I have been insanely busy between keeping the house together, playing with my baby turned toddler, moving my sister into our house (yay student loans!), getting my wisdom teeth plus one molar out and then dealing with dry socket (ugh!), typing like mad for my medical transcription course, and just this last weekend flying down to Tennessee to see my best friend.
If you know me then you know that I have issues with flying. I’m afraid of heights. So being super high in the sky in a tin can? Not my kind of thing. Add in the stress of keeping an 18 month old happy and not annoying the other passengers? Wheee!
But it turned out to not be so bad. I am very thankful that Imogen is a very calm and easy-going kiddo. She had no issues with flying other than our first takeoff when she could clearly see that I was not happy with leaving the ground behind. I forced a big fake smile and began to excitedly point at the scenery out the window and she very quickly relaxed and had no more nervousness during any of our other flights.
The trip there was considerably shorter than the trip back. I probably overprepared for our flights and carried 10,000 toys and snacks on board in my carry-on. The entire trip there her biggest source of entertainment was eating the ice out of our complimentary drinks. We pulled out one toy, and we didn’t even touch the DVD player.
So we survived, made it to Tennessee, I hugged my redhead, and we ate good food, visited the wonderful aquarium in Chattanooga, went swimming during a downpour, watched movies, had waffles and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (we almost never eat this stuff at home), and had lots of fun. Chattanooga is a place I would be very comfortable living, it was absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed the lovely thunderstorms that rolled through almost daily. I could also get behind a winter where it doesn’t drop to -20. It was humid, but it wasn’t much different from Iowa in that matter.
Our flights home were much longer. We were first flown to Charlotte (what? why? 1 1/2 hours in the wrong direction), and then onwards to Des Moines on a 2 1/2 hour flight. The first flight was during nap time, Imogen insisted on milk before we even took off (we ended up sitting on the tarmac for about 20 minutes before we made it into the air) and so she was out.
On a side note, there are times when nursing gets tiresome, like on days when she asks for it more frequently than usual and I need to get 10 million things done. However, it is well worth it because it is also amazingly helpful. I wasn’t worried about her being asleep for takeoff or landing pressure changes because she was latched on during those times even though she was fast asleep. It was a great way to soothe her when she would get at all fussy during our trip.
During our second (and longest) flight home we finally pulled out the DVD player after she lost interest in other activities. She went back and forth between asking for milk, looking out the window, and watching Monsters Inc. I learned my lesson from our flights to TN and took my Lortabs (really glad I took those with me) to keep my sinuses and sockets from hurting, bonus I was pretty relaxed on the way home and I actually pulled out my book and read a few pages instead of clinging to the seat and my husband (picture a cat trying to scramble out of a tub when given a bath, that was me).
So, flying with a toddler? Not so scary. Our best tools for keeping her happy were:
1. Lots of snacks (Annie’s fruit snacks, Annie’s mixed crackers and pretzels, Yummy Earth suckers, were most of what we used).
2. Camelback water bottle. We took it through security empty and people at the cafe’s on the other side were always more than happy to fill it up for us.
3. Ice, our second flight to TN we asked for just a cup of ice, it literally kept Imogen happy for most of both flights.
4. Snap beads, similar to these.
5. Pipe cleaners.
6. Crayola double-sided dry erase board and dry erase crayons.
7. A blank notebook and stickers.
8. A portable DVD player with a few of her favorite DVDs.
We also waited to be last in line to board the plane so we weren’t sitting in the seats any longer than we had to. We brought a number of other things: some plane books (we didn’t touch but they will be added to her little library anyway), a Melissa and Doug reusable sticker book (we used a lot while we were in TN, a shape sorter we already had (also used in TN), some Lots of Links (used in TN), some little animal figurines bought from a craft store, pompoms and an empty Play-doh container with an X cut in the top for pushing the pompoms into (used a little on the plane but most in TN) and her stuffed lamb that she sleeps with at night. I am very glad I packed everything I did because it all kept her happy either on the flight or in TN when we weren’t out and about doing things.
We had a lot of fun, but we are glad to be home.