Taking an airplane ride with kids can be daunting. You never know what can happen. Planning ahead is vital, but it is hard to remember everything and there are always the unforeseen events that keep it “interesting”, (i.e. requiring vodka and/or Advil).
For example, I was once flying with my daughter from Europe to North America. She was a peach all the way through the airport, ticketing, boarding, takeoff. Once the food service came my darling little one got sick, whether from the “fine” airplane food or from air-sickness, regardless which, she vomited all over me. None of it got on herself (miraculously), just all over me. Surprise! I had to finish the 8 hour flight to New York — followed by the layover and another connecting flight — while smelling of vomit.
Typically one might plan for children’s spare clothes, but who thinks to bring themselves a change of clothes in their carry-on? Even now, knowing the vomit possibility, there is isn’t any room when the carry-ons are filled with kids toys, books, snacks, tablets, etc. I cleaned up as much as I could and bought a t-shirt in LaGuardia, but without a shower and a full change of clothes you can never truly get the smell off of yourself.
Another adventure I had in an airport involved my son. We had a brief layover in Denver, just enough time to use the bathrooms and get to the next gate. My toddler needed to use the potty, so we went to the “Family Restroom”. At the time my son was going through a stage where he required that all clothes come off in order to do any potty business. I still have no idea why. Once all the business was taken care of, and with boarding about to begin, it’s time to get dressed. Well… not so fast. He decided that there is no way those clothes are going on because they were “no longer clean” (or some such thing), even though they were actually fine. And I had no spare change of clothes for him. No matter what I said or did, he refused to get dressed. Times ticking by, I’m trying every trick in the book: cajoling, bribing, shouting, begging, man-handling — all I get in return is a screaming toddler. Forcibly dressing a four-year-old boy who is writhing, wiggling, and actively undressing whatever you just forced onto him, while it may seem to the uninitiated to be a simple enough task, its assuredly not.
I’m certain that everyone in this wing of the airport can hear us. I’m worried that security has been called on me. I’ve attempted to bribe him with things that I never otherwise would, and in all honesty would never follow through on, like trips to Disneyland, or a new Nintendo, and nothing is working. The intercom calls out for boarding, then the seating rows for boarding, then last call. The boy is nude, it’s passed time to go, I’ve tried everything short of beatings. I was beyond panicked, and has resigned myself that we were going to miss the flight. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the kid just up and changed his mind about it, like it never even happened. He calmly and efficiently got dressed and we made the flight with moments to spare. I don’t know how or why and I don’t care, I was just happy to be getting on the plane at last.
The point is, “the best-laid schemes of mice and moms oft go awry”. Do your best to plan ahead, and then you just have to take it in stride. And remind yourself that you’ll miss these days when they are gone. That’s what people keep telling me anyways.