the size of a cutting board and only works for babies who are a month or two old. My husband and I made the very poor decision to “just wait until we land” to change our daughter. Lucky for us, there was another baby across the aisle. The dirty looks we got about the nasty smell emanating from our row? We just shrugged our shoulders, glanced pointedly at the other baby and rolled our eyes. 😉
*Vacation is in quotation marks because anyone who has travelled with small children (and without grandparents) knows it is anything but.
My memories of this day are hazy. My daughter was a few months old, not sleeping very well at night and my son was three and a half and restless.
The equilibrium of his family and all that was normal to him was rocked by the arrival of his long-awaited baby sister. He thrived on any time spent alone with me, even though I was so sleep-deprived all I wanted to do was curl up and “sleep when the baby sleeps.” (Ha! What a joke that is when you have an older child who has outgrown his nap!)
It was a beautiful early fall day and our baby was finally sleeping. We cracked open the door to throw out the recycling and my boy spotted the empty diaper box; a box of great potential. We threw it on the grass, inspected it and headed in to get tape and scissors. An airplane was born.
One of the traits I appreciate so much in children is their creativity. All they need is a little time, some tape, scissors and (sometimes) a parent’s hand to bring their ideas to life. We are so busy scheduling playdates & lessons and making sure we choose the right schools, the right playgroups, the right friends. More important than all of those things is our time, even when we’d rather be curled up under warm blankets in blissful sleep.
I refuse to join Pinterest because I’m sure there are perfect airplanes on there that parents have designed for their children, not with them. I’d rather be my son’s hero-with-a-diaper-box than feel inferior because some supermom recreated the Wright brothers‘ plane and posted the pictures online. 🙂
You may be interested in: http://www.carlhonore.com/books/under-pressure/
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