On a recent trip, my husband and I had what we thought was a brilliant revelation: Let's book our flight for the baby's nap time so that she will fall asleep while we are in the air!
Well, as it turns out, Rhodes Scholars we are not. Because this seemingly-logical maxim is just not true. Like, not even in the slightest.
Like many things in parenthood that defy logic and even the time-space continuum, “If/Then” statements do not hold true in our world. And our very colorful flight recently reminded me of this.
There was a day, back when our youngest was a tiny little thing, that we fooled ourselves into thinking that we had a modicum of control over the way a flight with kids would turn out, but my friends, we have been made fools of by the universe. Because as it turns out, when children can walk, all bets for comfortable travel are off.
And there are certain Absolute Truths that one must acknowledge when traveling with these TNT Bundles on Wheels, also known as Toddlers.
The sooner you can accept your (hopeless and helpless) fate, the better off you will be.
So here are some helpful tips if you are flying with your toddler/s in the near future!
1 – DO NOT CRACK OPEN YOUR KINDLE AND/OR MAGAZINES, BOOKS, NOT EVEN THAT DAMN SAFETY PAMPHLET IN THE BACK SEAT POCKET OF THE CHAIR IN FRONT OF YOU.
What do you think this is, a time to educate and entertain yourself? Here’s the only thing you need to read: “You are about to be owned for x- hours straight.” [Insert length of flight here.]
2 – DO NOT POP IN YOUR EARBUDS AND ATTEMPT TO LISTEN TO A PODCAST. YOU MUST STAY ALERT FOR THE SOUND OF YOUR CHILD SCREAMING WHEN SHE BECOMES PARTIALLY STUCK UNDER THE SEAT IN FRONT OF YOU.
As it turns out, that space is in fact big enough for a carry-on bag. Also, a toddler.
3 – COMPLIMENTARY PRETZELS ARE FOR SMASHING IN THE BAG AND THEN POURING EVERYWHERE, NOT FOR EATING. (YOU IDIOT.)
All I'm gonna say is, good thing you don't have to pay for those little bags, because you will go through thirteen of them. Also? Little known fact: Sprinkling pretzel crumbs up and down the aisle will help you find your way to the bathroom and back on those 15 trips you will take with your 2-year-old!
4 – PLANES ARE ALWAYS A SHOE-FREE ZONE (DUH)–---BILLIONS OF FECAL BACTERIA ON APPENDAGES BE DAMNED.
And removed shoes should be stored as far underneath your seat as possible, so as to require Cirque-du-Soleil-level contortions to retrieve at flight’s end.
5 – DIAPERS ARE TO BE POOPED IN, TO NEAR-SPILLOVER CAPACITY, AND PREFERABLY AT THE FIRST MOMENT THAT YOU BEGIN TO THINK THINGS ARE CALMING DOWN.
This act of dominance is to remind you that there is no place in the universe worse to attempt to wipe down a dirty butt than a similarly dirty--but also impossibly tiny--plane bathroom that strangely already smells like crap. Hmm.
6 – AND AFTER ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED TASKS ARE ACCOMPLISHED, BIG SMILES WITH SMALL TEETH ARE TO BE FLASHED, REMINDING YOU THAT ALL THIS FLIPPING CHAOS IS HAPPENING AT THE HANDS OF A DAMN CUTE KID, AND ONE YOU ARE GLAD TO BE CHASING PLACES–EVEN DOWN THE AISLE OF A PLANE.
Happy traveling, fellow parents!
Let’s not pretend we’ve got any control over this racket and just enjoy those big, toothy smiles while we can.