Saturday, March 27, 2010

How I Flew with Two Kids by Myself

I have pictures that need to be uploaded and laundry that needs to be done, groceries that need to be bought and mail to be opened.

Such is the life post-vacation.

"I feel like I need a vacation after my vacation," I told Brian as we cleaned up the dishes last night from our Chinese take-out dinner.

But really everything in Florida was great, all things considered. We came back sun-kissed and rejuvenated.

More to come on Florida, especially photos, later. But for now let's talk plane.

If any of you have a plane trip scheduled with kids, call me first. I'm a total pro now. Especially if you're going to be the only adult.

When Brian asked me at baggage claim how our return flight was I told him I felt the sort of adrenaline high that a marathon finisher might feel.

I did it! I cannot believe I just did that. And I did it well. I'm awesome. I rock. When can I do it again?

OK, maybe not that last one so soon but everything did go smoother than I could have imagined.

I did cheat and borrow a portable DVD player. I know that in this day and age a DVD player isn't considered cheating but I still can't help but feel a bit like I'm taking the easy way out. I never grew up traveling with a portable electronic anything and somehow both my parents survived multiple trips with me and my siblings just fine.

Maybe if Brian or another adult were traveling with me I would have left the DVD player at home. But I knew if I could keep William still and quiet that I would have a probable chance of getting Lucy to fall asleep. And a well-rested Lucy truly is the key to enjoyable plane ride.

It turns out I was right. As soon as the pilot said OK to electronics I popped in one of those Donald Duck DVDs with the original cartoons. The kind that are made from actual hand drawings. Before Disney got all digitized.

Five minutes later I looked down and saw Lucy's eyes shut tight. It was a deep sleep. The kind with an open mouth and snoring. So sweet.

She woke up smiling and happy. And with a wet diaper. William had to go potty at the exact same time so we wandered to the back of the plane to tackle my biggest concern about flying. Which, to my pleasant surprise, ended up being the easiest part!

The flight attendants doted over Lucy while I took William into the restroom. Then it was Lucy's turn. The flight attendant informed me that the plane was not equipped with a changing station. So instead she opened two brand new plane blankets and spread them out on the floor by the food prep area. I put my changing mat on top of those blankets and voila. I got something that was probably a lot more sanitary than any baby changing station.

For the remainder of the flight I let Lucy bounce on my lap while she looked out the window at the fluffy clouds below. William made friends with two of the cutest little Russian girls next to us and together they played with his sticker book.

Before I knew it the four-hour flight was coming to an end. And we survived.

So, my top tips for flying with kids:

1. Be genuinely nice and appreciative. Especially to airline employees that seem particularly grumpy.

2. Stay cool under pressure and resist the temptation to feel rushed. Travelers always seem to have a sense of urgency. If you're late for a flight it's understandable. But for the most part it's unwarranted. You don't have to be lackadaisical about it all but it does pay off to be calm.

3. If you have a baby bring a stroller AND a carrier. Sometimes I needed to push Lucy. Other times, like through security, I needed to carry. But I always needed both my hands.

4. TREATS! If you're ever going to break the rules on too many sweets, now is the time. It will keep the kids happy and occupied on something they don't normally get to have.

5. Ask for help. I especially sought out other parents or an elderly person. These types of people are usually well-meaning and will have no problem to lend a hand. Most of the time they will even be excited to interact with your kids.

What's worked for you? What would you add to the list?

And now, not to leave you completely hanging, here's a few photos from my cell phone.
A little boy and lots of airplanes. 'Nuff said.

And this is where you could find William for about 75% of the trip.

My little beach baby.


  1. Sounds Like you got it down...kudos;-) you're best piece of advice, is to relax. Be prepared and relax everything else us out of your hands.

  2. Good job Jenny!!It was so nice to spend some time with you!Dont let sweet William forget his Gramma Nancy,and Lucy in the sky with diamonds brightened our whole week with you!Darling kids!!love,Nancy

  3. You're absolutely right about asking older people to help with kids. Sometimes when I see parents struggling with too many kids and not enough hands at the airport, I am just dying to help--but, of course, afraid that they'll think I'm a creepy child snatcher if I offer. Ask, ask, ask! It will make our day!

  4. Thanks for sharing your top tips! It sounds like you traveled solo w/ two kids like a pro. :)


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