Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Traveling with the kids. Tricks and Treats

Today we flew to Los Angeles for a 4 day fun getaway and a fun day at Disneyland. My husband had business in LA and I lined up a few meetings so that we could mix a tiny bit of work with a whole lot of good times. Although getting here was quite the task.

I actually have a lot of anxiety about flying with the kids and I have done it a ton. The easiest time to fly with your kid is when they are newborn to about 8 months old. You can almost always guarantee that they will nap on the plane. I remember that during that time if they were fussy, I would breast feed them. I found myself apologizing to the person next to me as I was plopping down in my seat saying, "I am so sorry, but I will be breast feeding on this flight." Surprisingly, most people were totally cool with this and I tried to cover up as much as possible.

I usually try to schedule the flight during their nap time. I will go out of my way to run around with them before our flight or keep them up on the drive down just so they have the best chance of falling asleep on the plane. For me, this usually worked. And if they did get fussy, I would try my best not to look at them and let them work through it to get themselves to sleep. This is not easy as a lot of people are looking at you wondering why you aren't picking them up and consoling them. I found if I gave them too much attention, it stimulated them too much and they would get even more agitated. Once they fell asleep, there was a collective sigh of relief. I remember one time our daughter was so tired and she just couldn't calm down enough to go to sleep. We tried everything and finally Erik just leaned his head next to hers and told her a story. It took her about 6 minutes and she was out.

My pre-flight anxiety is caused by the fear of being locked in a space, with no exit and with two hysterical babies! Considering we have a 3 1/2 year old and a 20 month old, that is more than possible. Our flight was at 4:50 pm so I decided to let our son sleep at home. While he slept I got everything packed and into the car. I made an emergency bottle (just in case there was a major delay) and packed a well stocked snack bag. Everything was ready and in the car as I woke him up and went to go pick up my daughter from school. No matter how many times you run through it in your head, please ALWAYS allow for more time. Maybe a 15 minute cushion. Today, I didn't and therefore I was stressed. And because I was stressed, I rushed to get from the economy parking to the shuttle stop. And because of all the stressing and rushing, I left my cell phone on the middle console of our car which is parked safely at the SLC airport. Doesn't do me much good in LA. Oh well.

The good news is we made our flight, had the only empty seat in the house next to us (so we had a whole row) and we were a fairly happy crew. My daughter slept and thanks to the help of 2 life savers, 3 bottle caps and a handful of M&M's my son didn't completely disrupt the entire plane. A nice gentleman helped us with our car seat. He was 2 rows in front of us, but still, he offered and I accepted. Nobody offered to help us on the way off until we were at the end of the jet way, that is when we met Jeanie. She carried our car seat all the way to baggage claim. She said she had a 4 hour layover and wanted a cigarette anyway, but I think she was just downright 'good people' to do that for us.

Flying with kids is not easy but with dvd players, a little candy and some other toys to pass the time, we can survive and thrive. And when we arrive at our destination, what a sense of accomplishment. Now onto Disneyland!

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