We are in the midst of preparations for our first plane trip with two kids. Ben is very excited for both the flight and the trip (to Germany to visit Ian’s family). Molly is extremely excited for the trip but is telling everyone that we are travelling by school bus, so the airplane might come as a bit of a shock.
I’m a little trepedatious since our last flying-with-child experience was an unmitigated disaster. Ben was about 1 ½. The trouble started at Heathrow when we went through security and the guy, who I’m pretty sure was modeling his look off of Ringo Starr circa 1964, told me that of course I was allowed to bring all of the baby food, milk, juice, etc. ON the plane; I just had to taste it first.
“Taste it?” said I. “Taste it,” said Ringo. “All of it?” said I. “Everything you want to bring on the plane,” said Ringo. “Bottoms up,” said I as I took a slug of lukewarm milk and chased it with a spoonful each from assorted jars of English baby foods, then bid a sad farewell to the junior-sized juice boxes and the shelf-stable tetrapaks of formula that I had counted myself so lucky to find at that Boots in Windsor (“Won’t these be perfect for the flight?” I had said happily.) “You don’t have to throw them out!” cried my obviously childless friend Ringo before I explained the physics of the opened tetrapak.
Having gained an appreciation for the surprisingly tasty quality of English baby food, we continued on to the gate where we gave Ben a dose each of Children’s Benadryl and ibuprofen (*on-the-paeditrician’s-orders-don’t-judge-me) and boarded the plane.
Once on board, we carefully secured Ben’s carseat in the seat between us, buckled him in, and watched his eyes droop as he finished his bottle and the rest of the passengers settled in around us. We (and by we I mean everyone who had realized that they were stuck on a plane with a baby for the next 7 hours) breathed a collective sigh of relief and sat back to enjoy a peaceful flight.
Then the flight attendant said those fateful words: “You have to move that.” “Move…the…carseat?” “Yes. The baby seat has to go in the window seat.” “Uh…why?” “You might not be able to get by in an emergency.” “Listen, my friend, if there’s an emergency, I’ll be taking the baby with me.” *shrug* “You have to move it.”
Well, it was all downhill from there. Ben woke up when we moved the carseat and did not sleep for the rest of the flight, in large part because it took me an hour to track down our favourite flight attendant to ask her to fill Ben’s bottle. *deep sigh* “I’ll have to see if we have enough milk.” By the time we landed I was pretty sure the rest of the passengers were plotting to toss us out the window, led by the angry nun who had the misfortune to be seated right behind us.
So this time around we’re going to be prepared for anything. We fly out around 9:30PM so in an ideal world Ben and Molly should sleep the whole time, but we are also bringing a selection of activities to keep two kids (and their parents) distracted for at least 7 hours. Or possibly 7 days.
Overkill? Maybe. Or just enough kill… I guess we’ll find out.
On further reflection, maybe I should pack a whole lot of chocolates and tiny liquor bottles to pass out to the other passengers as necessary. They’re under 100mL, right?