I feel like over the course of almost-two years, I’ve written quite a bit about our travels with Cullen. He took his first flight at eight weeks old so we could go home to see family for the holidays. Since our families are both on the other side of the country, we are totally limited to air travel in order to see each other. This means that in Cullen’s short life, he has already become a seasoned traveler.
As we buckled ourselves into our seats for yesterday’s flight, my husband and I reflected for a few minutes on how travel has changed as Cullen has gotten older. I was afraid we were jinxing ourselves, but I honestly wasn’t nervous about this flight at all. Even though Cullen is a wild, active toddler now, he’s also developed so much language and comprehension at this point that we’re able to communicate with him very well.
There were three keys to our successful trip with our 21-month old: timing the flight right (not during a nap/sleeping time), plenty of snacks, and a fully-charged iPad. While Cullen certainly didn’t prefer to sit still for four hours, the chance to watch Sesame Street and his other favorite cartoons for such a long stretch was a rare treat limited only to travel days like this. Of course he gets thirty minutes here and there at home, but this type of veg-out screen time felt like a huge treat to him.
We also booked our flight for first thing in the morning, typically his most active – but also his happiest – time of day. I was armed with a variety of snacks – everything from sliced fresh fruit, to squeezable pouches, boxes of raisins, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — all things that are easy to pack, not overly perishable.
We spent the long five hours with him squeezed in between us – his last free flight before he turns two, and now I know why. He’s definitely at an age and size where he’d be easier in his own seat, and while I certainly don’t look forward to paying hundreds of extra dollars for every trip home, it will be nice for all of us to have a bit more room. As it was, he happily wore his headphones and played on the iPad for several hours. He was so into it that I actually closed my eyes and took a nap – a travel luxury I haven’t experienced since before he was born!
Here’s hoping the flight home is just as smooth!