If you like being at the edge of your seat (literally), with surprises at every turn and not knowing if your neighbors love you or hate you, go ahead and book that flight with your toddler.
Suspense, drama, comedy, it has the makings of this season’s blockbuster written all over it.
I think it was somewhere after the 4th blizzard of the season when the in laws suggested we come on down to their Florida condo. I literally leapt out of my chair, sprinted to the computer and began looking at flights. Beach, balmy weather and built-in babysitters? Sign me up. ASAP.
In my excitement, I forgot the reality of the situation. We were taking our 18 month old with us on a flight. A three hour flight.
The flight was kinda like being sober and hanging out with a very tiny and very drunk person in very tight quarters. I mean it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done. But it’s not something that’s going to make the bucket list.
Here are some tips that (somewhat) got me through the flight.
- Buy a seat. Do this under every single circumstance. If you need to scrimp and save or borrow and steal for 13 months in order to do so, then please, for your own sanity, do it. We went back and forth on this. And in hindsight I can’t even imagine trying to keep my super active 18 month old on my lap for more than, say, five minutes.
- A bagel. Say whaaa? Yes, a bagel. For real. I mean, have you ever tried to eat a bagel wicked fast? Exactly. It took P exactly 25 minutes to eat that sucker. 25 quiet, lovely minutes where I even got to read an article on why Teresa Giudice is loving on all her new prison friends. Amazing. Oh, and it goes without saying that you should bring lots of other snacks, too. Load up all their favs and be prepared to make a huge mess. I was inhaling cheese puff dust the whole flight.
- Toys. Well, duh. Obvious, right? Bring some brand new toys. I got stickers, a travel doodler thing, a new Elmo book, a little baby doll and downloaded some fun apps onto our tablet. Do not, I repeat, do not dump all the toys in your toddler lap at once. Give them one at a time and encourage them to play as long as possible. P literally played with her new doll for a solid 20 minutes before whipping it across the aisle (sorry again to the lovely British couple in 6A and B).
- Forget the aisle. Repeat after me-The aisle doesn’t exist. Walking up and down the aisle, stopping at each and every seat and waving, saying hello and trying to climb into random laps is not something you or anyone else wants to deal with. Use the aisle as a last resort, please trust me on this. Unless your idea of chasing a wobbly toddler up and down a teeny tiny aisle while apologizing profusely is your idea of a good time. Capiche?
- A carrier. P might be only 18 months, but I swear she weighs as much as an 18 year old. Our stroller was too bulky (plus the in laws rented one for us) and there was no way I was carrying her or letting her walk solo. So I threw her on my back in my trusty Ergo. And when she was really really really overdue for a nap and just wasn’t going down, I brought her to the back of the plane and rocked her to sleep in it. That bought us an hour of nap time. Golden.
So those were a few of my top tips for surviving my first plane ride with my toddler. Do you have any more to share? I’d love to hear them.