Saturday, November 17, 2012

First Plane Ride

Ingrid went on her first plane ride to Minnesota. I was absolutely giddy to shave painfully long hours of driving by hopping on a plane for mere minutes.

Wishful thinking, but that didn't happen.

We arrived at the airport cheerful and ready to see Ingrid through this fun "first." Like all kids, Ingrid likes to point to little planes in the sky. Up close and in person, she didn't believe us when we pointed to the huge planes on the ground. She looked at us like we were nuts and waved at travelers.

Once we boarded the plane and settled in, it was clear that the flight wasn't crowded and thankfully there wasn't anyone in the row in front of us. Ingrid had some raisins, we buckled in, pulled away from the gate, waited about 15 minutes and then pulled right on back.

We got off of our plane, waited what felt like two hours and board another plane.

Now, I completely understand that this isn't a heartbreaking story. It was slightly inconvenient and the timing wasn't the best - as it was right in the middle of naptime. I was reminded of Louis CK's stand-up where he points to how ridiculous of a country we are because waiting on the runway for 40 minutes passes for a story.

Honestly, the wait for the second plane was a little hairy, because no one wants their baby to be tired and crabby, and I didn't want to be that person with the screaming kid.

Thankfully, there was a little play where Ingrid could run around:

And, we had these little distractions:

  • A full day's supply of Flavor Blasted Extra Cheddar Goldfish Crackers and raisins. 
  • Three lonely board books.
  • A pack of girls who waved and ohhhed at Ingrid as she toddled back and forth near the gate. 
  • Another 18 month old girl to play with awkwardly stand next to, while holding her stuffed Duck three inches from her face. 
  • A $9 sandwich. 
  • When Ingrid got a little too squirrelly, the PBS Kids app came in handy as she watched Super Why come to the rescue with the power to read. 

Throughout the wait, Dan and I didn't say much to each other and were focused on keeping Ingrid sane. Once everyone was on the plane, our moods lightened up and Dan commented that there wasn't anything to do in that situation except to not talk about the situation.

Ingrid had no idea we were supposed to just get on one plane that afternoon or that I downloaded the app as a last resort, in a frenzied "Why won't this internet go any faster?" panic. When travel delays happen again, I'll remember that she picks up on our nervous energies and by staying calm, we'll all be able to go with the flow even better.

From our travels I learned that:

  • People are understanding. No one gave us nervous "please don't sit next to me" glances as we walked down the plane aisles. They commented on Ingrid's boots, which are rather cute. They gave us approving smiles and went back to reading books. 
  • Three books isn't nearly enough books. Three is an inappropriate number of books for a short car ride, let alone a flight. What was I thinking? 
  • As long as she was happy and safe, I don't care what she's doing. Whether she was standing in the middle of the walkway waving to people, admiring herself in the full-length bathroom mirror, standing on the chair waving to plans, or eating way too many crackers - if she was happy, I was happy. Her behavior never infringed on other travelers. She was being a toddler and toddlers are not little adults. I need to remind myself that she can - and should - act her age. 
Being a mom to a toddler is comparable to running after a ball that keeps getting away from you. Just when you think she's content with books, she's running after a stranger yelling "Neck-ace! Neck-ace!" In Ingrid's defense, she did have a pretty sweet necklace.

If you're traveling with a baby or toddler soon, here are some useful tips:

  • Bring a copy of their birth certificate. We were asked for this on the way home and was thankful we randomly thought about this on the way out of the door! 
  • For take-off and landings use a pacifier or a sippy cup of water to ease the ear pain. 
  • Bring more books. 

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