Flying with a toddler

About a year ago we asked our pediatrician if we needed to know anything about taking our first airplane ride with our (then) newborn. He laughed and told us to enjoy our trip because in a year, flying with a toddler would be a whole different story.

Boy was he right.

Every time we board an airplane with Clara I have no idea what to expect. We just took a trip to DC in May, but this trip to Denver was our first time flying since she learned to walk.

Bringing a toddler on an airplane is tough!

This is how she entertained herself during the 2 hour flight:

  • Walked up and down the aisle.
  • Spilled (my) cup of ginger ale.
  • “Played” with ice cubes (meaning she threw them on the ground).
  • Put the tray up and pulled it back down thousands of times.
  • Pulled down all three of our trays and climbed on top of them and crawled between our three seats via the trays.
  • Ate crackers.
  • Drank milk and my smoothie.
  • Sat on the floor to play in the diaper bag. (Took everything out of the diaper bag)
  • Took off her shoes.
  • Read a book.
  • Looked out the window and laughed and laughed (I guess she loves heights!).
  • Figured out how to lift the window shade and close it again.
  • Waved at other passengers.
  • Had her diaper changed.
  • Stood on her seat, sat on her seat, laid on her seat… (thank goodness the flight wasn’t full and she had her own!)
  • Gave hugs and kisses.
  • Pretended to drink Tim’s (empty) coffee.
  • Hung out upside down when Tim held her by her legs.
  • Protested all attempts at napping (loudly).
  • Whined for a few minutes.
  • Fell asleep nursing 10 minutes before landing. (I try not to nurse her during the day anymore, but desperate times called for desperate measures.)

Upon landing, she didn’t wake up when we got off the plane, when we put her in her stroller, when we moved her to her car seat in the rental car… finally, hours later she woke up when we were almost to Boulder. I guess all the excitement on the plane wore her out!

Bringing a toddler on an airplane is tough!

Basically, this child o’ ours never stops moving, even in confined spaces. I’m just glad she didn’t yell the entire time, but I do miss the days when I would fly on an airplane with headphones and a good book to occupy my time. Ah, memories.

(Also, lest you think I’m far too laid back about restricting what Clara does and how she behaves… maybe I am. However, there is really no saying ‘no’ to a one year old with the expectation of her listening, so I’ve found that the best policy is to gently guide her into any activity that is less disruptive/harmful than the one she is currently doing. Sometimes that means allowing her to throw melting ice cubes on the floor because it keeps her from screaming.)

Have you had any luck keeping your toddler entertained on an airplane?!

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