Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Traveling with a Toddler

As I mentioned, Evie and I headed out last Wednesday for a visit in Nashville. Kemi was already on this side of the country for work (and had been for 10 days already!) so we were pretty anxious to see him.  Evie has now flown three times in her short 15 months of life, and I've learned a few things along the way. I've also had some epic fails, but that's for another post.

1). Be prepared. Be so prepared. Like some kinda mom Scout.  Have backups for your backup. But only for those things that will make or break your trip. Like the backup to the backup blankie.

Evie cannot, will not, not gonna happen sleep without her blankie and binky.

2). Don't bring anything unnecessary on the flight. Be prepared, but don't overpack. Because when your flight gets delayed and you're stuck in the Detroit airport for FOUR HOURS (ya, that post is on it's way) that hundred pound diaper bag and 25 pound toddler are going to rip you apart.

3). Accept the generosity of others, and be generous in return. On the first leg of our flight, it seemed everyone around us bought a meal and several folks handed Evie their bag of cookies. I don't normally let her eat a lot of sweets, but on a four hour flight you'll do what you gotta do. She happily clutched two bags of cookies in one hand while she munched on a cookie in her other. Towards the end, I noticed a man a few rows up was traveling alone with a little girl about Evie's age, so towards the end I passed him a pureed fruit pouch. You woulda thought I had handed him a hundred dollar bill. There's a camaraderie amongst parents traveling with young kids, I tell ya.
After a layover in Charlotte, we boarded the second leg of our flight to Nashville. This time, Kemi had upgraded us to first class (he travels so much he can usually upgrade for free).  I was really nervous about having a little one in first class, but the woman we sat next to was about my age, and nice as could be. She was happy to entertain Evie, even holding her and letting Evie color in the back of her textbook!  By that time, Evie was bored with me and a fresh face was a welcome change for her. When we landed, the man in front of us turned around and asked if he could carry my bags for me. People really are nicer in the South.

Riding the moving sidewalk for the millionth time :)

2). Novelty, novelty, novelty.  The best trick I have is to pack little toys she's never seen before. That always holds her attention a lot longer than anything else.

3). Don't be afraid to bring out the big guns. For those of you who know me really well, you know I feel pretty strongly about limiting kids "screen time" whether that be TV, iPad, iPod, iTouch, i-fill-in-the-blank.  However, the one time I think entertaining a kid with an i-something is totally acceptable is a time when you wouldn't expect an adult to stay entertained for that length of time. I had to really tell myself that packing the iPad and saving it for the tail end of a four hour plane ride was ok.  And it really helped, to be honest. Towards the last hour, Evie was getting restless, and the jig was up. She had played with every toy, eaten every snack, I had told her my best jokes, and that was when I unveiled the all powerful iPad. And she was quiet as a mouse watching videos of jungle animals for 30 minutes.  Not too shabby.

4). Once you arrive at your destination, keep your little one on hometown time. I know this wouldn't work as easily with an older kiddo who sees through the scam, but for the babes who don't know any better, it can be a lot easier the day you arrive back home after the trip if you've just kept them on their hometown time zone the entire time. We kept Evie on Phoenix time, and it made my life a lot easier getting back.

That's all I got, besides asking the people you're visiting to have a stiff drink waiting for you. Any other tips I missed?

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