I would just like to state, for the record, that when I am travelling alone, I am a sane, quiet woman. My luggage is neatly stowed, my drink does not spill, my volume is low. I read my book or make pleasant small talk. I am even willing to switch seats for your comfort and convenience. I am your ideal flight companion.
However, when I am flying my family of six cross-country, all bets are off.
In my 8.5 years of parenting, I have taken many flights with children. Very few of them have gone smoothly. In fact, most have been quite turbulent.
There has been throwing up, diaper malfunctions, earaches, seat kicking, colic, fistfights, temper tantrums and, on one memorable occasion, an 18-month-old in a spica cast who screamed the entire 4 1/2 hour flight.
On our most recent family jaunt last fall, one of my two-year-olds threw up all over himself and me. We had packed "light" and had no extra clothes onboard. "Luckily" for us, we had a layover in Cincinnati and were fortunate to find what we thought was a onesie in the "bargain" section of the airport gift shop. He perked up immediately, but looked slightly ridiculous wearing a girl's leotard in 35-degree weather.
By the time we reached our hometown, shoved our 48 pieces of luggage and the carseats and stroller and cranky kids into the car and drove home, we were exhausted. We couldn't wait to get everyone in bed, grab a cold drink from the fridge and relax.
However, the minute we opened the back door, we realized this was not going to be a night for relaxing. Our fridge had died the day we left and after seven days was now full of rotten cheese, stinky meat and rancid butter. The long night got longer and our love for family travel sank to record lows.
So, tomorrow's flight will be our first chance to try again. I am hoping it goes smoothly. I have spent several days (and at least $200) filling my kids' backpacks with toys, snacks, games and books they will enjoy. I am happy to pay for your beverage or rent you some earphones for the in-flight entertainment.
I have seen the latest trend in traveling with children...and it scares me to death.
So, please fasten your seatbelts, look out your window, try to be tolerant and just be thankful you're not in my seat!
Thank you and have a nice flight.