I’ve written a lot about flying with kids. But air travel with little ones is far from an exact science.
Even when you do everything right, it can all go wrong.
I did everything I usually do to ensure an easy flight. I had the car seat, installed rear-facing on the seat I bought for my toddler, everything ready to go. I hadn’t laid him down for a nap before leaving for the airport (though he did sleep during the drive there.) We had lunch while we waited to board. We changed his diaper. I nursed him before we took off.
The stage was perfectly set for my little guy to fall asleep at take-off just as he did on the trip up. Except he didn’t.
No big deal, I was prepared for this. I packed our bags with everything a happy baby could want: favorite toys, new toys, snacks, water, iPad. I had my boobs close at hand, ready to save the day. Except he didn’t want any of it.
What he wanted to do was scream when he didn’t get his way (which he isn’t very good at communicating right now.)
What he wanted was to be busy and get out of his seat.
What I wanted didn’t matter because he is as strong-willed as they come and has a high-pitched scream to match and while I don’t usually give in just because he fusses, the disapproving glares of the other passengers and snarky comments by the 20-something dudes headed to a golf weekend sitting in front of us doesn’t help an exhausted mommy with sticking to her parenting guns.
And so, he got what he wanted while it was safe. He got to get out of his seat and be busy while the seat belt light was off. He got to climb and look around and play peek-a-boo with his sisters. He got to sit with daddy and brother, stand around on the floor between them and push the TV buttons all he wanted.
But he didn’t get to run around the airplane. And he did get to sit back in his seat when the seat belt sign came back on for landing.
And we all survived. Each of us made it to our destination, those of us going home and those heading for the golf course. And if nothing else, I can be proud of my car seat installation which was rock-solid despite it’s being used as a jungle gym.