Soaring the Cranky Skies: Flying with My Toddler


Okay, I knew flying with Little Lewie, my now 21 month old, would be difficult. There's a reason why there are plenty of websites created just for giving advice about flying and traveling with kids. I took it seriously. Really. I hid some of Little Lewie’s favorite toys for weeks and bought new, interesting ones to entertain him on the flight. I packed his favorite, comfort blanket. (I swear my kid is just like Linus from Snoopy and the Peanuts gang.) I packed milk and favorite snacks, and I even bought Little Lewie his own seat (not cheap to say the least).

The trip itself was planned around Little Lewie. We love traveling to the West Coast and to Europe, but for us, traveling to those destinations are at least six hours away by plane. Instead, we agreed on going to the Bahamas—it was only a three hour flight, and we could fly nonstop from New York. Surely, he will be able to handle a three hour flight, I thought. He might be a little cranky in the beginning, but we’ll be able to entertain him or help him fall asleep. I even called his pediatrician; the nurse assured me that Little Lewie wouldn’t need any type of sedative. “He’ll be fine for three hours,” she said.

So, less than three days ago, we woke up Little Lewie at 5 a.m., so we could get him dressed and ready to leave with us for the airport. (We had a 9 a.m. flight.) He seemed to be in good spirits and feeling well. He drank his entire morning bottle and even had a little bit to eat. Every time I glanced at him from behind my seat, he was smiling or at least looked pleasantly amused. As we crossed the border into New York, however, Lewie began to vomit uncontrollably. “Oh my God, we need to pull over,” I gasped as my husband pulled onto the shoulder of the highway. Our Little Lewie never gets sick. I mean never. But there, all over his brand new travel outfit and car seat, was a nasty yellowish (well now you get the picture). We pulled him out of his car seat onto the grass, and my husband cleaned up the car seat while I began to change Little Lewie into the one and only outfit I packed in his diaper bag. (Thank goodness we didn’t need another one.) We weren’t exactly prepared for a vomiting episode. Baby wipes and Dunkin’ Donuts napkins were all we had. Somehow, my poor little one managed to get vomit in his hair and so while I cleaned him up for the most part, he still smelled like vomit for the rest of plane trip—not exactly ideal for my husband and I who already get travel sickness on airplanes.

Getting our tickets and passing through security at the airport went relatively smooth, but we were dumb to take him out of his stroller at the gate. I had the bright idea of trying out his new little backpack, monkey harness. (Yes, I know, it’s like a leash for kids.) The harness was recommended for toddlers in an airport. After all, I didn’t want him to run out of my reach and get lost in the crowd. Well, Little Lewie didn’t appreciate his monkey buddy. If fact, he loathed him. Every time I would tug on the tail to let Little Lewie know he was going in the wrong direction, my child would scream, jolt backward, and hit his head on the floor, which prompted, of course, a louder fit of screaming and crying. People at the airport scolded me with their dagger eyes—What an awful mother. She needs a leash and still can’t control her own kid. I felt shameful. My husband tried to help me, but as Little Lewie used all of his might to free his body from the backpack, my husband’s newly purchased smoothie tipped over and spilled all over the airport carpet. We had nothing to clean it up. We used everything we had to clean up Little Lewie’s vomit. Now people really hated us. Evidently, it appeared that we not only couldn’t control our own kid, but now we were the white trash that made messes at the airport and didn’t clean up after ourselves…TO BE CONTINUED

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