Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Travel Tales: Part 1 - The Friendly Skies

I was never really one for kids. This is really much less about their unappealing aspects than it is about my own inexperience. I never spent much time with babies growing up and until recently didn't even have any friends with kids. Given this, it is not surprising that I would avoid them on airplanes. Their crying and irrationality unnerved me. Ironically, I have always felt comforted by their presence, as though bad things could not happen to a plane carrying little babies. That didn't mean they annoyed me less when their screaming kept me awake so I always tried NOT to sit anywhere near them.

So it was with some trepidation that I approached flying with my own little one. I contemplated getting some Benadryl, but just couldn't bring myself to unnecessarily dope my child. Our flight was scheduled for 6:30am, which meant we had to leave for the airport at the unholy hour of 4am. We let Sophie sleep until the very last minute. She dozed on the drive and was chatting and happy as we checked our bags, went through security and awaited our plane at the gate.

Finally, they called our flight and we boarded the plane. Sophie was curious and enjoyed watching the other passengers. I got her settled and nursed her on takeoff. Although she was drowsy afterward, she was far too interested in her new surroundings to go to sleep. She spent the next hour or so standing on my lap smiling at anyone who looked her way. About an hour before we were due to arrive, she sat down and fell asleep in my arms. She was so peaceful and beautiful. She awoke as we began our descent into Kansas City. As we got off the plane, everyone commented what a sweet, happy baby she was and we thought, "piece of cake."

Fast forward five days to the return flight.

Everything that went right on the first idyllic flight went horribly wrong on this one. She cried and fussed and generally made us, and the unfortunate souls that sat near us, miserable. She circled my lap, like an ornery old dog, until she found a comfy spot and would then settle for a few moments only to pop back up and resume her wriggling. My mommy-strong arms were tired from wrangling her. From time to time I would try to cradle her and get her to sleep, but the result was agonizing screaming and crying. The cherry on top of this ordeal is that I had woken up that morning with a sore throat, stuffy nose and headache which had only gotten worse as the day progressed. By our 8 pm flight, I was in no shape to be dealing with a cranky baby. And unfortunately said cranky baby only wanted mommy.

After two hours of her squirming, screaming and crying and me nearly in tears because I was so tired and worn out and frustrated, that little turd sweet child of mine finally fell asleep with just fifteen minutes left to go.

I don't think we'll be flying with her again any time soon.


  1. This is precisely why I have postponed (for the past three YEARS) that trip with my wee ones that requires a fairly long plane ride.


    I do like the image of the ornery old dog circling your lap, though. Paints a great image with words.

  2. I had the opposite experience--nightmarish flight there and not too bad on the way back.

    We did get give her Benadryl out of total desperation--but it made her MORE hyper! Never again!!

  3. Mady's first 2 flights were a breeze. Most people were surprised to find a baby sitting near them when we got ready to de-plane! The second round of flights to Chicago were a bit tougher...Mady didn't want to sleep but thankfully we were near baby loving people. Mady kept standing up in her seat and smiling at the people behind us and trying to reach out and grab them (even if they were asleep). We opt to purchase a seat for Mady whenever we fly which seems to really help make things easier.

  4. Ooooh ... have none of my travel/tests of human strength posts taught you lessons, my dear woman???

    It gets better. Promise.

  5. I'm dreading our first plane ride (not until spring '09). Luckily thats a long ways off.

  6. MGM - I fear having a second child because the prospect of flying with two is absolutely horrifying.

    Jennifer - I've heard that and the idea of her being more wired is enough to keep me away.

    Sara - We will most likely get her her own seat next time, either that or a few shots of whiskey.

    Maternal Mirth - Do we ever learn?

    Bailey - I complain, but it's not really all that bad. Yikes, did I just say that out loud?

  7. OMG--I KNOW! Isn't that always the way?! My kids have finally become great travelers and I am grateful. They've been to Europe & Mexico with us, numerous US flights and VERY long drives. It took a while to get there, but now they're used to going places and they don't bat an eyelash about a 15 hour drive (which we will be taking on again in a matter of days.) It's worth it now, b/c we like to travel and have no choice but to take them with us!

  8. ack! I am flying in 4 days with my 8 yr old, 6 yr old and 1 yr old! (and my 29 yr old... husband.) i'm am so flippin scared it'll be mayhem. At least it's only an hour and a half flight. BTW - let me know if you found the rose's salve and how it works for you. it's miracle potion... i'm sure of it. :)

  9. Oh crap. I used to be a flight attendant and I always felt so sorry for the lap-parent of the lap-child. It's like being stomped and writhed to death. We haven't tried flying yet for some VERY obvious reasons. Fortunately we don't really need to go anywhere.

  10. Christy - With my family all over the place and our love for travel, our kids will just have to learn to travel well. I don't relish the teaching though.

    Cara Starr - Good luck on your trip! I'm sure it will be great. My usual drug store didn't have it, should I be looking in a beauty supply store?

    Merecat - We talked about getting her her own seat, but decided that she would likely spend the bulk of the time in my lap so it would be a waste. Lesson learned. Even if she sits on my lap, that extra seat will give us a little more breathing room. I can't imagine flying with twins!

  11. Little ones love to keep us guessing, huh? ;)

    One time after driving for two days with five-month-old Fly mostly crying, I told myself I would rather have flown! Maybe any kind of travel is tough.

  12. I'm all for unnecessary doping... especially when it becomes necessary! ;)

  13. Damselfly - we contemplated driving versus flying but the 2 day drive seemed like it had the greatest chance of a bad outcome. Read: divorce and maimed child.

    Kristi - About halfway through the flight home, I was ready to go begging through the aisles for any kind of medicine or hooch that would knock her out. Picture a crack addict looking for a score.

  14. I love crosswords. I used to do the one in the Chicago paper every morning. But the NY Times? Way too hard.

  15. Just wait until the Bean is a toddler and chooses the spend the entire flight trying to kick the seat in front of her . . . not that my child did that.

    We spend an entire two-hour flight holding our son's legs so he didn't totally tick off the man in front of us.


Give me some sugar, baby!