A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

Vacation with toddlers…Part 1

on July 17, 2013

Let me preface this post with an explanation of why there are no photos. Because there’s no humanly way to get photos when you are a huge ball of anxiety taking 2 toddlers on their first plane ride.

I have family in Arizona and due to distance and life we aren’t terribly close but we all try to be there for each other when major life milestones occur. So when my oldest niece invited us to her wedding, we were super excited to go. What’s not exciting about toting two toddlers across the country?

When we first told the Gorilla, our 3 year old, he told us in no uncertain terms that he was NOT flying on a plane. Absolutely no way. Any time we brought it up we were told adamantly that it was not happening and if we pressed the issue, it typically ended in salty tears and piercing screams. A few days before we were scheduled to leave, the Gorilla changed his tune and suddenly seemed excited for the trip. I was overjoyed. Then one of my best friends reminded me that it was probably Binxy that I should be worried about with flying, not the Gorilla. I panicked. She was right. The Gorilla had been so vocal about not flying that I never thought that my little girl would protest the idea in any way at any time. I. Was. Wrong.

We woke our little angels up at 3 a.m. on July 10th and took off on our hour and a half drive to the airport with my parents. The adults hadn’t slept much but everyone seemed fairly cheerful and we were all equipped with coffee to make the early morning commute a little more bearable. The kids were happy and awake which we thought was ok because it could work to our advantage – by the time we took off, they would be so tired they’d just sleep on the flight.

As we unloaded the van and caught the bus to the airport my anxiety began to build. It would be awhile before we boarded. The kids needed to eat. We needed to get through security. Did I remember to pack everything? What were we thinking? The kids wanted to run around the airport. We had to figure out how to print our e-tickets & get our luggage checked. We did it. We made it through security. Now we just had to wait.

As we waited, I became more anxious. I saw the annoyed glances from some of the other passengers as they watched our kids run and scream and occasionally cry in the waiting area at the gate. I knew they were praying we weren’t on their flight. Finally, it was time to board. The Gorilla was excited. Binxy was tired. Really tired. We entered the plane, found our seats, and got situated. Now I haven’t been on a plane for 4 years but I feel that they have shrunk since then. We crammed our carry on bags, iPads, and family of 4 into 3 seats. Big Daddy Byron and I pulled out books, crayons, stickers, juice, and snacks. We were prepared. Then the plane took off.

The Gorilla loved take off. He was curious and excited. Binxy had had enough. She was tired and not having any of this take off crap. She squirmed. She whined. She screamed. For the first half of the flight, we were “that family.” After take off, the Gorilla got bored. No amount of crayons, books, or snacks could keep him happy. Our kids pretty much let the flight crew and all other passengers know that sitting in one cramped spot for 2-3 hours was bullshit and they were rebelling. At one point another passenger seated a little bit behind us asked for a seat change. I’d like to think it wasn’t because of our darling screamers but who knows. I couldn’t hear what she gave as her reason above the shrill shrieks of my 21 month old.

We were able to calm the Gorilla by this time with bribery. We promised to buy him whatever Thomas the Tank items he wanted as soon as we landed in Arizona. We would find the closest store and go shopping right away. I silently thanked God I brought our credit card and then it was up to me to calm Binxy because she’s mama’s girl through and through. However, finally I passed Binxy off to my mom. I was going to lose it. I was sure I was deaf in at least one ear and felt bruised from the constant kicking and punches from her little fists for nearly 2 hours.

5 minutes. It took 5 minutes with Grammy for her to calm down and go to sleep. SERIOUSLY!?! Whatever. I didn’t even care. The screams had subsided and I knew the ringing in my ears would eventually go away too. I relaxed for the remaining ride until we departed from the plane. As soon as we stepped off a couple people threw us the side-eye but then there were those who looked at us sympathetically and a couple even made passing comments about how they hoped our next flight went better. Way to make my anxiety rise about the next flight.

Thankfully we had a short layover and before we knew it we were back on another plane. I felt sick. Could we survive another couple of hours of screams? It turns out…we could. Because there wasn’t much screaming. The Gorilla was content because he knew he had won and was going on a shopping spree when this plane landed.  Binxy (the traitor) sat with Grammy and was as happy as a clam. The one time she made a peep, a friendly flight attendant fed her some yogurt (literally, spoon fed her the first few bites!), and she calmed down. I was relieved that they were so well-behaved but was on edge that at any moment they would snap and so I had myself an adult beverage and tried to relax. I was grateful when we landed without any major incidents. The other passengers were grateful too…several of them who had been on the first flight with us mentioned in passing that the kids did much better the 2nd time around. Thanks for noticing people, thanks for noticing.

We had made it to Arizona. Big Daddy Byron and the Gorilla went to claim our bags as Binxy and I headed to the rental car desk. The man there was super nice and actually from our neck of the woods in PA. Big Daddy and the Gorilla arrived and watched Binxy run around as I finished up the transaction. The rental car guy threw in our car seats for free because he said he could tell we were good parents from what he had seen while I was filling out the paper work. I told him, “You obviously weren’t on our flights, but thank you. We’ll take it.” He also hooked us up with a Dodge Charger because my “big brute” of a husband would “get a kick out of driving it.” Yep, every man’s dream is to drive a Charger loaded down with 2 car seats and screaming toddlers. I didn’t care though.  I was so happy we were back on the ground and he was friendly that he could have rented me a tandem bike and we would have pedaled off to our hotel with smiles on our faces.

Speaking of our hotel…tune in later this week for part 2 of our vacation with toddlers…it turns out that resorts aren’t so kid-friendly…


3 responses to “Vacation with toddlers…Part 1

  1. […] Vacation with toddlers…Part 1 Jul […]

  2. […] Vacation with toddlers…Part 1 Jul […]

  3. […] caught up with part 1 here and part 2 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: