Monday, March 21, 2011

Toddler travels

Flying is fun and it’s exciting or it’s stressful and scary. Or both when you happen to have toddler twins on your hands. There are numerous articles and blogs and forums full of advice on how to manage the expedition all moms and dads fear and I read them all!

Before we embarked on our transatlantic journey I did my homework.
I talked about the trip weeks before to London and Lola (aka LoLo); I bought new books and toys and stickers; I packed their favorite DVD’s; I made a list of food to bring, snacks to pack, changes of clothes for everyone and had secured bulk head seats well in advance. “Everyone survives it, so will we!” The last item on my “to do” list was to call the pediatrician to ask about Benadryl, or as my well-traveled mom friend claims, the only thing I really need for a peaceful journey.  “It knocks them out…” 

The nurse picks up the phone and I confidently ask if it’s ok to give LoLo half a pill each. “You want to drug your child????” the sturdy voice asks with so much guilt in it, I suddenly question myself. “How could I possibly take drugs into consideration” given our organic, everything homemade, healthy lifestyle? Shame on me!

The day arrives and we high-five with hubby as we smoothly go through security with baby bottles filled with milk, feed LoLo their dinner and make friends with everyone around. “Not sure why everyone says this is terrible!” We board a plane on time, settle in our seats and wait, and wait, and wait. The plane doesn’t take off for two hours; within the first 15 minutes we’ve gone through all the new toys, books and have cheerios falling out of all cavities. Now LoLo is crying, while the entire plane is busy either finding their earplugs or giving me the look directed at a mother that can’t handle her children. By the time our meals arrive we’ve done about 40 circles around the cabin. We can’t eat, because we can’t hold the tray; LoLo wants to do anything but sleep despite the fact that we chose the time of flight according to their sleep schedule. There is just so much excitement around. Flashing lights and seatbelts and new faces and turbulence. Their favorite video only keeps their attention for about 10 minutes while the captain keeps reminding everyone to stay buckled because of safety. It feels that our safety may be more at risk from our kicking, screaming toddlers as they fight the buckles and the seatbelt and we apologetically smile (sort of) at the surrounding passengers.  As the last resort, I find the stickers at the bottom of one of the four carry-ons; the peace is short lived, the results just the opposite. 

Eight long hours later we landed.  We’ve listened to crying in stereo most of the journey and so did everyone else. Needless to say, there weren’t many “they’re so cute” comments as usual. I sympathize with those haters – I used to be one of them when flying single with one handbag and no stickers. Hubby and I look at each other with relief as we push our two exhausted sleeping children through the passport control. As I peel off a “You did it” star from the back of his shirt, I only wish I could call the pediatrician’s office right away: “Hello, nurse? Remember me? Twin mom flying across the Atlantic? Just for future records:  I want to drug my children!” 

1 comment:

  1. I hear ya! We used to live/work in Africa and 36 hr travel journeys were part of our lives every 1-2 years as we ventured back to Canada. I once did the whole journey on my own with a 7 wk old baby, nursing him between two strangers, and being totally baricaded into my seat by the 'everyone told me to get it' bassinet. I thought that was the worst experience a girl could ever have until that child grew and we added another baby into the mix. Even with 2 parents, travelling with toddlers/preschoolers is nightmarish. I'm happy to report that on a recent 10 hr vacation journey, we had none of those issues (kids now 9&7). Hubby & I were super pleased to see them manage themselves with their chapter books, snacks, etc in their own little backpacks which they carried themselves. They took care of their own sweatshirts and Gameboys. Ahhhh... and I might have even had a cup of tea on that flight if we hadn't added a third kid into the mix a year ago! LOL.