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The Dreaded Flight With an Angry and Tired Toddler

For the past two months we’ve been excited about our trip to Utah for the holidays. Our excitement has been met with an equal amount of fear. Vivi’s at that age as a toddler where plane rides can be, um, beyond difficult.

The last time Casey took Vivi on a plane they both came back to me in tears. Vivi had been screaming for about 5 straight hours and Casey was on the verge of a mental breakdown from the stress it caused her. She called me from Chicago during a layover begging for some kind of help. I wasn’t able to answer her call, but I could tell from the voicemail that tears were leaking down into her phone.

A stranger on the plane realized how difficult of a day Casey was having and helped her throughout that last leg of her trip.

Since that day Casey has feared flying with Vivi. Her fear of flying with Vivi probably matches my fear of the Mothman.  As we got closer and closer to the day where we would load Vivi back on a plane, Casey’s anxiety increased with each passing minute. I can tell when Casey is anxious and panicked about something. She rotates her wrists in a circular motion over and over again. That motion appeared about three weeks ago, disappeared while she was on her Disney cruise, and then returned with a vengeance the week after her cruise.

Yesterday was the day when Vivi got back on a plane. We got to the airport early in the morning. Early as in 5:30 AM early. But we were prepared as we could have been. We came with stickers, markers, sketch pads, coloring books, Sesame Street episodes, Addie the entertainer, snacks, milk, and bunny. The kid worked her way through all of the things we brought. The Sesame Street episodes lasted a whopping 10 minutes before she was bored. The markers lasted maybe 8 minutes. The sketch pad and coloring books were only used for about 10 minutes. Her stickers kept her busy for about 30 minutes. That left a hefty chunk of time to keep the kid busy and entertained on our long 5 or so hours of flight time.

It was stressful and it was a long flight, but Vivi was an excellent kid on the plane. I only got one glare from a 40-something-year-old man who gave Vivi a look of disgust as I walked her back to our seats while we were boarding the plane (Side rant—what kind of person gives a toddler a look of disgust?), and that guy learned that I have no problem returning looks of disgust with equal and more obvious looks of disgust. In the end, the guy didn’t have any reason to give any kinds of disgusted looks because Vivi didn’t cry at all on the trip. She didn’t scream, other than when she was being tickled, and she didn’t demand to run up and down the aisle of the plane.

Hopefully our success with Vivi on the plane will allow Casey to relax and not worry about our return trip as we celebrate the holidays.

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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More on Babble Dad:

The Perfect Christmas Gift: The 12 Days of Christmas

12 Gifts My Toddler Really Wants for Christmas

My 14 Favorite Family Holiday Traditions

I Missed My Daughter’s Eighth Birthday

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