11.19.2012

HUCK'S 30TH FLIGHT AND TODDLER-TESTED FLYING TIPS


my entire family is flying in tonight from portland, medford, and salt lake city for the week. they're all landing in various airports sometime early tomorrow morning, and then cabbing their way over to my little apartment like a flock of lovin seagulls. it's pretty fantastic to imagine. my house is a wreck and i have thirty million emails i've been avoiding (does anybody else get serious ADD the minute a gmail window opens?), and i only just now moved the turkey to the fridge to thaw, but i have a real good feeling about this thanksgiving. me and my empty uterus, we're going to kill it this weekend.

in light of the fact that all of my family members are spending their nights tonight floating in the air somewhere over the midwest (related: you're sitting in a chair... in the sky), i figured today would be as good as any to immortalize, with fondness, the final days of huck's lap child status. (shed a tear.)

about two weeks before his second birthday i had the honor of escorting sir huck the great on his 29th and 30th trip on an airplane. who is this kid and what is with his jet set life. i do count each individual leg of a trip as a separate flight, (1) because, it is, and (2) because, if you had to coordinate nursing on take off and landing and find appropriately quiet ways to entertain your kid in between times so they don't annoy fellow passengers or leave permanent marks on other people's belongings, then you would too.

i have no idea how this kid managed to log 30 air plane rides in just two years except to say, done none of my family live in places where direct flights come very cheaply.

okay okay so, here's what's grand about flying with an almost-two-year old and here are all my bestest tricks for making it go as smoothly as possible.


do bring your stroller to the airport. you can check it at the gate for free, and you're guaranteed a place to hang your bags when you're cruising through the terminal. also you're not in danger of losing your toddler, cause he's strapped to something. 

don't think that just because your stroller is being checked at the gate that you shouldn't still bring your stroller bag. you can stuff that stroller bag with any old thing... car seat, pack and play... um, your own luggage... and then you can check that sucker for free. nobody will care that you have your stroller with you and that your stroller bag somehow weighs a million pounds. at least, nobody's cared with us yet, and we've done this every flight.

don't bring too much with you as carry-on. you won't need most of it anyway, and it's a lot to juggle if your kid starts squirming. plus you want all the leg room you can manage, so think bare minimum and remember that most airplanes are stocked with any essentials you might need in a pinch (wet paper towels, snacks, water bottles).


do bring special toddler approved headphones. they have volume limits so your kid can't accidentally turn the sound way up and damage his ear drums, and also they are hysterically cute. he can wear them to drown out ambient noise if he needs a break, and he can also wear them when watching movies on your phone or laptop or ipad and not bother your neighbors. 

do let your kid watch tv at home from time to time so he knows how to sit still and enjoy a movie. if your kid's never sat through a movie before, chances he's going to sit through one now are that you need him to are probably not so great. 

do plan a diaper change halfway through the flight. it's a fun excuse to get up and stretch your legs and it breaks up the monotony of sitting in one place for too long the young dude. once you've finished changing a diaper in that cramped bathroom you sort of saunter out of there like a hero. 'cause you are a hero. that's crazy that you just pulled that off in there.


do nurse your toddler till he's two. i'm just kidding, i'm not trying to start a fight here. no, but if you want to, you should, because then you can nurse during take off and landing and if you're lucky, he'll fall asleep on you and then you can read a magazine. yesss! (for the record, though i've only done it a very few times, i've never once encountered a single person who's given me a hard time for breastfeeding my toddler in public. hooray for the human race!)

do wear something drapey and layered if you are planning to nurse in the air, so you're not side-boobing your neighbor too much. 

do bring a scarf or cardigan that can double as a pillow, blanket, swaddler, arm propper, or mess cleaner upper. always always travel with a giant zip lock bag. 


finally, when in doubt, the reverse cam on your phone is entertaining for at least three minutes. sometimes that's all you need.

i will say, it doesn't hurt that my kid is literally the greatest.  he was just born a great traveler and i can't probably take any credit for it. (though being his mom means that i'm allowed to when my ego needs the boost. right?)

there. those are my tips. 
happy holiday flying to you!

update:
you can get those orange headphones HERE!

27 comments :

  1. what a precious little guy :)

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  2. HE is the most precious child of all the children in the world. i cant handle it!!

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  3. K, I don't comment often, but that first photo is beyond adorable.

    Once I was flying with my baby girl (about six months old at the time) and I had to go do an emergency diaper change. While we were right smack in the middle of a terribly pungent mess, the plane started shaking violently and the flight attendant (in a rather panicky voice) told everyone to get to their seats immediately because there was a tornado in the area. Yeah, I just about had a heart attack by the time I got us both back to our seat.

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  4. This is such a helpful collection of tips! THANK YOU!

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  5. You are so, so lucky. Is it bad that I'm sooo jealous? My little guy is just awful on a plane. So, so bad. Yay, for you though, having a good flyer makes life so much easier.

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  6. Great tips! Haha, I wish I had thought of those things when my kids were younger.

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  7. I LOVE these tips - will definitely be implementing them. Your blog inspired mine, Natalie! <3

    Kelley
    kdiaires.com

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  8. I love Huck! He is so handsome!! :)

    -Karen
    www.littlemisscibelle.com

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  9. How fun that you are having your whole family for turkey dinner. The other day at the gym (in Utah) I saw a man swimming in the pool and I swear it was your dad. I wanted to pop my head in and yell out, "Mr. Lovin," (or better yet, brother! ha!) to see if he turned his head. But I figured your pops doesn't live in Utah, so it must've been his doppleganger. And now this comment is entirely too long.

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  10. i need those toddler headphones! what/where are they?? i didn't even know there were such a thing, and orange is the perfect color for my year old ginger (who took his first flight at 12 days, i loved lots of flying with him! so far...)

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  11. Awesome tips. I have one more to add: ALWAYS KEEP A CHANGE OF CLOTHES IN YOUR CARRY-ON. I have had to change my kids' clothes too many times on a plane (diaper issues, food spills, one awful barfing incident that has left me forever scarred) and I praise heaven every time I am getting out those clean clothes. Life-savers, I'm telling you.

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  12. Ha! Nice Louie CK shout out! :)

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  13. my hubby and i watched the louis ck clip... died, it was hilarious. thanks for sharing!

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  14. Love this. I'm a Brit, we live in California...we're challenging you on the flight expertise, but it's always good to remember. I'd echo Steph's tips above about a change of clothes...we spill stuff all the time.

    We are off to Tokyo on Friday...THIRTEEN FLIPPING HOURS ON A PLANE WITH A NEWLY THREE YEAR OLD.

    Bring it on.

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  15. My last flight with my lap child coincided with 6 months of pregnancy on Spirit Airlines where leg room was bin exsistant. He still was nursing some but I opted not to that flight. Agreed with all comments. I find stickers and a blank notebook also are helpful.

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  16. Wow! 30 flights! That is one amazing kid and experienced traveler!

    Theresa
    http://bomamma.blogspot.com

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  17. I think that is awesome that you are still nursing Huck, and on an airplane! Let's just call you super mom! Hope you have fun with your family!

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  18. Could you tell me where you found the headphones? In one month we will be flying 10 hours with an 18 month old. We flew to Europe with him at only 9 months, but now that he can walk it's a whole new ball game.

    Thank you!

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  19. That Louis CK Clip is my favorite! Great headphones too, might make a good Christmas gift for my 1 year old.

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  20. Great tips and things to not do. I'll definitely have to remember this when the time is right ;)
    xo TJ

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  21. He is just so darn cute!! I couldn't keep that to myself.

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  22. What a good little man child! I am taking my first plane ride with my little babe in January. I'm both excited and terrified. I'm sure it will be an adventure

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  23. Absolutely! My kid logged about as many flights as Huck did before she was two, the majority of them being 8 or 12 hour marathons across the pacific. And yeah, we nursed. A lot. It was about the only way I could get her to be quiet, or possibly sleep (ps, there was one time wherein she did not sleep for 36 hours. oy). No one minded, even, or even gave it a second glance. Anyway, great advice, especially the TV thing. I made the mistake of assuming that my kid would magically understand that she's supposed to stare at that seat back screen with slack-jawed attention. Ummmm, nope. Didn't happen (see that time she was up for 36 hours strength)

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  24. What a cute little man you have there! x

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  25. this post was GOLD. also, "me and my empty uterus, we're going to kill it this weekend." i have been thinking about you with this because i am in the same boat! AND WAITING IS SO HARD. sigh. prayers your way and mine for a little miracle to arrive...

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