Lessons From the First Time Flying with My 11-Month-Old

 It was our first trip as a family of three and our first time traveling with a baby.

I had done my research, my Google search history as proof: “Do I need to take my daughter out of her carrier to get through security?” “Pros and cons of bringing a cheap umbrella stroller vs. our full size” “Can we carry on formula?”

I was all over it. We were prepared. We also had no idea what we were in for.

Our daughter had literally just started walking in the weeks leading up to our trip, so that’s all she wanted to do. She was proud of her new skill, who could blame her? I was actually excited about it – ‘She’ll be able to walk on the beach,’ I thought.

On D-day, we got to the airport and breezed through security. We were traveling with my parents, so the extra sets of hands were helpful. My mom walked with Cora around the gate while we waited to board, we were all happy and excited for an awesome vacation.

The calm before the storm.

When it came time to board, we gathered our things and got moving. My husband and I were separated, so I took the baby. As soon as Cora and I were seated, it hit me: this was going to be the longest 1.5 hours of my life.

I should have known better. Our daughter was always very active, busy and high-needs, so it should have come as no surprise that it’d be heightened now that she wanted to constantly “practice” walking. This child had zero interest in sitting still, let alone in such a confined space. Girl was fussy and I had to think fast about how I was going to keep her entertained without letting her loose on the plane (which, in a moment of desperation, I  admittedly did consider).

“Let’s read this book.” “Here, eat this.” “Let’s play with this duct tape. Or gnaw on it, whatever floats your boat.” “Are you thirsty? No? How about some juice? I will literally give you whatever you want, just sit still for, like, 2 straight minutes, mommy is starting to sweat.”

Mike, my mom and I ended up taking 15-minute “shifts” with her. Yep, shifts. It was work. And the funny thing is Mike ordered a beer shortly after being seated – yeah, like he was actually going to be able to enjoy this flight. Pshhh, amateur.

The lucky contestants who got to sit next to our shit show happened to be a lovely young couple who, ironically, were expecting. I couldn’t help but wonder if my frantic efforts to distract contain my child were making them have second thoughts. They just smiled and commented about how cute she was.

Cute? Yes. Sleeping like the other kids on the flight? Hell to the no.

Lesson learned: traveling will never be the same. And also: duct tape. Yep, duct tape kept her entertained for the most time by a long shot.

  

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