(Not) Ready for takeoff

Maeve and I leave the East Coast in two days to visit my sister (her beloved Aunt Kiki) and family, including my beloved nephew Dashiell.

In Arizona.

I’m uber-excited since I’ve never been there and haven’t seen them since they moved earlier this summer.

But I’m also afraid. Very afraid. This is Maeve’s first plane ride and since Thomas is staying back at home, I’m doing this on my own. The flight is 5 hours, 45 minutes, and that’s not accounting for any thumb-twiddling on the famously belated-in-its-takeoffs-Newark-airport tarmac.

Anyone who’s learned she and I are flying this week has said something akin to, “Well, of course you’re flying at night, right? So she’ll sleep?”

Well, um … no.

When I booked the jaunt, I just wanted to be sure we arrived in enough time that we still had the better part of a day there. Didn’t even consider the fact that our morning flight will find Maeve rested and raring to go for the day. Rookie mistake, indeed.

I’m trying to think of every trick in the book (where can I get my hands on that book, anyway?) to keep Maeve entertained, but I’m worried that the number of hours on the plane, the number of feet within which we are required to remain, and the number of years in her age just don’t make for a pretty equation. Granted, I was an English major, but that’s some math I think I can figure out.

Here’s what I am doing so far, though:

  • Bringing the umbrella stroller for easy maneuvering through the huge airport, to be left right outside the plane door for the flight attendants to stow away and then retrieve when we arrive; (especially since I’m also lugging along the carseat — but checking it — so we have one in Arizona).
  • I booked, at someone’s suggestion, the aisle seat and the window seat, with the chance that someone might not purchase the middle seat. If it remains open, we’ve got some more elbow room. Yay! If a solo flyer does snatch it up, obviously we’ll shift around and let him or her (good luck to them, whoever they are!) sit where they want in our row.
  • Bringing my laptop on board with a handful of newly purchased DVDs — Laurie Berkner Band, Elmo, Animal Adventures at the San Diego Zoo — for Maevey Gravy to watch. I can hear the gasps now, I know, I know. Our strict telly-watching rules. Well, they’re bending for the half-dozen hours we’re up in the air, kind of a “After 10,000 feet altitude, all screen-time maximums are, well, ignored, for the sanity of the flying-solo mama, the baby and everyone else.” (Mind you, I’m going to wait as long as possible before cracking open the laptop and sticking a DVD inside. Really. Seriously, I am!)
  • I’ve purchased a couple new children’s books and haven’t shown them to Maeve so they’ll be new for the plane.
  • Bringing crayons and coloring book
  • Snacks (Except for drinks, since I can’t bring anything from home, although I’m told I can buy them after security checkpoints. Right. Me, Maeve, stroller, laptop, carry-on bag of tricks — shopping and paying extraordinarily high prices in the airport shops from a limited selection of more than likely high-sugar drinks is no big deal. Arg.)
  • Someone told me not to get on the plane when they call for passengers with children first since it only extends the time they’re cramped on board. But the idea of banging my way through the aisles, with a toddler, carry-on bag and laptop in tow, all while scores of people worry it’s the seat next to them that I’m coming toward, just doesn’t appeal to me.

And …. that’s all I’ve got. So, help a nervous mama, would ya? Throw me some suggestions, ideas, words of wisdom, tricks of the parenting trade. And no, please don’t suggest flying at night. I’ve heard that one 17 times already.

And if you’re scheduled on my flight, please be nice. And patient. Maeve and I are good people, really. Really, we are.

(Oh no! I just thought about the ear-popping. What if that freaks her out? How do I explain that?)


Who knows, maybe I’m worrying for nothing. I mean, why wouldn’t a two year old want to sit still for almost six hours in a confined space with tons of strangers surrounding us?

Silly me.



Filed under Adoption, Children, Children's books, Family, Firsts, Maeve, Parenting, Still learning

5 responses to “(Not) Ready for takeoff

  1. We flew last month and were able to take several juice and milk boxes through TSA security. They’ve relaxed the rules about taking liquids on for babies, and apparently these two airports felt that toddler drinks fell under that exemption. If you’re willing to see them tossed, you might try taking sealed drinks along. We also took an empty sippy cup and had the flight attendants mix water and juice in it, to purchasing avoid the high-priced, sugary drinks.

    Although they will take your diaper cream, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc.–all those things I keep in our diaper bag and never remember to take out before flying.

    Since you booked a seat for her, I would carry on the car seat. It’s safer for her, but I also found that my 1 3/4 year old was much happier and more subdued when sitting in his familiar seat. He was high enough to look out the window and we could strap him in if the wiggling was getting out of control.

  2. The sippy cup is a great idea, because the swallowing will help with plugged and popping ears. Some familiar snacks would be good since the airlines have mostly junk, and give more opportunities to chew. If you can squeeze a favorite pillow into a carry on, that would give her something soft to nestle into when she’s tired.

    The only other thing I can think of is anti-nausea medication. My brother loves to tell the story of coming off the plane shirtless in Orlando on a family trip to Disney World after my niece threw up on him en route. Which actually gives me another idea – perhaps another top for you just in case (and which will hopefully stay in the carry-on).

    You’ve covered all the bases, so that’s all I can think of. Have a wonderful trip, and good luck in flight!

  3. Oh, Best of Luck! We flew (both of us) with Woob in July from indiana to boston–first time for him. We did not purchase a seat for him. I don’t know what would have helped. We did all of the above, and I know you don’t want to hear this, but it was HARD. I was TIRED. The Benadryl didn’t WORK (to sedate). But, he was quite a bit younger than maeve is now. and aside from the flight, the rest of the trip was heaven.

    We were able to bring our own milk in the sippy. You just have to alert the guys to it. They don’t mind if its for the babies. And just give her something to drink during takeoff in case of popping ears.

    I am just full of good news, yes?

    Please have a wonderful time on your trip.

  4. Piece of cake! No, not that you need to carry that with you, too, just that less than six hours sounds easy to me. I’ve done almost 41 hours total travel time with a two-year-old … in each direction from the Indian Ocean to California … then again the next year when he was three, although I’ll admit to being in no hurry to go back to the States now with two kids.


    Extra clothes for both of you, at least two changes, for sure.
    Sticker books. Lots of them. They pack light and provide minutes of concentration.
    A spritz bottle to fill with water on the plane to spray around often and keep a bit of moisture in the air so noses and eyes don’t dry out as badly.
    A plastic bag for stashing trash so you don’t have to wait for the flight attendant to clear up your space.
    Digital or polaroid camera so you can take photos and enjoy them as you fly.

    And be aware that it can take ages to get your stroller back if you leave it at the door, so be prepared to pile Maeve on the luggage cart while you’re bags are being spat out and you wait for someone to figure out where it went. Be sure to put your name on it, too.

    Have a great trip!

  5. Maureen

    How about lollipops!!!?? Good new thing if she has never had one, and the swallowing will help with her ears…. However, with the duration of your flight, I’d look for sugar free ones……

    Good luck!!

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