Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Would You Rather...

get a series of rabies shots or fly solo, with your kids on a two hour flight?

My answer? Bring on the dang rabies shots. (this is a fact by the way- my husband has had the full series of rabies shots... for real.)

I have not had ONE- NOT ONE- pleasant flying experience with my kids. Even when it was just Maeve, it was tough. Maybe not horrendous, but not enjoyable by any means.

A friend messaged me this morning asking for tips on how to fly with a baby and a toddler. After laughing for a minute or two, I told her I was the wrong person to be asking- clearly- because every flight I've been on with my kids, has been disastrous. We're almost always asked to move to the back of the plane, where, as the flight attendant puts it, we "will feel more comfortable." AKA- get your kids as far away from us as possible- even if that means you're sitting in the back row of the plane, in a jump seat without a window.

No, no, we haven't really had to sit in the jump seat- but we do almost always end up in the last row without a window. I compare this to being trapped in a box, being tortured with hot coals or something.

Every trip starts off with the best of intentions, and good thoughts. I have a bag packed, full of snacks, activities, and "prizes." I am fully stocked up on nuks, candy- all that stuff that normally thrills my kids to pieces, but then seems to have no effect on them, while on an airplane.

I am particularly concerned about flying this week because I've got two kids coming off of being sick. Henry, (as of Friday) has fluid in his ears and Maeve is still dealing with the stuffies.

After some careful thinking, I've decided to break down my flying experiences into phases, to give you a better understanding of the areas I really need some help with.

Phase one: At the airport, stressed, sweating, trying to make it through security with everyone and everything, but in a semi-cheerful mood because strangers can be so kind. They like to help put shoes on my kids, unfold the stroller, grab my stuff, etc.

Phase two: Waiting for the airplane. Excitement is in the air, because we're about to board a giant "birdy," as Maeve calls it. Things are a tad crazy. Something is guaranteed to be spilled, dumped, destroyed- watchful observers are silently praying that they won't be the lucky ones, stuck sitting by us on the plane.

Phase three: boarding. This is a debacle all in itself. I am holding Henry and the carseat, pushing a stroller, trying to keep slow poke poking along, and balancing the giant (and I mean, GIANT) carry on bag. Again, strangers are kind, and will ask if I need help. At first I was hesitant to allow anyone to help. Now I gladly hand over a bag, stroller, heck a kid- whatever, just to make it through. As we get on the plane, its almost like Russian roulette. Every single person looks up, with fear in their eyes, as we walk down the aisle- they're all thinking "PLEASE pass us. PLEASE don't sit by us..." And then we make it to our seat, and some poor teenage guy gets stuck with kicking babies, boogers and smells that could wake the dead.

Phase four: the flight itself. I might bring a themometer with me, because I am curious as to what my core temperature is while in the middle of this chaos. I feel feverish- hot- I'm sweating buckets. Maeve is kicking the seat in front of her, Henry is screaming to get down. I'm digging through my bag, practically throwing suckers, jelly beans, starburst- whatever- at Maeve. Maeve (who is probably on a sugar high; is this my problem?) is shouting embarrassing things like, "I pooped!" or "Momma, I not stink, YOU stinky. HAHA Momma pooped!" or how about, "Oh momma, you take your medicine and feel so better?" (as I'm popping my xanax).

Phase five: deboarding- or whatever you want to call it. The rush of relief is similar to just giving birth. It's over. It's done. We've made it- its time to relish in our success. I'm a mess- the kids are a mess- we've lost nuks, coloring books, sippy cups, hats, etc. All I'm thinking as I'm steering the stroller is "Get to mom. GET TO MOM."

So, moms, please, PLEASE give me some flying tips!!!

and if you want to check out our past flights, click the link/label below called "plane rides"


***and stay tuned... the winner will be announced tomorrow AM :)


Angie B said...

I am no help, but I will be praying for an easier flying experience than in the past! I flew once with Drew, but that was with Nick and my parents. I give you a lot of credit lol I dont think I could by myself!! let alone TWO kids!!

Jessica said...

Portable DVD player. All the way. Also, maybe get them a new toy..? Something new always holds my kids' attention longer than stuff they see every day.

Jessy Schoch said...

Maybe you're trying too hard!! I've done this many times, even with all four!! The movies is a must, if you can get one of them interested in a movie you just gained yourself peace for at least a hour from one of them!! I've laid down blankets and let them play on the floor, gross I know but seriously kept Olivia and Harrison happy on a few flights for the entire way!! Does Maeve have a leapster?? I don't really give snacks unless I absolutely have to, because someone is bound to spill something or throw something..you know :) Good luck, it will be fine!!

k and j said...

dum dum suckers for both of them..i am DEAD serious :) works wonders for my kids. every single time. good luck sister!!!

Ashley said...

Jessy- I have to say- I ALWAYS think about you when I fly... I say to myself "if Jessy can do this with 4 kids, I can do this with 2!!!" :)

I might try the blanket on the floor w/ Henry- that's my main issue- he wants DOWN!

Jessy Schoch said...

Haha...yes you can do it!! If you have all three seats sit on the outside seat and let him have at it!! Good luck, it will be fine..and then you'll be in FL :) We're driving down on Sun, going to Universal Mon, and then driving to my parents house that night..ahh!! Have fun!!

deverna2004 said...

ash, this made me laugh so hard. i'm sorry that flying is so dang stressful, i'm sure i'd be the same way! good luck on your next flight!! will be thinking about you! :D

sextonangie said...

When we fly to Portugal when our two were little we couldn't have done it without our portable DVD player. Honestly it was a life saver!! We bought a few movies (b/c our flight was so dang long) that the kids hadn't seen b4 and had taken some others along that they had loved at the time and they were in "heaven". I would also have to agree with the whole Leapster idea!! Great for Maeve:)

HeatherHoskins said...

I think I just saw my life flash before my eyes! thinking of your experience flying solo with 2 kids makes me anxious just reading this... I'm anxious flying to FL WITH my husband and 2 kids... i can not imagine! Hopefully you find something that works wonders this time!

Russ and Karen Gaston said...

I'll second and third the DVD player. But it is one more thing (not to mention all the movies) that you have to pack. Does maeve like stickers? you could get her a coloring book with pages of stickers and let her have a ball. should keep her occupied for say...15 minutes or so. :) They don't take up a lot of room either.

Christina said...

Oh wow I can relate to your experience! I remember flying when my older daughter was 9 months old and not yet walking. I had one of those purses that went across the chest, and then a carry on bag hanging on another shoulder and then holding my daughter in my arms. Well, I had to take off my purse to place it on the conveyor for inspection. In my nervousness, including difficulty of taking off the purse while holding her...I thought I could just set her down for a quick sec on the belt...and the belt began to move! Oh my, it was one of the most embarassing experiences. People were guffawing at me about my mothering skills! Anyway, what I can tell you is that she is now 11 years old and now I have a 7 year old as well...so I've definitely gotten better with this in time. My advice seems so simple and basic...but my advice would be just to take it SLOW. I used to always rush thinking I'll be in someone's way or something...the kids always sensed my nerves and were SO cranky and irritable because of it. So if you just slow down and do everything carefully and methodically in the most cheerful, patient, unhurried tone possible...somehow the kids just take on the same emotion and feel more at ease too. Good luck to you! Have a good time and a safe flight!!

Anonymous said...

Ashley, You should get one of these:


You can put Henry's car seat in it for at the airport and leave your stroller at home. Then just have your parents buy a cheap stroller to keep at their place for all your visits there. That way you have one less thing to haul through the airport. We have one and it worked well.