Flying With Baby- What Could Go Wrong?!
Can I just begin this post by saying that one of the most awkward and perhaps exhilarating experiences of my life must be going to the bathroom in an airport with a twenty pound baby strapped to my back via an expensive baby carrier? The burning desire that nothing go wrong or splash excessively is only intensified by the looks people give you when you enter a bathroom stall with a baby on your back and exit with that baby still on your back.
But back to my story.
I was heading out to Dallas TX for another natural childbirth educator training and taking sweet baby with me since she is still nursing. I made it to the airport in San Francisco without event and hopped on the plane. I have actually traveled with babies quite a bit and have never had a problem.
Today would not be like that.
Once we got going the screeching began. Don't worry, most everybody on the plane was fast asleep so I am sure they didn't notice anything....
I think her ears were hurting and the combination of pressure changes and new teeth was simply too much. I nursed her. (By the way, no matter how much I claim to support "nursing in public" there is something incredibly awkward about trying to nurse a screeching 15 month old while pancaked against a male stranger as my squirming toddler tries to kick his computer off his tray. I have to say that it was one of those moments that a hooter hider sounded real good. Being able to afford first class sounded even better. In fact a pitcher of children's NyQuil sounded best of all.)
I was one of those moms. The mom with the screaming kid she can't control who can be heard throughout the plane.
In theory I realize that it isn't her fault and that people understand that you can't always make a child of that age be quiet. But theory is different than practice and in addition to feeling awful for my baby I was incredibly embarrassed that I was disrupting everybodies flight zen.
Did I mention that this wasn't just crying or fussing. It was full boar SCREAMING. Red faced, tears streaming, uncontrolled screaming.
At one point I actually locked myself in the bathroom just hoping that it would muffle the sounds of horror for just a few moments for my fellow passengers.
I kid you not the screaming lasted for over half an hour. Miraculously, while locked in the minuscule toilet room I put the baby down and she actually STOPPED. Sure, she may have found something weird on the floor that she played with. (Yes, I let her play with bathroom floor trash. I was that desperate. I actually cried too.)
We emerged and a kindly flight attendant gave us some crackers and cheese. I kept her stuffed the rest of the flight and left a horrendous mess for the kind flight attendants to clean. THANK YOU- from the crazy mom in seat 26B!
But we made it intact to the great state of Texas and were not even arrested upon landing. Giant sigh of relief.
The birth teacher training was FABULOUS! (Post coming on that soon!)
I did however live in a constant state of dull dread that the return flight to California would be as or slightly more painful. But somebody suggested a truly progressive idea to me- CANDY.
I couldn't find lollipops so I went for a jumbo bag of Good N' Plenty and a jumbo bag of Fruit Snacks (AKA horse hoofs, corn syrup, and food dye) to appease her.
Security was interesting. The baby was fast asleep in her Ergo and the TSA security folks tried to let me though without waking her up. They REALLY tried. Alas the metal on her overalls kept setting off the alarm and I had to take her off and wake her up. Still I have to say that the TSA folks were super nice and one of them now knows how to assist a mother with baby carrier straps.
I have to say that it worked pretty well. Sure there were some awkward "Do you mind if my baby kicks your Kindle while she sucks on my boob?" moments but that was to be expected. (Why on earth do I ALWAYS end up sitting next to a man? Always.)
I got to watch the in flight movie- "What To Expect When You're Expecting". It was surprisingly good. (A twin vaginal birth! WHOOT!) I was the one sitting in the airplane chair with the headphones on laughing hysterically at all the jokes while the teenager next to me tried to focus on reading and not looking and my pendulous breast.
By the time we arrived there was minimal screaming, a floor covered in half eaten pink liquorish (I really love Good N' Plenty). Yes the baby was actually STICKING to her baby carrier and probably received enough sugar to seriously increase her chances of adult onset diabetes.
But we arrived in once piece, though an hour late. I missed my bus and had to take the last one of the night. I finally arrived back home at four AM in one piece.
It was pretty much all worth it to see the baby curl up with her daddy and go right to sleep. There is not much that compares to a good daddy and the baby that loves him.
I wish you all luck in your future travels with children. I can assure you that if you are feeding your kids pure sugar and/or alcoholic cough syrup that I am internally giving you a big thumbs up.
I feel ya.
Travel in peace-