5000 miles on a plane with a 20 month old
This year we flew out to visit the inlaws in Oregon, which involved four planes, none of which were over two hours late and we didn’t end up in an unintended state like last time, so there was that.
Going out we had to wake an exhausted infant up at 4am and throw her into a car seat in the dark. When we got to the airport, after the 8-month-barf-flight we gave her some Dramamine preemptively and settled into a two hour flight to Chicago in the dark.
Not much happened this leg of the journey. Our plane got in a bit late and we ended up getting to the next gate while they were claiming they were boarding. This meant ITMama was given the choice of changing a dirty diaper or hitting the bathroom herself due to the way things were going. She got the diaper changed, and then we waited for what seemed like 20 minutes before our boarding was available.
The first leg was pretty uneventful, but at two+ hours of flight time and another hour of sitting around waiting to board and stuck on the runway, Maggie was getting annoyed.
ITMama broke out some stickers, and that seemed to fascinate Maggie. We’d brought some painter’s tape also, but it was not where we could reach it.
There had been great plans of bringing her some movies and headphones, but there was about 1 inch of free space and trying to inject a phone or her tablet into this mix was not going to happen.
We managed to bore her to sleep at about hour two of the Chicago to Portland trip, but this only lasted about 40 minutes and then she was up and pissed that this was hour five she was being held in captivity. Pacifiers went flying, bottles were thrown, and for about five minutes while I was in the bathroom she became that baby on the plane.
At one point the attendant came by while Maggie was passed out in our laps and asked if we wanted a beverage – I asked for something in a can as I had a sleeping sometimes kicking infant on my lap. I was told that they generally don’t give out cans, that most parents are able to make it work. Er yeah, thanks United Airlines, I was attempting to save your crew having to clean up a potential spill by using a can with a small opening. I’ll make sure next time I use that 3″ diameter open spill container you give and lay it on top of baby.
Fortunately we were sitting around some people who really didn’t care and had been actively playing peekaboo with her.
A baby we saw in line to board lost it at hour two. Several parents and kids in the flight turned and looked as the baby was walked back to the rear to get a changing and rocking.
We got into Portland about half an hour late, and I had to put a baby car seat in while exhausted… I did a piss poor job of it, but we got her in safely.
The red eye flight back
We left Nashville with one bag and 35 pounds of luggage. When we got to the airport to return we had two bags and about 50 more pounds of stuff.
It was ridiculous. We ended up leaving a box full of stuff for inlaws to bring during visits and borrowing a suitcase as the tote we’d brought was pitifully small.
At the check-in gate we had a 55 pound bag. This had to be slimmed down to 50 pounds or we got to pay an additional $100 to get it home. This left us scrambling to keep up with a toddler, and unpack and repack two completely full suitcases while 20 people were behind us. We also couldn’t get out of line because we’d already checked one of the bags.
On the plane our carry-ons now had a lot more stuff crammed into them as we hadn’t packed by weight, so what I could grab ended up being what was available, and it was mostly volume. We walked in with bags there’s no way I would have believed would fit.
Security became a nightmare as I had two incredibly dense teenagers behind me who couldn’t for the life of them figure out that a man with a baby on his shoulders putting out bins and throwing his stuff down might possibly be doing this for himself, and not for their benefit. I finally had to grab a bin and tell them that they could do their security after I, the baby, and our crap had unloaded into the bins I had placed out there and that they could grab their own bins.
ITMama and baby went through, and then the scanner broke with the lady in front of me so I got to wait an additional two minutes before being allowed to get to the other side.
We preemptively dosed Maggie with some Dramamine as per doctor’s recommendation, and slapped some natural no-barf stick roll-on behind her ears, and headed off from Portland to Chicago.
Maggie was in a mood, and me and ITMama were separated by an aisle for the first time, so Maggie had to be passed back and forth and there was no buffer zone to keep her from whacking the neighbors. There was also no buffer zone for her to stretch out and sleep on both of our laps, so we had to hold her upright most of the time.
It was 11ish Portland time, so 1am Nashville time, and Maggie was able to pass out. However, keeping her upright and not flopped on the neighbor meant tired arms, and figuring out how to use a partially extended tray table to prop my arms up.
The flight was about 3 & 1/2 hours. I was soaked in sweat by the end of it. We ended up in Chicago at 4am waiting on a 5something flight to Nashville. I figured as it was the first flight of the day how delayed could it be? 50 minutes was how delayed it could be because the first officer crew wasn’t there.
Got on the plane, started to taxi to take off when the plane slammed on its brakes as a fire engine with lights flashing started to pull in front of the plane. It slammed on its brakes, turned off its lights, and the plane started to accelerate once again and then the idiots in the stopped fire truck gunned it causing the plane to slam on the brakes again. This made angry baby angry, but she got over it pretty soon.
She passed out at about 6:30am as I recall, and woke up a little after we landed. The day was pretty terrible from there on out as she was in a foul mood, also having her two year molars coming in, and being way off on her sleeping schedule.
ITMama got first nap, me and Maggie went into work to figure out why one of my servers was dead, then came back home played a bit and then she went down for a nap and so did I.
- Dramamine either worked or Maggie no longer gets motion sick
- Anything you bring to entertain yourself will probably not be able to be used
- Stickers and tape occupy babies like nobody’s business
- That stupid pacifier chain that never was useful would be useful here
- Baby no-barf roll on smells a lot like weak Tiger Balm
- Red-eye flights are easier
- Cut baby’s nails before you go into 8 hours of combat with them
- Tell relatives to ship the gifts, use Amazon
- Changing table on a plane is located in the bathroom – so yeah, you’re going to find out how little space you actually need at 35,000 feet
- Flying with a toddler sucks
- Remove baby shoes as they become weapons
- Protect your junk, baby + baby force will be stepping on it
- Holding a baby on a plane for 5 hours will leave muscles hurting you didn’t know you had
- As Maggie’s last free infant in lap flight went, it was average