I’ve been on “vacation” this week. School is out for Spring Break, so the four of us hopped a plane to Miami where we enjoy fun in the sun at my parents’ house. But let’s be honest about what a vacation with two young children entails. First there is the flight. No matter how angelic your children are, flying with small children is a bitch. My list of plane necessities are as follows:
1.) Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Or meals, as the case may be. This particular flight took off at 5:51 pm. My husband and I have found, after three years of countless flights with small children, there is no good time to fly. It is always mealtime or naptime or not naptime or potty time or bedtime. But if you are sick of being tethered to your house and/or your shitty, rigid, militant, daily routine that has taken on a life of it’s own because you know that if you miss naptime you are totally screwed for the day and you’ll be stuck unloading/reloading the dishwasher at 9:00 pm when you’d rather be watching Lost, then you need to take the plunge and not care what time the flight leaves. Hence, the snacks. Now, it turns out that snacks work great with my three year old, but with my one year old, who is generally anti-food, snacks don’t have the same cache. For him, we bring a lot of patience and hope he just falls asleep when he’s done making friends with everyone on the plane and eventually loses interest in playing peek-a-boo with the poor folks sitting behind us.
2.) Books. For those of us who don’t mind reading the same three books over and over, this is not a commitment weight-wise in terms of carry-on baggage. But if you are my husband, you need to bring a situation like the enormous, 20-pound hardback Dr. Seuss’ Baker’s Dozen that includes 13 stories and is sure to throw your back out upon arrival to your vacation destination.
3.) DVDs. For my 3-year-old, DVDs are a must and totally worth the annoying barrage of whiny, “Can I watch Madagascar now? How ‘bout now? Can we turn on the movie now? I want Madagascar now!” for the duration of time between boarding the plane and that moment after take-off when a disembodied voice fills the cabin with, “You are now free to use electronic devices.” Our children don’t watch much TV at home, so we don’t have but a twinge guilt about three hours of screen time while we are traveling. And let’s face it, if God forbid, our plane was delayed, the DVDs would come in pretty handy.
4.) For evening flights, pajamas seem to be a somewhat effective way to convince our kids that even though we are in a plane, it is time for night-night. Please notice the use of the phrase "somewhat effective."