We are back from vacation. This is the second week we have been home and things are just starting to get back to normal. Our flights were exhausting, but it is always worth it in the end. We all had a great time visiting friends and family.
Our flight from The Netherlands to Chicago went slightly more smoothly than I expected. We sat on the tarmac for an hour waiting for some nondescript thing to be fixed. That was just what I needed to ratchet up my anxiety. I memorized how many rows away I was from the nearest exit in case of an emergency and re-read the infant safety instructions to sooth myself. Actually, there was little time for my anxiety. E walked back and forth across my husband and my laps while trying to greet the other passengers. A twenty-something young lady took a liking to her, thank goodness, and helped pass some of the time with the universal toddler ice breaker, Peek-a-boo.
Our flight was midday – translation – E did not sleep a single minute of the nine-hour trip. She mingled; she ran the aisles, chatted up the passengers in first class and opened & slammed the bathroom door in between users. We tried to entertain her with “Monsters Inc.”, but she could not care less. I tried to bribe her with individually wrapped presents. She cared more about unwrapping each present than anything the contents. Stickers, highlighters, a coloring book, a fake mobile phone, and an Aquadoodle all did not work.
What did work? In short – a nine piece wooden puzzle of a cow, a travel sized Etch-a-Sketch, and plastic cups. Her father also taught her how to put ice cubes down each other’s shirts. She really liked trying to eat whatever snacks the flight attendants handed out in those tiny, shiny packets. She can also squeeze herself between a flight attendant, his cart and the nearest chair’s armrest.
The internal flights in the U.S. were, thankfully, short, turbulence free and full of friendly passengers. On the flight back home, E slept five of the seven hours spread across her papa like a little monkey. I, unfortunately, could not sleep, but I did get to enjoy a few chick flicks. At the airport, our luggage arrived quickly; we caught our train and were home within an hour. All is well that ends well as they say.
- Bring milk with you on the plane. Security checked it, but allowed it even though it was only whole milk and not formula. It was all E was interested in during take-off and landing to help equalize her ears. Take twice as much as you expect to need in case of delays.
- Bring your own food for your toddler. Even on our international flight, the provided no meals.
- Bring a scarf to shield your child’s eyes from annoying overhead lights. It is also a great toy.
- For layovers, bring your baby carrier in your carry-on. This was the only way we got E to nap. Use the stroller to cart around your carry-on. We used our Tula baby carrier.
- Bring a backpack as a carry on.