Little Did I Know...

As promised in my last post, here are my personal suggestions for making a flight a bit easier when you're flying alone with a toddler.

1. Pack small toys that you can fit easily into your carry-on. The following toys were huge hits with Carter: slinky, silly putty, Mr. Potato Head, travel-sized Magna Doodle, a few books, and one of those jelly squishy balls with "spikes." You can whip them out as needed for distraction. I also packed my laptop so we could watch an Elmo DVD.

2. Do NOT pack flashcards because they can easily be dropped and scattered all over the floor. I thought the pictures would entertain Carter much longer than a book, but they can be a mess.

3. Pack gummy fruit snacks. They were new to Carter, and the chewing can also help if their ears are popping.

4. Pack pacis as an emergency shutter-upper....or should I say soother.

5. Pack extra tissues, paper towels, Wet Ones, etc. to clean gummy snacks off hands, etc.

6. Pack some plastic baggies in case you have to change a dirty diaper on the plane. The stewardess even frowned at me putting a WET, non-smelly one in her trash bag. I had the baggies with me but figured I didn't need one.

7. If you're flying with your toddler on your lap (under age 2), request an empty seat next to you (if at all possible) when you check in. You're most likely to have a less-crowded flight on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. (Not sure where I read that, but it was true!)

8. If at all possible, NEVER fly with a toddler on a Sunday. You end up sitting next to business men who have no desire to be near a child. :(

9. While sitting in the very first row gives extra leg room and space for your toddler to move around, you can't keep you bags there but rather have to put them overhead. That defeated the purpose of packing my bag with all sorts of tricks and treats. I guess the lady who checked me in thought she was doing me a favor, but it actually made the flight more difficult. Luckily, that flight was just a 30 minute connecting flight.

Now, you may be thinking, "Great planning and good ideas. Very smart!"

Well, I'm here to tell you.... I thought I was all prepared, but when it comes to a true crisis moment or breakdown with your sweet child--I've got nothing for ya!

On our flight home, Carter was really tired because it was his nap time. The older man next to me had not looked pleased at all when we sat down. And this was the first flight we didn't have any room at all for Carter to get down or move. I knew he would not do well sitting in my lap the whole time. I was able to occupy him as we waited for takeoff. He fell asleep as we taxied toward the runway, and I thought, "This flight will be a breeze!"

My little angel snoozed away for most of the flight. Then, all of a sudden, he awoke and began crying hysterically! Crying like he hasn't cried in months! He then began hyperventilating to the point that he gagged three times. The lady across the aisle whipped out a barf bag, but luckily Carter only threw up once and it was more like spit up. He was thrashing around, hitting his head on the window, then on the tray on the seat. The man next to us started leaning further toward the aisle. I noticed Carter's outfit was suddenly wet in the front. (He drinks tons of juice and often wets through his diaper fairly quickly.) Within minutes, as I'm literally sweating from trying to control him, he pees again...completely wetting my pants and my seat as well. He cried like this for about 15 minutes. I apologized to the man next to me, and he didn't even say anything!!! I tried giving Carter a paci, juice, toys, everything....and nothing could distract him or calm him down. I really think his ears were bothering him because this was not the kind of crying when he acts out. These were "I'm in pain and somebody better help me" tears. Carter finally calmed down just before we touched down, and I waited with embarrassment and humiliation for everyone to get off before we ventured toward the exit. As soon as I saw Scott at the airport, I burst into tears. I had never felt so helpless and out of control in a public setting.

I suppose every mom will have a similar experience at some point. And when (if) you do, I'll be here to sympathize with you. :)

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Natalie said...

thank you for this! we are flying with bennett to charleston in september, and i did not get an extra seat for him, so we will be using all these tricks as well.

oh goodness i feel for you about the last part. i dont know what i would have done, but most likely broke down and cried much sooner!

Lindsey said...

Great flying ideas. I'll have to pass them along to a mom that I know who is flying alone with TWO in a few months.

That last part made my heart hurt. Poor litle guy...and how rude of the man sitting beside you!

Brittany said...

oh my goodness!!
bless your heart! i can only imagine how helpless you felt!!!

p.s. Anytime we fly, we "flag" Layton as a peanut allergy when we book our seats, so they don't served peanuts in flight. Just in case he had a reaction in the air!! Because of this, they always let us board first!!!! It's the only "perk" of having a child w/ food allergies. It seems to help that there is no one in front of us, and we have lots of leg room.

Katie said...

Oh goodness! I am so sorry about Carter's horrific flight and the lack of empathy he received from the ADULTS on the plane. I hope the next time he flies he'll do better. Sounds like you were well prepared with your bag of surprises though.