We recently went to Colorado to visit my 4 month old nieces, my sister and sister-in law! I guess you could consider Brian a veteran traveler since he flies every week, I wouldn’t consider myself a rookie – but he likes to make fun of me and call me one. I actually like flying and going on vacation (obviously), but flying with a kid is a game changer. Especially when the flight is longer than 2 hours, in this case it was 4 hours.
For starters, flying with a 27 month old is a lot different then flying with a 20 month old which was what one of my earlier posts was about. She can communicate better with me and tell me what she needs and wants, but my expectations were still low… because toddlers. I love when people ask “how is she on planes”? Like, what are you asking me here? In life, she is pretty independent (stubborn) and only naps in her crib. She also changes every day… so I’m not sure how to answer you here sir.
I packed a backpack instead of her diaper bag this time. This way I could put her diaper needs in one section and her toys, snacks and coloring stuff in another section. I now have TSA precheck and CLEAR, so I definitely got to the airport way too early. I checked my bag and got through security in 5 minutes.
McKenzie and I stopped for lunch on our way to the gate, we split chicken fingers and french fries but I made the mistake of giving her my phone so that she wouldn’t run around, so she didn’t eat much. Our flight wasn’t until 2pm, she had woken up at 6:45 so she was already pretty restless when we were eating lunch (this gave me hope).
I grabbed her some milk for take off and peanut butter bar- of course the second we sat in our seats they announced someone on the plane had an allergy to peanuts. I packed some other snacks as well like rice cakes and goldfish, and a cheese stick and applesauce for the way home.
For fun on the plane I packed a few coloring books, some troll surprise packs for distractions if I needed, and most importantly the iPad. We had downloaded Moana and Trolls and that’s basically what she did the whole time.
Since it was just Mckenzie and I on the way there, I checked a bag. I knew there was no way I’d be able to roll a suitcase, push a stroller and potentially have to carry a toddler (which was exactly what happen). Packing cubes are life changing when you have to pack for more than one person, I put our shoes in one cube, her outfits in another, mine in another and then our toiletries in a fourth. I also packed toys for Mckenzie to play with at my sister’s.
This was Kenzie’s first time in a seat by herself so I think she thought she was super cool. She buckled her seatbelt and was bored in 3 minutes. I didn’t board the plane early for extra time, because I knew I wouldn’t need it. I actually wish I waited longer, but what can you do. I had to break out the iPad sooner then I would have liked to keep her in her seat. This worked like a charm, but then she wouldn’t give it back the rest of the flight so it kind of back fired. At take off, I opened milk for her to make sure she drank (she chugs milk so again, this worked like a charm). I think I got her to color for 2 minutes and that was when I realized just how tired she was. She was now jumping into and out of the seat, kicking the chair in front. I finally put Toy Story on for her on the entertainment center and plopped her in my lap and played with her hair. Victory. With 50 minutes left on the flight, I had a sleeping toddler! Technically it was 5pm NY time when she finally fell asleep, but she did it!
On the way home, we had Brian with us. We dropped off our rental car and headed to the shuttle. Brian made fun of me a few times for my “rookie” travel tactics. Apparently you are suppose to leave your empty seltzer can in the rental car, who knew!!!! I also suggested that we rent a cart as Brian carried a stroller when McKenzie refused to get in it or walk.. he looked at me disgusted. I was just trying to help the man that was rolling 3 suitcases and carrying a stroller, my bad! Once again, we got through security in a jiffy. I actually don’t understand at this point why there aren’t more people who have TSA pre, it is worth it people. I had faith in Kenzie napping on this flight, but she didn’t. Brian did however catch a snooze, it’s amazing how quickly he can fall asleep on a plane. I had to wake him when she peed through her diaper onto me. I’m still not sure how that happen, but it did. Mckenzie was actually pretty good on the plane except for the last 10 minutes when we were landing and she didn’t want to stay in her seat. Luckily, we had some more surprise trolls and mashems for her to open which got us through.
We both agreed that McKenzie needed to get in her stroller once we got off the plane. She was pretty savage at this point, not speaking English and just not really listening or hearing us. We had to wait a bit for our stroller and this is where Brian and I began to turn on each other. I was holding McKenzie as he tried to open the stroller and I made a comment about prioritizing opening the stroller rather then adjusting the overhead part of it. I guess this sounded as if I was speaking to him like a child, but I was just trying to get a point across as quickly as possible. We physically had to hold McKenzie, shove if you will, into her stroller to get her in as she was screaming bloody murder. We were all “over it” at this point. I noticed Brian was mad at both McKenzie and me and that McKenzie was mad at both Brian and I. I apologized to Brian and said “we can’t turn on each other” then McKenzie would win. I knew I was going insane at this point and remembered that I had urine on me.
Basically the second we got into the car, she finally passed out. She napped from 5:30-7 but I didn’t even care at this point. It actually didn’t even mess up her sleep, she slept from 9-8:30 the next day and we were back to normal.
I was pretty excited to take McKenzie on a flight, I wasn’t expecting anything to go wrong but I just set my expectations low and it was totally worth it. I think the toughest time to travel with a child is from 12-20 months, but as far as I have seen from my own child it only gets easier after that!
Happy Trails xoxo