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Overpack and hope for the best

Submitted by on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 One Comment

Coloring books: New and unsullied, accompanied by a fresh pack of crayons. Check.

MP3 players: Charged, with new songs loaded. Check.

Snacks: Enough to cover the midnight munchies plus breakfast the next day because the chances are small of finding something in an airport that a highly allergic kid can eat. Check.

Books: Three each, all shiny and new as well.

We also have blankets, puzzle books and gum. The list includes virtually everything every parenting site has ever included in hopes of keeping kids occupied and pleasant during road trips. I’ve avoided Hot Wheels – too much of a risk as a projectile.

Will it work? Probably not, if experience is anything to go on.

We’ve been lucky over the years that, with one horribly awful exception, the guys have never thrown fits on airplanes. From the time he was 8 months old, Big Guy’s been happy to look out the windows. Boots, not quite as happy, but mostly cooperative.

Instead, they save their tantrums just for mommy and daddy, so we can keep them all to ourselves rather than share them with the rest of a 737. I suppose there’s something to be said for never having been thrown off a flight – so far.

I used to think that a red eye would solve all my problems. That was before I actually took one.

The theory was that if we left in the dead of night the guys would quickly conk out in flight. The reality: Amped up after the now-required two-hour wait at the airport, they were too punch drunk to conk out quickly. Boots had just drifted – did I say drifted? I actually meant “thrashed” – off to sleep when it was time to change planes in Houston, thus beginning the howl-alujah chorus anew.

And, oh, Houston. I  used to be convinced that when I die I’ll have to change planes in Atlanta regardless of whether I’m headed to heaven or hell. I’m now convinced that the Houston airport is hell. Purgatory, at the very least.

There are allegedly interconnected terminals that aren’t very well interconnected, especially if you’re transferring from the main airline to its commuter counterpart. There are TerminalLink “automated people movers” that are virtually impossible to find if you’re brain dead from a sleepless red eye. We made our connection only because a nice SkyCap lady took pity on a mom trying to wrangle a reluctant – did I say reluctant? I actually meant “shrieking” – toddler. The SkyCap lady got a very nice tip.

The backpacks we’d lovingly packed before the trip? The snacks had disappeared before we’d  boarded the first flight, due to the previously mentioned two-hour wait. There was nothing on the flight from Houston that Big Guy could eat. Luckily he was so exhausted by then that he fell sleep and forgot to howl with hunger until after we’d landed in Charlotte.

We’re booked for a red eye for our coming trip, but at least we’ve avoiding hellish Houston. I’m sure that even that won’t guarantee an easy trip. That’s just the nature of travel beast when kids are involved.

Oooh. I still need to pack ear plugs. Extras, even, for innocent bystanders.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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One Comment »

  • Sandra Foyt said:

    It gets better. Hard to believe when you’re traveling with young ones, but somehow, little by little, they become confident, independent travelers who don’t suck every bit of energy. Hope you have a relatively quiet trip!