We have done the long, 1778 km trek to my in-law’s three times since Cameron has been born.
Those two hours in the plane felt longer than that initial car ride.
4. Bring Expensive Crap: You know all those “toys” that are off limits to your young kid(s)? Things like your iPad, cell phone, Nintendo DSi, laptop, and ear bud headphones? They are still off limits – but they are now off limits to you. Your baby gets free range. Because honestly? That book and that toy car and that stuffed dog (that makes noise and is really annoying to everyone sitting around you) is not at all entertaining to your child at 40,000 feet no matter how much they love these toys at sea level. If you take them out of your bag, they will be thrown on the floor within seconds. So hand over those precious electronics. Even if his slobber completely fries your favourtie gadget, at least it has held his attention for a few minutes, and for that you can be proud.
5. Encourage TV Watching: No matter what your personal beliefs are about using television as a babysitter, you must change them now. I promise you, that little seat-back television that your airplane is equipped with is not going to keep your child’s attention for long. But if it captures his attention for even a minute, that is one less minute that you have to entertain him. So point out colours and shapes and characters on the TV. And don’t you dare try to change the channel to something that might interest you, even if your baby has stopped paying attention. When in doubt remember that Treehouse is always better than a tantrum.
6. Pack Bottles: Don’t let those cup holders on your diaper bag go to waste. If you have two, pack two bottles. One with water or milk (or another baby’s choice beverage). Encourage baby to drink while taking off and landing. This will help prevent his poor little ears from popping. Fill the other, opaque bottle with wine and sneak it onto the plane. Encourage yourself to stop drinking if ever your baby really needs you. And try not to get the bottles confused. Actually – scratch that. Anything to encourage sleepiness, right?!
7. Become Adept at Selective Listening: Not only will this help you ignore your baby’s cries and the cries from the other baby on the plane who is only crying because your crying baby woke her up, it will also help you ignore that lady who is sitting in front of you as she bitterly (and loudly) complains to her seatmate that she just can’t fall asleep. (Remember you are the victim here. And now, take a good long swig from your bottle.)
8. Join the Mile High Club…: …by yourself. Or, you know, just find a reason to use the washroom. Even if you don’t have to go. Sometimes anything, even an airplane lavatory, is better than taking care of a baby on a plane. (Hint: This is actually a great tip for many parenting moments. If you’re not parenting alone, a trip to the washroom can often provide a couple minutes of peace and quiet. Just make sure to lock the door. And ignore those persistent knocks).
9. Cry It Out: When all else fails and a tantrum is inevitable, make sure it is you who is doing the crying. When other passengers turn around to give you the what-an-inconsiderate-mother-letting-her-baby-cry-on-a-flight-look and they see you having a break-down of your own fueled by exhaustion, their looks of blame will quickly melt into sympathetic pity.
10. And finally, For Pete’s Sake, If At All Possible, Stay The Heck Home!
I hope I’ve been able to help you plan for your next trip. Some of these tips are tried and true, the rest are what you can be sure I’ll be doing the next time I fly, which hopefully won’t be for a long, long time. Like 17 years from now when we go visit Cameron at university. Just Dan and I. Two old-fogies. Finally alone. Joining the Mile High Club for real.
Too much information? Sorry about that. Sometimes it is just nice to dream.