I’ve been there. The anxiety of how your child will behave on the flight ahead can cause you to loose sleep. As a parent you meticulously write a list hoping that you have included the magical cry stopper. You pack the snacks, the blankies, the lovies and the extra pair of clothes. You pray the night before for a peaceful flight.
You arrive at the airport the next day with the proper mentality. You put all the positive vibes and thoughts into the universe. You manage to park the car and unload the bags and kids. One big step accomplished. You make it through the ticket counter without a meltdown, you get another large check mark. With the holidays, security is a nightmare and your anxiety starts to raise. The lines make you sweat. As you make it through herding your little ones, you feel the looks burn through your skin but you make it through. Then you hit the one time where peace is thrown out the window.
The gate. You try to chase your child, make them tired hoping that they take a nap. You sit at the glass windows watching airplanes take off and land. You point out every truck, machine and person hoping to grab your toddlers attention and keep them quiet. Finally your boarding is announced. You wait as zones 1 and 2 board as you mentally prepare how to get the kids on the airplane while collapsing strollers and rolling bags. Families are called to board. As you embark down the walkway, you step on the plane and immediately see the flight attendants size you up. You know they are praying that your children will be quiet little angels but how will you ever guarantee that. As you take your seats, the plane starts to fill. You feel the stares of the passengers around you and you want to melt into the chair. Yes you are the parents flying with young children and yes you have the right to travel as much as they do.
The flight seems to go to well in the beginning. The baby is asleep while the toddler is quiet for the first hour. Your prayers are being answered! You start to ration out the snacks. Your toddler is starting to fade, the nap that should of happened hasn’t and her meltdown time is going. You whip out all the stops. The special snacks. The iPad. Your sanity and yet it keeps escalating. Who cages up a toddler in their own seat on a metal object flying in the sky? Parents do. And guess what it’s okay! As passengers start to stare, and ring their call lights, the flight attendants start to try and placate the situation. As you silently mouth sorry to the flight attendants, you are looked at with compassion because of a conversation you had earlier where they explained angry passengers make flying with kids worse. The flight attendant told me if you don’t want to hear kids don’t fly. As the passengers complain, I sit there laughing with that little knowledge in my head. The flight attendant is on our side. The toddler melt down continues but at least it’s not a full on screaming match. Instead it’s the infinite whine which is almost worst. As the plane starts to descend you say a little prayer. It wasn’t the best flight ever but it definitely wasn’t the worst.
But don’t let one bad experience stop you. Children have the right to fly. And just know all parents have been there. We aren’t judging. We may be judging the woman hacking up a lung behind us as she is infecting the entire plane with her sickness. But a child screaming is okay. This is how kids show their frustrations. And to the parents who brave flying with your children, you are the true heroes and deserve an applause!