If there is a secret sauce to flying with kids, we certainly haven’t found it.
Asha has traveled a lot and not because she is good at it (yet) but more because as parents we erase memories of the bad moments. She had her first plane ride to New Orleans at 6 months of age. She did just fine mainly because she was a little nugget that sat around and observed the things around her without much complaining. When she turned one we became more bold and decided to take an overnight plane to Amsterdam. We figured that she would be fast asleep at the take-off time of 10:00pm and that all three of us would arrive well rested to our vacation destination. It didn’t quite go as planed because not only was she not asleep, but she got completely wired after seeing all the buttons and screens; it was impossible to keep her from jumping in our neighbor’s seat for the rest of the night.
It did get easier over time, but we can count on at least one or two tantrums when planning a plane ride. It doesn’t last very long, these tantrums; and they usually involve loud screaming and shouting, or some kind of spillage resulting in absolute stickiness, or the uncontrollable need to move around the plane when not allowed or all of the above at once. Regardless of these hair pulling moments, I am still amazed each and every time that Asha makes it through because a plane ride basically represents everything against a child’s need to be mobile, inquisitive, loud, and playful. (Her biggest achievement so far was the 9 hour non stop plane ride from Chicago to Oahu, Hawaii). Devang and I never get mad at the shenanigans. We simply take a deep breath and hope that the kid will pass out soon enough which she usually does. Some people might say “at least you can get some booze on the plane”, to which I say “it quickly becomes an expensive puddle of booze in either your lap or the child’s and then you deplane with a kid that smells of whiskey while others judge you as a parent.”
For father’s day weekend this year, we decided to brave it once again and travel to North Carolina with both kids. It’s a game changer for sure. But with all the odds against us, we still made it just fine. And no matter how hard it gets, all I want to do all the time is travel with my kids. It is such a high when we are in a new destination! I wish it was my full-time job!