Thursday, May 14, 2009

And this is the week I decided to stop biting my nails.

As I have mentioned before we leave for Arizona in less than a week now.  We begin our travels next Wednesday morning with a three hour drive to North Carolina to the city where I was born, Raleigh.  Not because I was born there of course, but because it's the closest airport to catch a Southwest direct flight.  We will then spend several hours, of what I can only imagine to be pure bliss, in an airport.  Following that bag of goodies we have the main event.  A five hour flight direct to Sky Harbor International.

Now I could list all of the things I am completely stressed about.  For instance, losing our luggage.  I used to think that it was an urban legend that people lost luggage.  Unfortunately, our last trip to Arizona included my luggage not making the flight.  Fortunately, it was on the return trip.  So I have been trying to dodge troubles, wondering if I should mix luggage instead of each of us having our own suitcase and even wondering if I should avoid that jinxed suitcase all together.

I am also a tad worried about the process of unloading two adults (one of whom will be 26 weeks pregnant), two toddlers, a double stroller, four pieces of luggage, and numerous carry-ons at the airport and parking our car in long term parking.  I have toyed with paying family members to drive us down and pick us up two weeks later but I don't know anyone who will be off and willing.  I think we will just use curbside check-in and have Todd park the Canyoneer while I stay with Bailey and Cooper. 

But all of these things, however much they are on my mind, are overshadowed by a much more complexing issue.  How in the world will we keep two rambunctous, active, toddlers content for five long hours on a plane in our laps?  We did not buy plane seats for them.  We went back and forth over it and we decided that we just could not afford it and that buying tickets was almost negating the one plus to travelling with 16 month old toddlers.  So our children, who grow tired of even their favorite lap after a short time, will be seated on our laps for what in my mind, currently seems like an eternity.  I am concerned for my sanity and well being as well as the sanity and well being of those travelling with us.  So I have been planning and plotting for months and I have asked every parent I meet for recommendations.

It turns out quite a lot of parents travel with their toddlers.  I have spoken with women who have flown with children approximately Bailey and Cooper's age to Russia and Kenya.  I have also spoken with women who have travelled alone with multiple children.  They all talk of their adventures as if it were no big thing.  I aspire to be like these women.  One morning at Romp and Roll there were six other mothers there with children all under 2, every one of them had gone somewhere on a plane with thier child. 

I have started compiling their recommendations and been searching for a little thread of hope of the internet.  What I have found are completely opposing sides of almost everything I have been told.

Many people say sit in the bulk head, you have more room.  Many other people say don't sit in the bulk head all of your belongings will have to be secured in an overhead compartment.  Many people have said give them lollipops.  Others have said "Are you crazy?  And make yourself and your child sticky?"  Most mothers have told me to dose my children with Benedryl.  A few said a horrible reaction could occur with this method. 

Now I find myself no more informed really than before, or I guess maybe a little too informed?  I have thought about letting our children watch T.V.  For those close to us, you will know that is being planned as a last resort.  And of course, I mean cartoons on the laptop which has a very crummy battery life.  But more than anything I had decided not to let it worry me, if I learned nothing else from these women and thier recommendations it was this simple fact.  They all survived to tell about it.  So even if things don't go well or even good we will at the very least probably survive. 

However, I was curious if any of you had travelled with small children on a plane and had any insights or magnificent recommendations.  I would be especially grateful if you have any recommendations on the part that is possibly concerning me the most.  How do we change a toddler on a plane, which we will obviously have to do on a five hour flight at least once per child?  I have been in those tiny lavatories, but it was preparenthood.  Do they even have changing tables? 

And should I be looking into Valium or something for myself?  That stuff is safe for pregnant women, right?

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