Friday, March 20, 2009


Thanks again to for hosting Fatherhood Friday, and thanks for visiting!

Sorry soccer fans, but if I posted about youth soccer today, it would probably earn an NC-17 rating, so I'd better pass.

Besides, this week, there's something special in the air!

That's right, we're going to tackle the topic of flying with kids!

If you've never heard about what this is like, that's because anyone who's ever flown with kids either:
1. Died of pure exhaustion and/or frustration (I'm writing this post on the ventilator).
2. Ended up in an insane asylum (still a possibility).

Busy-Mom-E had the opportunity to give a presentation at a conference this week, and we decided to bring the whole family for a mini-vacation, mixed with some work for her.

Let me take you through our itinerary on our travel day:

0000 We finish packing, loading the car (setting a world-record for earliest bedtime on a travel day).

0300 Big Brother awakens due to nocturnal incontinence (thank you, enuresis alarm!)

0305 Mom-E is doing one last load of laundry.

0310 Big Brother calls out, "Dad-E will you sleep with me?" (I stay with him for a few minutes, until he falls back asleep.)

0400 Alarm goes off (@#$! %^&! ^&*!) (also setting a world-record for earliest awakening on a travel day).

0515 The entire family is in the car ready to go (another world-record), and everyone is wide AWAKE! We're off!

0516 Both boys are STILL awake and eating breakfast.

0517 Busy-Dad-E starts nodding off at the wheel. (I've never felt so tired in my entire life.)

0625 We arrive at the airport (BOTH of them, because I had double-vision the entire way).

0640 Check-in/Security. We look like a circus with going through security with our double-wide stroller, diaper bag, laptop bag, Mom-E's bag, shoes, wallpaper, and kitchen sink. We need no less than 5 of those gray bins. Big Brother screams "I don't want to take my shoes off." "Neither do I, buddy, but we have to."

"Hey, can someone xray Little Brother's diaper, just in case he's eaten something metallic recently?"

0642 We put all of are stuff back on/together/etc. As this takes us at least 10 minutes, we cause a pile-up off all the bins going through xray. It looks like that episode of Saved by the Bell when they're making Screech's Secret Sauce and the assembly line backs up. PROPS RIGHT NOW TO ANY SINGLE PARENT WHO HAS GONE THROUGH SECURITY WITH MORE THAN ONE CHILD AND LIVED.

0700 Boarding. The gate agent asks us to "please hurry." "Thanks. We haven't been hurrying for the last 3 hours. I'll just fold up this double-wide stroller in one pocket, put both boys in the other pocket, and we'll waltz onto the plane."

0705 We walk on to the plane. All eyes in coach turn to us. My ESPN tells me that everyone is thinking "Oh $HYT, please don't let them have the seats near us." Yep, we're THAT family.

0715 We depart. Yay!

0845 We arrive at our connection. First flight goes relatively smoothly.

REMINDER THAT THE BOYS HAVE BEEN UP FOR 4 HOURS AT THIS POINT. Smoothness of first flight attributed to shock of being up that early.

0945 Lunch. That's right, lunch. Why not? We all ate 5 hours ago, and cereal and Pop Tarts don't hold you for that long. After all, we wouldn't want any hunger-related fussiness on a 2.5 hour flight, would we?

1015 Connecting flight pushes off. We taxi on the runway for at least 45 minutes. There is a back up of about 20 planes due to the downstream effects of a ground stop for fog earlier in the morning.

1100 Take-off! Both boys are still awake. LET THE FUN BEGIN!!

At this point, the boys have been up for 6.5 hours, plus they got up 2.5 hours early, which equals the equivalent of 9 hours without napping.

Big Brother cuddles in my lap and passes out, to our amazement. I thought for sure he'd have to go potty at least once during taxi, further delaying the flight. I guess the 97 times we took him potty during our layover helped.

Little Brother, on the other hand, does not.

He wants to take a nap, but only after snuggling with his favorite blankie, his "baby."

You mean, Busy-Dad-E, that amidst all of the chaos of getting ready and the 3.5 hours of sleep, you and Mom-E decided to pack the boys' blankets in the checked luggage, rather than the carry-on?

Apparently we did.

Apparently we did wrong. This is about to hurt.

And it did.

Little Brother, a quiet angel during taxi, starts screaming. He screams on and off for a good 90 minutes. He wants to cuddle with his blankie, and we don't have one.

That's okay, we ring our call light. "Yes, could we please get a blanket for him before somebody comes back here and starts beating on us?"

The flight attendant scours the plane, and returns empty-handed. "Sorry, we don't have blankets." "But you're an airplane. That's like McDonald's saying they don't have Happy Meals."


We try everything to calm Little Brother down. Standing. Sitting. Making silly faces. TIckling. Singing. Playing with toys. Mom-E's sweater (mama, you look GOOD in a tank top). Diaper changing. Taking Big Brother away to go potty (twice). Eating. Drinking. COOKIES! (Nope, not even cookies.)

Even Delta's pillow--er, I mean burlap bag filled with sawdust--could calm him down. Nothing would work, except for the blankie we didn't have. This had nothing to do with his ears being congested.

Whether real (probably) or imagined, Mom-E and I feel like everyone on the plane has been staring at us simultaneously for the last 90 minutes, the contempt pouring from their eyes like a white-hot laser beam.

Every second feels like an eternity. 5400 eternities to be exact.

There is no escape. We're sitting in the very last row and can't even turn around and pretend not to notice.

Thoughts of "you were a baby once, too, offer little comfort."

The flight attendants tried to help, but no avail.

One asks if we need a pacifier. NO WAY! WEANING HIM OFF OF THE BINKIE ONCE WAS ENOUGH.

Another gets in his face and asks him "What's your name? Do you like SpongeBob?" Two-words: STRANGER ANXIETY. This only elicits more screaming.

The overhead voice comes on, "Ladies and gentleman, we're beginning our initial descent into..." (the ground? Please, anything to stop the screaming.)

Like magic, Little Brother finally gives up and falls asleep in my arms. (Murphy's Law)

1400 We de-plane, battle-weary and exhausted. Little Brother wakes up. (Murphy's Law)

Can we just take a nap in the terminal? That's better than thinking about the multitude of steps to follow: baggage claim, shuttle, hotel check-in, unpacking. My whole body is going to explode.

And so, kids, what did we learn today about flying with children.
1. BYOB: Bring Your Own Blankets.
2. Drive.

And remember, this was just the outbound flight!

We'll save the return flight adventure for next Friday!

And, because the world has a great sense of irony, while you're reading that post next Friday, we'll be flying...AGAIN! No joke, and this flight will be even LONGER.

Note to self to bring blankets IN carry-on luggage.

Have a good weekend,


  1. Holy Smokes. Sound slike a nightmare. To much to say about this post but the one thing I will say is I am sorry. LOL

  2. Been there, done that, don't reccomend it to anyone....

  3. Sweet Jesus.

    I'm not flying anywhere with my son. Ever. Under any circumstances.

    Thank you and may God have mercy on your soul.

  4. OMG, you're a saint.

    I LOVE lunch at 9:45, by the way! :)

    This is why we never flew much when our kids were little.

    We're flying to NYC next Saturday, though. They're 16 and 14 now. I'll let you know how they do. LOL

  5. We took our son to Asia (14 hour flight)..he was awesome, but he was only 11 months at the time. We are headed back in October, he will be 22 months...I'm a little more worried..

  6. I am so sorry. Reading it all was exhausting enough. We will be flying with both children in August. I am excited about the trip, but not about the flight getting to and from there. I am hoping that the flight back home was a much better experience. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I have flown a lot and it is hard enough for an experienced grown up traveller. Reading your post or even thinking about bringing a child gives me chills. No thank you.

  8. OUCH! thankfully, our little one has traveled the globe already. And lucky us, she has been perfect....but, we are headed to Europe again soon...gonna keep this post in the back of my mind for sure ;-0

  9. i'm so glad that my kids aren't little anymore. we never really took trips that required planes when my girls were younger. road trips can be just has hairy though lol when my son was little, we took a trip that required flying, but he was fine. (he was a toddler)

  10. You've just sealed my decision to drive from Charlotte to Upstate NY this summer. Thanks!

  11. Yep, sounds about right. We got to disrupt the whole palne on our third journey with screaming and crying, and that was just from Mom!
    Where do I go nowowwow, Iye, Iye.. rocking on man!

  12. I always feel bad for those parents. We never flew with young kids...actually haven't flown with our kids yet. Next year is the big trip. The youngest will be five then--hopefully we will be fine.

  13. I hate all those people who give you the condescending look of "you know... you should be a better parent. if i was his parent he wouldn't be crying."

    uh huh. riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    props to you for battling through it. and thanks for the laugh. :)

  14. LOL. least you made it to your destination in one piece. Right?

    I wonder if those flight attendants every babysat before (safely assuming they don't have any of their own). Do they even know what children are? :)

  15. I've just cancelled all our pending family trips for the next 18 years.

  16. Yeah we'll be flying with little cousin twice in of the trips will be across the country so it should be interesting. I can't believe the flight attendants think they could have the answer to soothing your child...if the parents can't sooth the child, no one else can. Aunt-E