Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I have this one baby and he came with absolutely no instructions…
Since March, Palmer has completed about about 26 hours on a plane. Between a trip to Los Angeles and a trip to France, he has slept, played, danced and cried earning points in a toddler mile high club. All of our travel was recreational and was really kinda awesome. It has me feeling bold. I mean we survived. We surprised grumpy grownups on our row and made it away and home with minimal tears. I feel like I can give some advice on the matter…
Close your eyes and picture this….
I walk up to the gate. I have a 16 month old strapped to my chest. Several people look my way with frustration and disgust and the hope that they will not be stuck next to us for the next eight hours. I get it. I see wild children on planes and in airports. The are kicking and screaming while their parents text away on a smart phone, seemingly oblivious to the theatrics of their little one (I have seen grown ups act much worse, but I will save that for another time). So maybe everyone on our recent red-eye to Paris was praying they wouldn’t be stuck next to Palmer on his first international flight. We were just flying to see family and enjoy that French sunshine. I know that children are people too with their own moods and desires but unfortunately they lack many of the communication skills of their adult counterparts. To make the flight as pleasant as possible for Palmer (not everyone else, because heck, I am not here for them) I had a very fluid plan. I want to share it for the other moms and moms to be or adults traveling with little wigglers because maybe you are afraid to take your little on an adventure. I am sharing because you should and I am not here for being afraid either….
Timing is everything.. You know your kid (hopefully) and the time in which you chose to travel can make all the difference. For instances, at night Palmer likes his sleep. He doesn’t really need a comfy space, but being close to his mama and papa is a plus so we decided on a redeye because it would be dark, quiet and give us all a chance to close our eyes. On our way to LA and Paris the red-eye was perfect, Palmer was asleep shortly after take off only waking on the descent. On the way back from both destinations we met some difficulty and had to abandon our plans of another red-eye, instead taking the very first flight of the morning. It did not go easy. Palmer likes moving, dancing and playing in the morning. It took him some time to relax into the confined space when he wanted to move. While he eventually rested his eyes, I had to find ways to keep him engaged and lessen his frustration with our new plans. Red-eyes and nap times will continue to be my preference.
Be prepared. No brainer, right? This issue presents a conflict for me because I like to travel light. One carry on and one bag for ALL THREE OF US. We are already wrestling a 25 lbs. ninja named Palmer, I don’t need extra bags with toys and food weighing me down, so what to do? Last year we took P on several adventures and for sure it was a different experience. He was not even crawling yet so he easily fit in a sling and I could whip out a boob on demand with no need for extra anything. This year I definitely had more in my bag, but I picked toys and games I knew he liked but that were quiet and compact. A composition book and triangle shaped crayons that could not roll away if dropped, 6 Mega blocks that could be snapped together and stored on the bottom of my bag, small toddler train parts that could roll over tray tables and arm rests and a busy book I made in little over 10 hours. I brushed up on all his favorite songs and hand games, packed his favorite snacks and it made all the difference without taking up a whole other bag.
Set the mood. Since Palmer’s birth (and before) I have been fond of the power of essential oils, and natural supplements. I have been using lavender oil to calm him at bed time, Tea tree oil to treat bug bites and citrus blends to keep away bugs. I have established a travel regimen that calms everyone down so we can settle in for long flights. About 30 minutes before boarding I give P two Highland’s teething tablets and four drops of Rescue Remedy, a flower essence supplement shown to alleviate stress and tension. Rescue Remedy is good for everybody so I take a dose too!. As soon as boarding begins I place a dab of lavender oil under P’s nose, on his breast bone and on my wrists, all places he is sure to get a whiff. Call me Doctor Quinn Medicine Mama because my little concoction puts him in a good space.
Be Like Water. Plans change. This is especially true when traveling. As a flight attendant I was always so amazed at the amount of anger passengers would have when flights were delayed because of weather or maintenance. There is nothing to be done about it. All of these issues can arise when traveling. Whether Palmer is with me or not I always approach traveling by air with a light heart. Stressing over TSA checkpoints, seat preferences and departure times is futile. If you are traveling with a little one, it will only make the situation worse. Our children are influenced by our moods, so trust and believe if you are bent out of shape your baby will mirror that. I make my plans, but I also remain fluid, like water. It keeps me calm so I can be present to keep Palmer comfortable.
I hope this was helpful. Cheers to raising children filled with a love for travel!Pin It