We just got back from a whirl wind of flights, family, and friends. We hugged loved ones we haven't seen for way too long and won't see again for much too long. It was joy, and it was crazy. It was exhausting, and it was good.
I also considered it a sort of practice run for our big flight across the ocean come late August. The flight out east was a smashing success. The kids did beautifully. No screaming, peeing or puking involved. Fellow travelers praised us for the kids' contentment. We even had some jolting turbulents at one point. In our back row seats, as we bounced around the kids yelled, "Woo Hooo! This is fun!! It's like a roller coaster!" Yep, kids, just like a roller coaster (minus the tracks and 35,000 foot drop below us.)
I walked off that flight mentally patting myself on the back for what great travelers I've made my kids into. Exposure therapy, I call it.
Well, fast forward to our late night flight home. Apparently, our three year old hasn't yet learned that the terrible two's are supposed to be over with. He reached critical mass where absolutely no form of appeasement or discipline would make him stop screaming his head off.
The entire time, as Aaron and I swapped kids, thrusting them up and over the backs of seats, I kept thinking to myself, "This is only a four and a half hour flight! God help us all on the fifteen hour flight."
At the end of the flight, I gave a very weary, "Thank you for your patience" to our seat mates, God love 'em. I couldn't help giving a snarly look to our very RUDE and unhelpful flight attendant. I was somewhat soothed by the sweet British passenger that said, "If it's any consolation, every mother on the flight has been there too."
I am sure there are spiritual applications I should make in all of this. However, all I have to offer today are some "traveling with children advice" that I plan to implement for our big international flights to come.
So here ya go:
1. Do NOT fly late at night if at all possible. I know the whole idea is that the kids will sleep, making the whole trip easier on you, the parent. But guess what! It doesn't work. Your kid may eventually fall asleep, but only after throwing an I-am-tired-out-of-my-mind tantrum. Or maybe that's just my kid.
2. Bring over-the-head ear phones for toddler/preschoolers, because they HATE earbuds in their ears. Or at least try out what your kid is comfortable with before the flight. Otherwise all of your carefully selected apps and videos may be for naught.
3. Make goodie bags for passengers around you, complete with ear plugs. I've seenexamples of this online, with cute witty notes you put in the goodie bags to help endear your little monsters to those around you. I didn't bother with it this trip. I WILL be doing this next time.
4. Plead for prayer, prayer, prayer!! I walked on that last flight over-confident, mentally and spiritually unprepared. You better believe I am going to be asking/begging every last one of you to be holding up in prayer our future flight, move, and transition.
There you have it, my take-aways from our not-so-pleasant flight.
Did I mention our car battery was dead when we got to the parking lot?