When I was a kid, there was a place on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland that had literally thousands of t-shirt designs that you could get ironed on to a blank t-shirt of your choice. I’m pretty certain I got a Ghostbusters design because I was hip like that. My dad got a shirt that declared, “I survived Catholic school.” He of the nuns-rapping-on-knuckles-with-rulers generation wore it proudly for many years.
If that store is still open, I would like them to make me a “I survived flying with a 19 month old twice in four days” t-shirt because damn, I earned it. This past weekend, Rex, me and his grandparents flew out to California to meet up with Mr. X who was finishing up a business trip and to visit some of his relatives who live out there. Three days later we repeated the insanity and flew back to Texas this time with Mr. X in tow.
In his defense, Rex was as good as a 19 month old toddler could be meaning he cried, but not too much, he played “boo” with the lady behind him who thought it was just adorable, even after the 30th or so time and he deigned to sleep in his seat for the 20 minutes we descended into San Diego. The rest of the time he sucked the very life force out of me as it was primarily my lap that he anchored yet wiggled all 32 pounds and 34″ of himself around. To avoid this life suckage on the plane ride home, I thoughtfully placed Mr. X next to Rex since Mr. X did not have the pleasure of Rex’s company on the flight out because he was already in California. Best decision EVER.
I’ve learned a few lessons from this adventure which I will now share with you, good reader, so that you can avoid my mistakes.
- NEVER FLY WITH A TODDLER.
- Repeat 1.
- If you MUST fly with a toddler, draw the limit at short duration flights to destinations within one time zone of your own. Limit these trips to mercy visits to elderly relatives who are on their death bed. Do not go unless you have received a note from said elderly relative’s doctor confirming that they are in fact dying and will not last longer than one week.
- Even then, weigh carefully whether or not this relative will provide a decent inheritance upon their death to justify the colossal effort that is flying with a toddler.
- If you do fly with a toddler, despite items 1 – 4, don’t bother buying them their own seat. They will whine to high heaven while sitting in their expensive seat and car seat that you dragged onto the the plane and buckled into said seat for their comfort and safety. They will literally try to throw themselves out of the seat into your lap.
- Don’t bother with the portable DVD player with the DVDs of John Deere tractor equipment moving earth. Your toddler will much more interested in opening and closing the lid of the DVD player, banging the entire apparatus on the tray table or worse, throwing it on the floor.
- See item 6 with respect to the Magnadoodle.
- Praise Grandma’s quick thinking in buying cheap car toys from Target and bringing them along as these, far more than the expensive toys you got, will keep his attention for more than 5 minutes.
- Check the toddler’s diaper often for a Code Brown while hoping and praying that the child has the good sense to wait to void until you are at least within range of the airport so that you can legitimately strap him in his car seat rather than risk death by insanity at having to change a child in an airplane lavatory.
- Congratulate yourself on surviving the flight with your hair, sanity and clothes mostly intact. Then go back to one.