There are few things more stressful than flying with kids. You’re trapped in a rising and falling tube with strangers, their germs, and their frowns. It’s up to you to engage, entertain, and play with your kids enough to avoid their hysterics and your neighbors’ dirty looks. And did I mention, there’s air pressure problems, tiny bathrooms, very little food, and *gasp* no internet.
I thought I had prepared for my most recent flight. After all, I’ve been flying from New York to see my parents in Kansas City for 14 years; nearly six of them as a parent. But sometimes, no matter how much you prepare or how experienced you are, things go wrong.
And sometimes, everything goes wrong.
- You will be asked to prove if your child is under 2, no matter how small they are. Thankfully, we were traveling during the week, so I could call my pediatrician’s office to fax over a copy of my younger son’s vaccination records proving he was, in fact, under 2.
- Your child will make an uncomfortably loud announcement at an impossibly quiet time. Like when my older son announced to everyone who walked down the aisle that he needed to poop.
- Your child will spill the beverage you needed the most. Thankfully, I got to drink a little of my iced coffee before my toddler knocked it off my tray, spilling it all over my purse.
- Someone will smell. Like the person in our row only smelled like cigarettes, but thankfully not alcohol.
- No matter how many snacks you pack, your child will only want the cookies the stewardess hands out. But hey, at least it’s food.
- Someone will glare at you and your child for daring to make noise. I was grateful that I only had one person glare at me while my son yelped and squirmed as I tried to rock him to sleep.
- If you’re lucky, someone will eventually fall asleep (though it definitely won’t be you). Even though my younger son refused to nap, my older son fell asleep, so even though the wrong kid was awake, at least I had one sleeping child.
- You will need that spare change of clothes your partner said you should cut from your carry-on. Came in handy, didn’t it, hun?
- You will cave and get fast food. But even though I gave in and bought my kids McDonald’s, they didn’t eat very much. (Am I the only weirdo who buys her kids McDonald’s and then is glad when they don’t eat it?)
- Someone will get sick in epic fashion. Like when my older son started projectile vomiting, covering himself and the seat in front of him. Oof.
Safe travels, mom and dad! And may the force be with you.More On