Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When a 2YrOld Loses it at 39,000 Feet

<- Oh if only it could be this simple...

My kids are pros at airpline travel. Part of this is our love to "go" and part is due to the fact we are transplants, all be it 12+ years now, from the Midwest to the West Coast. Which means numerous trips to the birthplace a year as all of our family remains there. They each have 3 frequent flyer accounts a piece and have flown 7 major airlines at least. So we can breeze through security almost as fast as the every day business traveler and fly so quietly the seat next to me appears empty versus there is a little person in it.

But all of this changed on our return flight from Phoenix on the morning of October 22. We stirred the kids at ~5:30AM to make our 7:25AM flight. Only just over an hour before their normal wake-up time. And our journey continued as peacful as normal...kids watching movies and behaving so well the steward slipped us extra beverages ($2 a pop on this airline) and the 1st class steward brought them cookies. We also were workng our way through our backpacks of pleasure.

We have backpacks for the kids specifically for air travel. They stay packed between trips and I merely restock them just prior to another take-off. Here's a list of items we keep inside to help us survive the flight:
> Washable Crayons & Coloring Books
> Static Stickers to let them decorate their window
> Miniature Etch-a-Sketch
> iPod Nano or Laptop w/ Favorite Movies, +1 new surprise from Netflix
> Tupperware of their favorite snacks (as long as it is not liquid these can go through security)
> Activity/Sticker Books for the Preschool set
> Seatbelt for non-car seat child
> Lovey...that special stuffed animal or blanket
> 1 ziplock of small toys (Thomas trains, Matchbox Cars, etc)
> ...and then I always hit the dollar store, etc and put in a couple of surprise new items

> Please leave a comment with your child's must have air travel survival item.

My 2yr old son tends to occupy the seat next to his father and then my 4yrold daughter and I sit in front of them, so if he does decide to kick the seat in front of him he is kicking one of us (which btw removing their shoes softens that blow a lot). It started as low grunts of displeasure. I heard my husband talking low and quiet to him. They slowly grew and as they did so did my husband's pace working his way through the pack of pleasure trying to find something to appease him. We could hear lots of "No!" from our ear shot, so my daughter and I started working our way through her pack and sharing things. He was now screaming and crying. He would take breaks for gasps of breath to refuel his lungs and would also suck on his thumb (so we knew it was not his ears). And then he would let it rip again.

Our family's pace continued for the next 20minutes. My husband and I both trying to remember all the psych articles we have ever read. We were recognizing his feelings..."we know something hurts or is bothering you..." But this kid was having none of it. We both said loud enough so our fellow passengers could hear us...."we know you had an early morning...." We threw our travel mates lots of "I am sorry glances" as well as mouthes apologies across the aisles. I personally used a little mental game on myself telling me if I survived and kept my cool I was rewarding myself with a Grande Skinny Vanilla Late when we hit the concourse or if got much worse a glass of Louis M. Martini Cab when I got home. My daughter finally won the challenge playing peek-a-boo over the seat with a stuffed animal and his shrieks of discomfort became ones of delight with 10minutes left in the flight.

As we disembarked most passengers were quite congenial, but a few threw us the evil eye. And then the one directly across my aisle made me very nervous as she leaned across. She had moved out of our row at the on-set...I am assuming to escape such a display of emotions. As I opened my mouth to apologize yet again she interrupted me quickly and said...."There are many days I am having a bad one for some reason or another and how I wish I was a child again and could just let it all out and everyone around me would chalk it up to my being a child."

So when all else fails...just let them let it all out.
Don't you wish you could sometimes.


Unknown said...

Great article: I printed it! One more suggestion: matching card games, Old Maid, Go Fish etc.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like big sister is a big help! I'm sure it was a stressful flight, but we all get over it.

By the way, is Louis Martini where you work part time? I used to live in the Napa Valley and was a member of their local wine club. We had some wonderful Monte Rosso cabs for fantastic prices, but that was in the 1980's.

blythe said...

we also always make full use of the airline provided grab bag of goodies in the seat pocket in front of you. the bag is good for putting things in and taking them out for those a little less than 2 years old, and the magazines can provide good images to create a story around.

Anonymous said...

Any advice for entertaining a 10-mo old lap child??