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Friday, April 15, 2011

Flying with kids under 3 - part 1

I wasn't going to write about my last plane trip with the kids because - it was rotten! But then I realized blogging is not just for the good times, a fellow blogger, Unpolished Parenting reminded me of that. Sometimes this is the best way to learn no one is perfect in the world of parenting.

As many of you already know, I'm a meticulous planner. Bags will be laid out a week before the trip, Excel spreadsheets will list out all items required so as to minimize packing to one carry-on and one purse for an entire Asia trip. Add to that packing for two small children under 3 along with entertainment and plan for transporting both throughout airports and one must have a very clear plan in place.

Except that things can still go very wrong.

I went to bed later than desired because the kids could not seem to get to sleep, they see packed bags and know a trip is coming the next morning. Once they go down I buzz around charging electronics and going through my checklist.

I can't sleep, every snore from husband jolts me further from sleep so I kick him out of the bedroom - that's right! Sorry dear, I only had 4 hours left.

4:30am I wake to a serenely quiet house and get myself completely ready before waking husband and kids at 5:30. One hour seemed sufficient to get everyone out the door but it took more like an hour and 15 minutes, plus running back inside to clean up a doggie accident.

We were a tiny bit late for the airport, down to precisely one hour before flight departure. I can handle this.

We pull into airport parking lot, Charlotte ask for water in a pitiful voice. No water to be found. Airport rules are so complicated, they will test your water but it adds 5 minutes so we always buy it in the airport after security. After minutes of frantically looking for water, she throws up - EVERYWHERE!

5-10 minutes are spent digging out new clothes, stripping her, redressing her, assessing the situation - is she really sick, just nervous, can she fly?, then running for the flight. Now down to 45 minutes before flight departure.

Husband had been requested to get security pass so he can help us get through security (ie. carry stuff) but he's so distracted with kids that he forgets to offer identity to get the pass.

Walking to security I PANIC. I CAN'T DO THIS. Down to 30 minutes before flight boarding and I'm facing a line in security with a stroller, 20lb baby in front pack, backpack, laptop bag and sick two year old. Husband looks me in the eye and says, you CAN do this. Go.

I immediately look for the shortest line and follow a wheelchair couple, only it's confusing because they don't end up at their own special line and they are taking scads of time to work into a longer line. I stand there, right in the middle of a long line of which I'm not officially part of until a kind gentleman says hey get in front of me, and even helps get all my stuff on the conveyor belt! In all this, Charlotte has not once run off, she STAYS in the stroller!

We get through security without problems, repack, stop at bathroom for self and convince Charlotte to get out of stroller so I can put Sam down to use toilet. Stop at store for water and we are the last to board the plane with bags attached to my body in strange angles. The first class flight attendant tells me to fix my bags so they don't hit people in the face. Um really? How about helping me to my seat lady? I still have a 20lb baby attached to my front, backpack and laptop bag + 2 year old walking quietly in front of me. Duly noted American Airlines.

We get to our seats and a friendly well dressed business women smiles and says, I've been waiting for you to arrive. What? No matter, we pile in and she coos over how cute the kids are. Well that's a welcome sight. I always dread my seatmate will be a child hater but this lovely lady proceeds to offer any help needed throughout the entire flight. I think she's an angel!

To be continued.


Ruth said...

I awarded you the versatile blogger award:

Ruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unpolished Parenting said...

I am exhausted for you after reading all of that. Oh running late at an airport freaks me out so badly! But you pulled it off :)

And thank you so much again for your support. I'm realizing that days like those are just part of the learning process for both of us and that those days aren't what will define us. Thank you so much!

Cat said...

This should be emailed to American Airlines. Not sure if it will make a difference, but dammit they should hear it. "Fix your bags" Seriously!