Wednesday, June 22, 2011

flying with a toddler

Early, early this morning I did a stupid, stupid thing.

I boarded a plane in Burlington Vermont with a layover in Detroit, headed to Milwaukee...

all alone...with Addison.

Flying alone with a curious, cranky toddler should be one of those things never attempted by anyone, let alone by an exhausted 29 week pregnant woman.

Ye, Addison, you may use my belly as a pillow. No, Addison, it is not a kicking ball with which you can stretch your little legs.

I don't know how many of you other heart surgery moms have concerns about this, but since Addison has two separate metallic devices in her heart, we were told to not let her go through security.

Therefore, EVERY TIME. I have to have the super awkward pat down/gloved massage in front of the curious bystanders at the airport.

Redefining embarrassment as you are "felt up" by a female security officer, I hate knowing that I have to do this EVERY TIME.

Last time I flew with Addison, the security officer assigned to me, horrifically enough, goes to my church.

Pretty sure as she was lifting back my pants to make sure I didn't have a dangerous weapon hidden in my underwear lining, she was humming a few bars to "Blest Be the Tie that Binds"

Once past security and finally on board, I worked diligently to time things so that Addison would sleep through most of the first 2 hr flight.

It was perfect. She was tired, rubbing her eyes just as we settled in. I gently rocked her to the precious land of slumber which meant that I could close my eyes as well....just the way it should be.

Until we sat on the runway waiting to take off for an hour...causing her to wake up- wide eyed and refreshed ready to play- just in time for takeoff.


Trying to keep a toddler on your lap for 2 hours on a cramped airplane when what she really wants to do is get down, play and show off those hot therapy a bit like trying to convince jello to stop jiggling when you shake the container. I began to pray that I would sprout a couple of extra arms as I attempted to keep her still, juggle her bottle/bags of snacks, pull out various toys to entertain her and save the hair of all passengers around us as she would lunge quickly, seeking to find fulfillment out of pulling strands of the sweetly forbidden hair. Also, on her bucket list was climbing over the back of my chair, making the "bass mouth" to passengers behind us and not understanding when they didn't even look at her.

An elderly Asian gentleman sat next to us. Addison was convinced that he was her soul mate. Hell bent on getting smiles from him...she flirted and cooed, clutching painfully at his arm hairs until she finally got a reaction. She settled back, happy for one minute before moving on to her next victim...

...the college aged guy sitting in front of us. She pulled herself up on my lap, holding onto the back of his chair, clearing her throat in an obvious call for attention.

When he ignored her, she plopped back down, found a napkin and sprang back up.

To my horror, I realize she had just grabbed it not to play with- but to repeatedly bang the back of his head with...waiting for him to turn around so that she could flash him her brilliant smile.

Flirt. (thankfully it was a napkin and not a book or a toy)

And then of course there's arriving at the Detroit airport and realizing that your lovely 1.5 hr layover now consists of 30 seconds- attempting to manage flying magically across the airport, holding onto your bouncing baby bump and pushing the hot pink stroller as if it was on fire.

During the unexpected run, I saw a sign adverting an all you can eat pancake breakfast. I almost gave up my flight entirely for a stop at that blessed oasis.

But I made it. Sweating. and hungry. and realizing that Addison didn't get a chance to get out and wiggle between flights.


At least she refrained from screaming bloody murder for the entire flight like she did back in December.

But it's incredibly draining standing on your head, holding your breath, pulling off magic tricks to keep her happy and still, praying that a repeat incident isn't around the corner. (singing at the top of your lungs to a planeful of passengers to entertain her somehow no longer seems embarrassing as the alternative is her screaming with no will to ever stop)

It was while attempting to hold her still and keep her preoccupied while she was intent at lunging towards strangers and whining/crying when constrained that I had new sympathy and understanding for those animals who eat their young.

Not that I was thinking murderous thoughts, mind you.

It was just a very, very long three hours. 

I am so excited about the prospect of a week with my family, and the fact that I was totally able to surprise my youngest sister for her 21st birthday.

But always in the back of my mind...ruining the the fact that I have to do this all over again when the visit is over...

Would Fed Ex ship a baby?????


  1. When we had to travell overseas with our little one, i was so thankful Aline had her own seat. That helped. Good luck for the flight back home.But first enjoy your time with the family.By the way very nice surprise for your little sis.


  2. lol oh you poor thing.....Enjoy the good times with your family. :)

  3. I have never taken any of my kids on flights, but, after your wonderful description, I feel like I have flown with you and Addison! Enjoy your time with your family! Safe travels back home!

  4. Girl, you have a way with words. A stressful situation and yet, I find myself laughing so much as I read. Yes, I know it is rude to laugh at this, but honey, I have so been there (minus the pregnant part and I had a lime green stroller).

  5. You're crazy! You're a better woman than me :) Glad you made it okay.

  6. Way to go, Super Mommy! I've flown once alone with Donovan but it was when he was 6 months old. I'll be flying alone with him in a few weeks, toddler attitude, behavior and all. I'm thinking my flight will be a lot like yours...

  7. Not sure how I missed all of these posts??? What a great surprise for your sister and what a fabulous time for you and Addison. It looks like you are both enjoying your vacation and family time!


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