March 26, 2012

flying 13 hrs with a toddler.

ha. i wish it were a joke, but it isn't. this was our total travel time to italy. oh how i hate layovers. staying in an airport between flights for longer that two hours makes me want to punch myself repeatedly in the face.  i should re-phrase that sentence, "staying in an airport for two-hour layover with a toddler makes me want to punch myself repeatedly in the face" -- the word toddler is key to this crappy equation.
it's important to note that the entire experience was not actually that bad -- seba was pretty normal for a two-year-old and i don't have any extreme complaints.  that being said, i tend to compare my current "flying with a toddler"situation to either my memories of flying completely alone (ohhhh... i miss you) or my memories of flying with seba as a newborn (feed on take off, feed on landing. done and done).  so if you sense my complete lack of love for flying with babies, now you understand where i'm coming from.

so what went well on the flight?  seba was easy to pre-occupy -- all it took was a healthy mix of:
* headphones
* cookies
* fruit
* water
* goldfish crackers
* an iphone
* crayons and paper
* two books
* a window
* a nearby bathroom with sink (for washing hands at least 50 times)
* friendly women around us who wanted to hold and play with seba for 15 minute intervals (free babysitting cha-ching!)
* a daddy who was willing to walk up and down the aisle
* and on the return flight a seat (sooo much better) and meal.  the negative side to this being that we had to purchase him a ticket since he was over 2).

and now the downside to this experience (compared to flying alone of course -- since i definitely know that all parents with toddlers were struggling just as much as we were -- it's so nice to know we're not alone... i hate feeling like the only parent in the world who can't control their toddler-- should the word control and toddler even be allowed in the same sentence together? a question to be answered... in another post.. after i figure it out.. .if i ever do).
anyhow, here is the list:

* lack of sleep for stefano and i (more for stefano.. but i'm not sure he ever sleeps much on planes.. he's usually obsessively watching as many "free" movies as he can).
* four hour stop-over with a toddler who gets his second wind right as we touch down.  oh god guys, the layover was GOD AWFUL.  seba was beyond awake. energetic does not even begin to describe the tasmanian-like state he was in.  running all around and laughing hysterically. wanting to "ride" on the movator over and over and over again.  saying "pee pee" "caacaa" every two seconds just so we bring him to the washroom (a trick to wash his hands -- he loves).
that's it. just those two points... but it was enough to make it a living hell.  i might be exaggerating, but i don't care. i miss sleeping on my flights. drinking and feeling tipsy. relaxing during a layover.
the trade off for boarding first because i'm travelling with a small child? so not worth it.  this may be a short list... but the actual reality of living it was very, very, long.

honestly, vacations just don't feel like vacations anymore.  it's horrible to say, but it's true.  no more thinking "it's okay if i'm packing last minute and i don't get much sleep, i can sleep on the plane".  instead, i'm stressed out, grumpy, over-exhausted to the point of restless insomnia, and looking like a beaten-up drug-addict in withdrawal... and of course i can't help but look around at all the well put-together people on my flight thinking: "how the heck do they look like this after a 9 hour flight? oh that's right -  they slept.

comments? suggestions? questions?

ps. these were the only two photos i took. i think you can guess why.
pps.  seba, mommy loves you even if you are not a good flight companion.  no one's perfect. i forgive you, i just don't want to fly with you until you're old enough to be afraid of the angry look i give you when you're a naughty boy currently just giggle at this look, apparently my frustration  is hilarious.


  1. I would like to dedicate "Wings Beneath my Wings" by Bette Midler to you. Specifically the part about you being my hero. FOR REALS.

    I don't know how you did it. Kris and I decided against going south this year in part because we didn't want to get on a plane with Kale for three or four hours (forget 13!!!).

    Last year our plane got delayed while we were in Cuba and there was a play area just for kids. Like, a gated section of the waiting area full of toys for the kids and couches for parents to chill on. I remember thinking, "Why doesn't every airport have this?!?!"

    1. Hahaha... Trust me: I definitely did not resemble anyone's here during the flight! Oh man, it was difficult. But I just know we're going to do it again and again.. and again.

      What I would have given for a play area!!! Seriously just imagine me going on this damn movator a BILLION times over and over with the child!!! It was HELL!!!

      Why am I suddenly hearing the lyrics to "i believe i can fly"?! oh lord, help me!


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