My sister recently asked if I had any tips on flying with kids?under two, as we have been daring enough to try it before. Once. I could sense her nerves as she?prepared for her flight to California that was quickly approaching. Her husband, who was already down there for business, anxiously?awaited the arrival of his sweet wife and?their two year old son and 5 month old daughter. In my mind the thought?loomed that there would be no scarier ride at Disneyland than the upcoming flight she was about to take. I told her she was a brave woman and then reminded her about?the fateful day my husband?and I decided to fly with our kids…
We decided to take a quick trip to Disneyland to celebrate?our daughters 2nd birthday. My mother-in-law works for an airline, so we were able to fly stand-by at minimal cost. Little did we know what awaited?us as we left our home on this adventure with?our?2 year old and a 5 month old.
We should have known immediately that this would be no easy task as we began the journey from the car to the ticket counter with both kids, our giant stroller, both car seats and all our luggage. We strapped the kids into the stroller, my husband carried all our luggage and I practiced my Jenga skills by balancing my daughters car seat on top of the stroller as we walked.
Somehow we managed to get all of our gear to the ticket line. Then I realized that the tricky part would be trying to keep my little girl, Lexi, entertained without taking her out of the stroller. This was not easy as Lexi was begging to be held. She had watched me run around the house all morning packing and she was convinced that it was time for someone to pick her up. Travis and I both had our hands full, making it impossible for us to hold Lexi, in addition to everything else.?What does our spunky little redheaded girl do to help us with the situation? Of course, she ends up crying through the line in-spite of the funny faces, noises, and movements that my husband and I were trying to perform?to make her happy.?All of our funny expressions were doing nothing for our daughter, but the rest of the people in line with us were definitely entertained.
We made it to the ticket counter and somehow managed to have all the important documents that were needed. Then came time to weigh the bags. It is amazing how much stuff you need to care for such little ones when you travel. I was praying that the diaper/toy/formula stuffed bag would not be over the weight limit. The stars somehow aligned and luckily it was just under, I must have forgotten something, but at least we didn’t have to pay extra.?We wrestled our kids and?all of our stuff over to the kind airline worker,?where we were?able to hand my daughters car seat and our luggage off. This was wonderful, because now all I had to manage was the stroller with our two kids and my husband could carry all of our carry-on luggage.
We thought it would be smooth sailing the rest of the trip? wrong! The next stop is everyones favorite stop at an airport. Security. I still cringe anytime I have to pass through Security.?When we finally got through the windy line we had to remove our shoes, the kids shoes, our coats, the kids coats, take the infant seat out of the stroller, collapse the stroller, and then put everything up on the conveyer belt and walk through security. This process was especially difficult because Lexi was very attached to her cute shoes. She did not want to take them off and send them through a strange machine. (Insert two year old tantrum and lots of tears here.) After we walked through the security check it was time to put everything back together again.?We had to put our shoes back on, put the kids shoes back on (thank heavens the scary machine did not eat our daughter’s shoes like she thought it would), put our coats back on, put the kids coats back on, set the stroller back up, put the infant seat back in the stroller, load the kids in the?stroller again and get all of our carry-on luggage. It’s at this point that we started to question our adventure and had thoughts of turning back. We were beginning to realize?just how crazy we were for attempting to travel with two kids under age of two, but we made it this far so we pushed on.
Getting through security?had to be the worst part right? Wrong again!
We were flying stand-by so the whole early boarding for people traveling with small children was not really us. We watched everyone board the plane and waited until they called our names from the stand-by list. Yay, we get to board! We confidently roll the stroller down the terminal and unload the kids right before we step on the plane. The trauma of Security had started to wear off and we were feeling optimistic about our trip again. My husband, Travis, gets Lexi out of the stroller and I unbuckle our 5 month old son, Hunter. As I am lifting Hunter out of his car seat I can feel that his back is all wet. Oh, please no!! I turn Hunter around and take a look at his back. Sure enough the green and yellow slime that all parents know too well?has begun creeping up his back. We walk on to the plane and I look desperately at the flight attendant and tell her I need to change him now. She directs me to the
dungeon bathroom at the very front of the plane.
I never realized just how small airplane bathrooms are until this experience. The changing table folds down from the side wall, which is at an angle, so it is like changing your baby in a small triangle area. The combination of a tiny changing table and our baby who is much bigger than the average 5 month old made it feel like the bathroom walls were closing in on us. Of course I had to take all the clothes off of Hunter and dig through the diaper bag for a new outfit. Hunter must have thought the triangle changing table was the bermuda triangle because he starts screaming like he has never screamed in his life! He is such a good baby, but me frantically changing him in such an awkward space was too much for him and he just lost it. My husband was comfortably sitting in his seat with our little girl when the guy next to him leaned over and said, ?Did they bring a pig on the plane or something??. I don?t think my husband claimed the screeching little boy, but as soon as everyone saw his mini-me there would be no doubt who the father was.
Back in the
dungeon bathroom I have managed to change our screaming baby and am ready to start washing out his clothes, but I have pretty much had it. I put the dirty clothes in a plastic bag and throw the outfit in the trash. Good bye outfit. I pick Hunter up and take a look in the mirror. I am sweating like crazy and it looks like a train just ran over me. Then backed up and ran over me again. All nursing Moms can relate to the changes that take place?when your baby is screaming like crazy… awesome! Somehow I manage to take a deep breath and try to focus on the positives before leaving the bathroom. (I couldn’t manage too deep of a breath due to the slime that just came out of my sweet baby that may have caused my nose hairs to singe a little.) Hunter has finally stopped crying now that I have picked him up, probably more from exhaustion than anything else.
I step out of the bathroom, and this flying adventure hits its peak, when I find that the whole plane has boarded and is waiting for us. There I am standing in horror?at the front of the plane with all eyes on me and my baby. So many eyes…it’s amazing what people’s faces can say to you without speaking. Angry eyes, because everyone has been waiting on us. Surprised eyes, shocked that those squealing sounds coming from the front of the plane were from a baby not a pig. Disgusted eyes that say, “Wow! If that is what being a Mom does to your appearance then I am never having children!”. Those are the eyes you quickly glance over as you desperately search for more?compassionate eyes. The calm eyes?that let you know that they have been there before. The reassuring eyes that let you know they survived and so will you. Then I see my favorite pair of eyes, my husbands blue eyes. I can tell that he is trying not to laugh as he winks at me, and without saying anything he lets me know that he loves me and all the crazy in our life. Oh, how I wish I was going to be sitting next to him during this flight! But, unfortunately there are not enough oxygen masks on one row for our family to sit together. And so the search for my seat begins.
I hug Hunter a little closer and start walking down the aisle. The sighs of?relief as I pass row by row are echoing in my ears.?I can see the people in front of me offering up a quick, desperate prayer, ?Please don?t sit by me!?. I am pretty sure this plane had more rows than a standard plane, because this little walk felt like it was taking way too long. Finally I find my row and see a man sitting next to my empty seat. I turn to him and apologetically say, ?Aren?t you glad we get to sit by you??. He smiles at me and says, ?Don?t worry I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old waiting for me at home.? Thank you! Someone who understands this crazy situation. In an instant our luck changed as I realized I?am sitting by one of the few people on our plane that doesn’t mind sitting next to a frazzled?Mommy with a squealing baby!
After this wonderful flying experience, I seriously considered moving to California just?to avoid the plane ride home. After a long rainy day, with an expensive mouse, our kids were exhausted and luckily?the return flight was a breeze.
So, the advice I gave to my sister, “If you are flying with two children under two…TAKE GRANDMA WITH YOU!”
Happy Flying to all of you parents who are daring enough to try flying with little ones after reading this post!