flying with a toddler: why god, why?
I’ll admit it: I cheaped out.
My parents chose to drive down to Disney World (about a 15-hour drive) and bravely offered to take one kid with them. I decided to send Holden with them in the car, while I flew with GB as an “infant in arms” (which you can only do with children 2 and under). The original thinking was 1) I didn’t have to pay for GB’s ticket and 2) GB is generally the calmer child.
It wasn’t long after purchasing the airline tickets that I realized my mistake. GB hates sitting still, he doesn’t like sitting on my lap, and he doesn’t watch videos or play with apps. What was I thinking? But by that point it was too late, so we sucked it up and went for it.
The morning of our flight–which left Baltimore at 10am–I forgot the stroller at the house, so I had to turn around 10 minutes down the road. Heinous traffic on the beltway made it clear that the usual 1.25-hour drive wasn’t happening this time and we were definitely going to miss our flight. Had to do some ninja magic on the phone in the car to switch our flight with Delta–luckily, there was a 10:30am flight with a layover in a different city that got us to Orlando 20 minutes earlier, so it wasn’t terrible. Sure, it cost $50 to switch, but whatever. I was trying to avoid a mental breakdown.
The good thing about cutting it close on your flight is there’s not a lot of downtime in the airport; the bad thing is the obvious stress and self-loathing. We boarded and GB was entertained by opening and closing the plane window… for the first five minutes. We still had 40 minutes on this flight and another flight to go.
He stood on me, he looked out the window, he made faces at the people behind us, he ate snacks, he threw his Nuk. I tried out the new kid headphones I had gotten for the trip, which bought me about 10-15 minutes.
And then, as we began our descent, he freaked out.
And then he fell asleep.
Just in time to land.
The layover at Raleigh-Durham was nonexistent–our flight left slightly late–so we boarded the next flight almost immediately. Luckily, the airline representative could sense the frazzle that was radiating from me, so she put us in an extra-wide row.
It was like heaven. GB actually had room to stand… and lie down on the floor (whatever, don’t judge me). The lovely grandmother across the aisle from me actually took him into her lap for a bit and talked to him. He was overall pleasant and flirted with several passengers. I took it.
However by the time we boarded Disney’s Magical Express, the shuttle to our resort, GB had had it. He stood. He screamed. He whined. He threw his Nuk at me. It was 40 minutes of horror. We actually ditched the bus at the Boardwalk Resort and just walked over to the Beach Club. We’d had enough of being confined in metal boxes for a day.
On the way home from Florida, GB was ill–which was not good because he was sick, but was good because he was snuggly and quiet (I’m terrible). I accepted the three diarrhea blowouts he had during our travels as a trade-in for his good behavior. I even remained calm when the car wouldn’t start in the Express parking lot and we had to wait for help to arrive.
So… we survived. But I’m looking forward to not having to fly with a kid anytime soon.