Soaring the Cranky Skies: Traveling with My Toddler Part II


Okay, so after my little boy burst into a full out tantrum in the airport and forced us to spill a smoothie all over the airport carpet, we picked his limp, screaming body up and proceeded to do the walk of shame all the way until we boarded the airplane. I sighed as I thought we wouldn’t have to wrestle with Lil’ Lewie anymore after finding our seats. Boy was I in for a rude awakening!

I took the window seat, Lil’ Lew reluctantly sat in the middle, and my husband took the aisle seat. We bought a CARES Child Aviation Restraint System, which was supposed to easily keep Lil’ Lew situated in his seat, but as we attached it to the back of the seat and buckled the straps around his little body, our boy fought the straps and screamed with all his might. “I thought this would be better than using our car seat,” I said apologetically to my husband who was losing his patience by the second. Quickly, I reached for our bag of goodies—snacks, books, new toys, etc. “How about a treat, Lewie?” I asked as I grabbed one of his favorite wafer snacks and waved it in front of him. The response was a continuous whine while he pushed my hand with the wafer away. “Okay, let’s look at your new book? Look there’s a chicken. What’s this? Is this an egg? Can you lift up the egg to see what’s underneath?”

“Waah, Waaaaahhhh,” he replied as he proceeded to scoot his little body down the seat and out of the restraint system.

“How did he do that?” my husband asked, surveying the straps.

“Great! In less than two minutes, he figured a way out of the restraint system and the airplane seatbelt. That’s just great!”

We tried the restraint again; this time it seemed to keep him in, but he’d continue to scoot down until the buckle and strap were rubbing against his face and neck.

“That can’t be comfortable,” Lewie mumbled. “I’m going to take him out. It’s making him miserable.”

Fortunately, the flight crew didn’t make us use the system, so we packed it away, but that didn’t end our little boy’s fight. He tried lying on the seat and assuming all types of positions, but to no avail. It was obvious that he was tired, but the airplane seat just wasn’t comfortable. He didn’t want our laps either.

I reached for another toy. “Lewie, look it’s your very own cell phone. It’s your friend. He wants to talk to you. He wants you to enjoy your first flight.”

“Like that will happen,” my husband replied.

Lewie took the phone and appeared to be amused for a few minutes during our lift off. Yes, success, I thought, but when the flight crew started walking down the aisle and handing out drinks, Lil Lewie was miserable once again. He wanted out of his seat altogether. He pushed and pushed my husband’s legs as he shrieked, wanting to have access to the aisle; after all, in his little mind, he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to walk in the aisle like everyone else. We were just mean jerks.

The three hour flight repeated a vicious cycle. Ten minutes of peace and quiet while I entertained him with one of his toys, ten minutes of unrelenting crying and throwing himself off the seat and onto the floor in front of him, and ten minutes of whining while he struggled to get comfortable enough to take a nap. The cycle never stopped, and he was never able to take a nap until our plane landed and we were finally situated in our long awaited hotel room. I crossed my fingers that the flight home would be different. It wasn’t.

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