Thursday, July 22, 2010

Flying with Toddlers

I boarded the airplane with my six children at 5:55 pm on Tuesday for our return flight to Anchorage after a fantastic month long vacation to Idaho & Arizona. We were all ready to get home, back to our own routine, and sleep in our own beds. Bo-Beana even said she was excited to get home and do some chores. Nice...

We arrived in Portland, OR and quickly boarded our second flight to Alaska. The children were wonderful on the first flight and I crossed my fingers they would fall asleep all the way home. Bingo. Chubbers was down first and Cheroo soon followed. Chubbers was the one I worried about. An 18-month-old can be difficult to contain in small tubes in the sky. All was well until midnight.

Chubbers woke up.

Let me rephrase... Chubbers went ballistic, smashing her head back and forth in her car seat, and screaming bloody murder.

Again, it was midnight.

I quickly pulled her out of her car seat and tried my best to hold on to her as she deliriously flailed about. All I could think was "please stop crying. Please stop crying..."

Suddenly a flight attendant is by my side to offer assistance.

"It's stuffy in here. Can I bring you a cold rag?"

"Pardon me?" I asked, totally bewildered.

"Can I bring you a cold rag?"

"No, thank you. We're fine."

A few moments later I hear ::clap clap clap clap clap clap::

I did not even look up for this one. I knew it was the lady, not next to me, not across the isle, but in the center seat across the isle who had been staring at me with my six children all evening. I was sure that all of the people trying to sleep around her were not amused by her loud clapping in a futile attempt to calm my poor, sleepy child who just wanted her crib.

Surprise! The flight attendant was back again and the ridiculous clapping ceased.

"It really is stuffy in here ma'am. Can I bring you a cold rag?"

"Sure. Fine. If you would really like to," I answered thinking to myself "what in the world am I supposed to do with a cold rag? Wipe off my sweaty upper lip? Stuff it in Chubbers mouth?"

The helpful flight attendant returns with her cold rag.... a 2x5 folded wet paper towel.

"I will just set this over the arm wrest here." She gently laid it down an walked away. I couldn't help but laugh and wished my camera was out so I could take a picture.

Then, 15 minutes later without being gagged, Chubbers suddenly collapsed in my arms and slept the rest of the flight.

When we landed a man leaned over to me and said "You are the most awesome mom!" I laughed out loud and said "Thank you! I figure 15 minutes out of 4 hours... this was a red-letter flight!"

I didn't bother to poll any of the other passengers on what they thought of my mothering skills.

We were home.