Friday, May 15, 2009

How To Survive in the Airport Jungle

It's inevitable - flying with children. Flying with two young children ... alone ... is just plain crazy.

Here's what I learned:

1. Bring a "helper". If you ask at the ticket counter you can get a special pass for anyone who wants to help you get the kid(s) through security. All they need is their driver's license and they can go through security and down to the gate with you.

Mark helped me on the way there, and they let both of my parents go down with me when flying home.

2. If you have a child that eats non-perishable finger goods (i.e. goldfish, pretzels, puffs) bring lots of them! Get about 4-5 ziplock bags (sandwich size) and fill them with different snacks. When Hayden started to get grumpy, Tada! I'd throw some snacks his way to distract him.

This works best if they are favorite snacks that they haven't eaten recently.

3. Buy some new cheap toys. I scoured HEB for toys before I left. Toys Hayden had never seen before. I got little plastic dinosaurs, a special coloring pad and markers that only colored on the special paper, a chalk board, a toy cell phone, and a tiger/panther set of animals with moveable limbs. All these were very compact toys, easily tucked away in a diaper bag.

I put the different toys in separate plastic bags and pulled each out as he started to get fussy.

4. Don't participate in the in-flight beverage. You're just asking to get a drink spilled on you or your innocent neighbor.

5. Do look pathetic while waiting for everyone to board - maybe no one will sit with you. Chances are with 1 or more small children no one will anyway. Sitting closer to the back of the plane will most likely ensure this unless the flight is full.

6. You may just have to wait on that dirty diaper. Casually imply that your baby is just farting. There's no way you'll be able to wrangle a toddler while changing a diaper in the airplane bathroom.

7. Laugh off rude passengers. After flight attendant stupidly offers an "aisle" seat next to you and rude old man says - Kids? Oh no...I've raised my kids, try to laugh it off by saying - I wouldn't sit by me either - no worries.

8. Sit close to "grandma" types. They may just offer to trade up their seat to sit with you in hopes of getting some baby time. Which means "free" time for you, er, well distract Hayden time for me.

9. Bring your own baby food. You won't be able to find it at the airport. But they do have diapers. I ended up feeding Corbin a yogurt parfait.

10. You can survive anything for 2 hours. At least that's what I tell myself. Be sure to limit your travel to short intervals. By 1 hour 30 minutes Hayden was about to jump out of his seat. It was all I had to keep him entertained that last 30 minutes.

11. Bring a portable DVD/movie player. I brought my iPod and downloaded Happy Feet before I left. Unfortunately, I didn't check if the headphones were working before I left. If Happy Feet with no sound kept Hayden entertained, think what the full experience could have done!

12. Breathe...just keep breathing.

Photo credit: Ma1974


Gail said...

Was there an open seat for Corbin to snatch? or was he on your lap?

Robyn said...

I haven't tried the airplane thing yet -- just long car rides (Plano and Houston being the longest trips we've taken). You're brave! And, I'm so glad you're home! It was lonely without you.

Amanda said...

First of all, let me just say, I am super duper glad you are back! And that you have once again made me laugh.

I love #6 -- "oh don't's just gas...he's a gassy baby." ha ha! I always wondered how people changed diapers on planes. I think I still wonder since I can't imagine doing it in the bathroom. I can barely get in there myself let alone with a kid to maneuver a change.

And I agree with Robyn. You are very brave!