Let’s talk about flying with kids and how ridiculous it is.
Admittedly, I’ve been lucky. I’ve been on four flights (two round-trip) with babies and I’ve not yet had the crying baby on the plane. Considering Violet is almost 1 year old and we have no travel plans in the next year, we’ll probably never be the crying baby people on the plane. Thank goodness for that. Even without the crying baby, flying with a baby is no picnic.
Both of my flying experiences were nearly identical. The first time, we flew with 20 month old Lily from Detroit to Northern California for my cousin’s wedding. This time, we flew from Chicago to Southern California. They were both 4+ hour flights with lap babies. Both were torturous, though this time was possibly a little better.
The entire flight is devoted to making sure your baby doesn’t cry, which leads to the most intense parenting you do al year, especially if you are a laissez-faire parent about playtime like I am. Here’s a sketch of what you do with a lap baby to prevent them from crying on a 4+ hour flight (though nursing was no longer an option when we flew with Lily):
1) Nurse baby
2) Entertain baby by turning overhead light on and off and on and off and on
4) Read 3 baby books 20 times
5) Make funny faces/sounds with baby.
7) Overhead light switch play
8) Baby toys
9) Funny faces/sounds
10) Nurse/brief nap
11) Overhead light switch
12) Baby toys
13) Funny faces/sounds
15) 3 baby books 20 times
18) Overhead lights
Multiple this repetitive list times about a hundred and maybe throw in a few minutes of the baby watching two minutes of a movie on your laptop and that’s what it’s like to fly with baby. Fun!
It’s probably as much direct parenting as Violet gets in three days all jammed into 4.5 hours, especially when you consider she shares my attention with two other children, my husband and our dog.
It’s intense and hard. And travel days are always rough. With a flight like that, you spend at least 12 hours from door to door between car rides, airports and planes. Add a baby to that equation!
But I guess like childbirth, it’s just one day. After all that work, you get to your vacation and try to have fun. Will you have fun? That remains to be seen. We got lucky this time and fun happened. The baby behaved and adjusted to the 3 hour time difference better than we did. I managed to sleep relatively well in the hotel beds, an act that usually eludes me. I got to eat in restaurants for every meal– my favorite part of vacation. I suppose it was worth it, but the plane ride is still torture!
My hats off to the parents out there who actually enjoy traveling and take their children lots of places. I doubt that will ever be me!