I guess reading tips about flying is sort of like reading tips about giving birth.
It's great to have a plan.
Makes you feel like you have control over how it's going to go.
Makes it feel...predictable.
But like reading tips about giving birth, once you're there, the tips don't mean shit.
Here are some tips I picked up (that actually worked) on our flights.
1) Show off how adorable your baby is when they're not crying.
Before we boarded the plane on our flight down, I let MD run (crawl) around the waiting area to burn off steam. I had read, online, that it's good to get them nice and tired so then they will sleep.
Spoiler Alert: MD didn't sleep a wink on the way down.
There was a benefit though.
As MD is crawling around the gate area, he drew the attention of 99% of our fellow passengers.
He smiled his big cheese-ball grin.
He crawled over to them and stood up using the chair next to them.
He "talked" to them in his adorable little baby voice.
THEY LOVED HIM.
Oh, isn't he the cutest thing ever!?
How old is he?!
What's his name!?
No, that's okay! He can go through my carry-on, because he's so. damn. cute!
My child WORKED that crowd.
So, then when we're flying and he got antsy, and made little screeching noises, they remembered that adorable baby crawling around the airport...and still loved him anyways.
One lady that paid particularly close attention to him pre-flight, ended up sitting behind us.
She played "peek-a-boo" with MD for a good 20 minutes of the flight.
2) PRAY you are sitting by someone with a baby itch
On our flight down to FL we ended up sitting next to a Greek woman who had 2 children and NO GRANDCHILDREN. Now what I remember from learning about Greek culture, is that they are big on family. Not just big on family, big on BIG families.
So here was our awesome luck.
Sitting in a seat next to a woman whose blood was yearning for a grandchild, that she didn't have yet.
MD became her surrogate grandmother for the flight.
She let him listen to her headphones.
She did an AWESOME Daffy Duck impression for him.
She even let him sit on her lap during our descent so he could look out the window and see the ocean/houses/clouds/etc.
It was amazing.
One other pointer that I forgot to mention was something we discovered upon arriving at the airport.
3) The "family" line.
This is something I had heard nothing about in my preparation for our first flight with baby.
We arrived at the airport to depart, and came upon a 20 minute wait in the security line.
We weren't running late, but weren't particularly early either.
Not to mention the fact that waiting in line with a 1 year old is a certain kind of torture.
So we get to the back of the line, and a woman with 2 pre-teen daughter's says,You can go to the family line.
And then she pointed...as if to heaven's gate itself.
A completely empty line next to the 20 minute wait security line.
It had a little sign with a picture of a family with a small child, and a lady in a wheelchair.
We qualified under the former.
So, we hopped in that line and started to follow the pathway.
I half-expected some TSA agents to jump out at us and throw us in security breach jail.
But sure as shit...we got right to the front and were sent through our own security checkpoint.
We had patient TSA agents who are prepared to deal with strollers, wiggly babies, the whole kit and caboodle.
It was amazing.
4) Figure out what your child loves, and stick to that.
We debated about what to pack for the flight.
Bottom line: we only used a small handful of things the whole flight to and from.
-Lovey (MD's blankie which doubled as a comfort item as well as a make-shift neck pillow for when he did sleep (30 minutes on the flight home)
-Binkie (Duh...this is a survival mechanism at this point)
-Sippy cup (Used to alleviate ear pressure during take-off and touch-down)
The iPad use was two-fold.
1) I downloaded 2 episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before leaving.
MD doesn't actually "watch" the episodes, but he loves the songs at the beginning and end
of each episode.
2) Instead of packing multiple (heavy) books for MD, I downloaded 2 of his favorites (Brown
Bear & Llama Llama) to lighten our load. We read through both books over 50 times (easily)
between the two flights.
I will say this...it isn't all sunshine and roses.
Even if you pack items for distraction for every second of the flight, there will still be hiccups.
On our flight home, we had a particularly grumpy crowd.
No peek-a-boo partners.
MD woke up from his (short) nap and let out 2 small cries to show he was upset he didn't sleep longer.
Instead of the sympathetic looks we received on the way down, I turned around to notice the 3 people sitting behind and across from us looking up at me over their reading glasses with looks of, Are you going to take care of that?!
Yes, I am.
I don't need your looks of judgement to determine that you probably don't like hearing my baby cry.
I don't like hearing him cry either.
Look, we have something in common!
-More vacation posts
-Awesome mommy product review/giveaway
-Guest post by children's book author
-Bathroom update (I can't believe I still haven't shown the finished product on that...geesh!)
Stay tuned :)