Traveling with children would be a lot more fun if one could teleport from Point A to Point B, because moving all these people is a lot of work (and I don’t even have a huge family)! But having traveled by air many times since we’ve had kids, we’re getting our system very finely tuned. I think the biggest challenge (next to the flight itself, I suppose) is getting from the baggage claim to the rental car. If only we could just push our crap down a hallway to a rental counter, that would be a dream. But any airport we’ve ever been to transports you to an offsite rental company by shuttle bus, and let me tell you how fun THAT is with two kids, a stroller, four carry-ons, one car seat, three suitcases, and two back packs.
The kids were amazingly good for the entire flight despite having started their day at 4am. As it turns out, the Polly Pockets were a better time distraction for Ruthie than watching movies on my laptop – she loves to take their clothes off and change their outfits all around. The only downside is the tiny tiny shoes (about the size of my pinkie fingernail) kept getting dropped on the floor, and they are VERY difficult to find. On the trip home Bryan plans to tell Ruthie that Polly Pockets like to go barefoot on airplanes.
Thomas was scared of the airplane. As we stood on the jetway about to step onto the plane, he literally dug his heals in and would not move forward. A successful boarding experience depended on each kid carrying his or her own backpack, so Bryan ended up carrying Thomas AND his car seat AND an armful of other crap. Thomas cried fearfully all the way down the center isle to row 18 and for the entire time it took to strap in his car seat. The 6am flight to San Jose is pretty much all business commuters, so I was feeling a little on the spot about my screaming kid. But after snuggling with me during the pre-flight process, he was fine. He clutched his blanket at played with his Hotwheels the entire flight.
By the time we landed, got our car, checked in to the hotel, and dropped Bryan off at work it was after 11, and I had been awake since 3am. I bought the kids a Happy Meal and settled them in to a nap, only they didn’t sleep. What the??? They’d been up since 4am and they wouldn’t nap? I almost went insane.
After only 45 minutes of quiet, during which I passed out on the living room couch, I heard Ruthie’s little voice at the bedroom door, ‘Can I be awake, now?’ I was in such a deep sleep that I actually felt heavy, and I couldn’t move my body, and my eyes wouldn’t open. I kept telling myself to wake up, but I couldn’t move, and she kept asking if she could be awake, and I was afraid of what chaos she would create if I didn’t wake up.
As I came out of my sleepy fog I recalled something Bryan said in the car on our way to the hotel: “I’m thinking of everything I would do differently next time.”
“I’d book a later flight time.”