Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Vacation" with a toddler

Last month, we flew with Andrew to California for Christmas to visit family. Even before having children, I had always imagined we would continue to travel once we had them. Vacations with kids must be fun, I had always thought. Wrong. Although the trip itself was fun, I would not call it so much a "vacation" as a "trip."

I had seen all of those adorable picture of people's babies looking out of airplane windows, and assumed it must be a piece of cake. Those babies always looked so happy, and their parents so relaxed.

Wrong. I now think those pictures are a (very) small glimpse as to the real goings on of the plane ride.

Looking at this picture, you would imagine Andrew was a perfect angel on the flight. Not quite...

What unfolded for us on the airplane was neither relaxing nor fun. However, I think we will now be better equipped and prepared to fly with Andrew (and his sister once she arrives) in the future.

So, here you are. Some of my tips for flying with small children- unless of course, yours are not as active as mine:

1) Buck up and buy the kid their own seat. Even if they are under two. Trust me, it will worth it to keep them contained. We instead bought two first class seats and assumed we would have enough room. While the space was okay in first class, Andrew knew he could move around. He constantly wanted out of the seat and to talk to others around the plane. Or he was kicking the seat of the people in front of us.

At least, had he been buckled in, he would have  been more content. He also might have actually fallen asleep.

Seriously. This first tip is probably the most important.
I should have known this active guy would NOT want to sit still for 2.5 hours.

2) Drink on the plane if you can. Or before. Or both. Unfortunately, I was unable to imbibe due to my condition, but I certainly was eyeing Adams cocktail with envy. If I had a couple glasses of wine in my system, I may have found the whole situation amusing, but instead I was annoyed and grouchy. And uncomfortable.

3) Make sure your electronics work prior to take off. Ours didn't. This meant plans of Andrew watching "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" were down the drain. Instead, I got to walk up and down the aisles with him and stand by the bathrooms for about half an hour.

4) If your toddler is a fan of whole milk, fill up prior to boarding. Most planes don't carry whole milk and only a small quantity of 2%. I used those containers of milk Starbucks leaves out by the condiments (because the line was about 50 people long).

5) Provide little treats for them to open during the flight. My mom packed Andrew a bag with little snacks and toys. He liked opening the packages. Just be careful- if you have a "thrower" like he is, you may end up with toys being chucked at unsuspecting passengers.

6) Bring a stroller on the plane. You can "gate check" them right before you board. Even if your toddler normally doesn't enjoy them. Its nice to race through the airport without having to carry them. Especially if it is busy, as it was when we were flying.

7) Be prepared for screaming on decent. I wish I had known about toting some suckers along for this...Andrew screamed the entire time we were landing because his ears hurt and he didn't know how to pop them. It was horrible and all I could do was hold him while he wailed away...

So, basically our flight was horrible. However, Andrew did enjoy the rest of his vacation. He loved the beach and going to Disneyland and being able to hang out outside in the SUN in December!

Next time we will be more prepared, so we start our travels off on the right foot. Although, I know that the trips we take will no longer be as relaxing as they once were, they still certainly make for great memories we will talk about for years to come!