Flying with Children: Nothing to Fear When You Do It Alone
I am not the only mom wandering around with two boys under the age of 4. Nicole from Arrows Sent Forth recently flew with her little men and discovered that even when it looks like disaster is looming things really can turn out better than we expect.
The thing I love most about Keryn’s blog is that she inspires me to push past what others might consider a bit crazy or daunting when it comes to traveling with young kids. And because her boys are roughly the same age as mine, I can genuinely say to myself, “If she can do it, so can I!” When I heard she was tackling part of her European adventure without her husband, including the flight there, my admiration for her bravery really grew.
So when my husband broke the news to me that he had to travel to Minneapolis a few days ahead of our planned family trip there due to a work commitment, I channeled my inner Walking on Travels and forged ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I was still nervous—I had visions of inconsolable baby meltdowns in flight, preschooler tantrums in the middle of the terminal, and fears of just how overwhelming it would be to get all three of us and our stuff from point A to point B.
And certainly, it IS overwhelming. But, as I kept reminding myself, 3 hours after arriving at the Indianapolis airport, I’d be landing in Minneapolis with nothing but four days of fun (and helping hands) ahead of me. A pretty good return on investment, don’t you think?
What I can look back on and laugh about now is that solo parenting for the few days leading up to the trip was far more challenging than the flight itself.
Approximately 48 hours prior to our departure, my oldest son (age 3 ½) got what appeared to be a nasty cold, which soon blossomed into an awful stomach bug. With less than 24 hours until we were due to board, he was still vomiting and running a fever. I began to wonder if this trip would even happen. But as quickly as he got sick, it just as rapidly vanished and he was back to his usual rambunctious self the morning of our flight.
As I began to breathe a sigh of relief and switched gears from Lysol clean-up to packing, my baby (10 months) started bleeding from his nose. Did he bonk his head or just get his first bloody nose? I wasn’t sure, but it continued off and on for several hours. I dressed both of us in red shirts to board and made room in our carry-on for clean-up supplies. At this point, I didn’t care about dirty looks from fellow passengers or unhelpful flight attendants. I merely wanted to land with two healthy kids in tow.
And that’s exactly how it played out. The flight was uneventful. There were a few fitful cries from my youngest as he settled down to sleep. Which he did for 45 minutes, almost half the flight, while his big brother and I watched cartoons on the iPad. Dare I say it was actually kind of relaxing?
The only tantrum I had to handle from my oldest involved a broken promise. (Apparently not all window seats really have a window… we were seated in that awkward aisle that is between the windows.) His disappointment was easily managed with the unveiling of a new Lightening McQueen coloring book. Kachow, indeed!
And when we filed off the plane, all three of us were smiling and not the least bit bloody or feverish. We wrapped our arms around dad and all was right with the world again.
We had an amazing trip (you can read more about how we spent our time in Minneapolis here). I’m already contemplating meeting up with my husband on his next business trip, even if it does include a solo flight with our boys.
Keryn’s motto is “when you won’t let kids stop your wanderlust.” I know I haven’t, and after this flight, I won’t let fears stop me either.
Nicole Wiltrout is a mom and freelance writer living in Columbus, Indiana. At her blog, Arrows Sent Forth, she writes about the adventures she takes with her 3-year-old and 10-month-old sons. You’ll find posts about family vacations, day trips around Indiana, travel tips, and her favorite products. Keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter too.