Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Flying with Baby

Jennifer and I recently returned from our first flight with Tyler, our 16-month old son. Prior to the flight, Jennifer had heard about a considerate possibility that would help grease the wheels of possibly-fuming passengers located anywhere within crying distance of us and our little man: bribe them with chocolate.

Well, the actual pre-flight friendliness goes something like this:

1. Make photocopies of a cordial, rhyming, simple poem about how we all know traveling with a little one can be tough.

2. Place said poem into a little plastic baggy.

3. Include two pieces of Hershey's chocolate and ear plugs into said baggy.

4. Deliver baggy packages to all passengers nearby, and especially include those who look like they haven't had enough coffee yet.

True to form, this tactic got our flight from Manchester, New Hampshire to Phoneix, Arizona off to a fabulous start. Other passengers even played peek-a-boo with our son as the plane prepared for take off.

As can be expected, the plane then took off. So did our son. Tyler wanted to talk with everyone on the plane. He wanted to play with the little fan-thingys up above, the Call-Stewardess buttons, the lights, the seats in front and behind, and especially the hair (or toupes) of the men and women sitting anywhere in the vicinity.

After a few minor hair-grabs (he's fast), we settled into a relative peace, whereby Tyler proceeded to place Mr. Potato Head's eyes on his butt, his feet on his head, and his arms in his eye sockets. That lasted about 17 minutes.

Then, Tyler learned that he could open and close the window shade--managing to make a very loud bam! sound as he did so. This was great fun, and occupied Tyler for the next 13 minutes.

2 minutes of fan-on, fan-off, fan-on, fan-off.

4 minutes of overhead light-on, overhead light-off, overhead light-on, overhead light-off.

3 more minutes of window slamming: open, closed, open, closed.

7 minutes of attempted hair (and toupe) grabbing gestures.

5 minutes of Peek-a-Boo with the angel of a woman behind us (thank God for you, Angel- Woman who Played Peek-a-Boo with our son!).

7 minutes of an attempted diaper change when the raw, rotten-egg smell of fresh poop was detected by both Jennifer and I. Said attempted diaper change occured on envelope-sized chaning table in the plane's bathroom. Result: false alarm. Not even wet.

11 minutes of attempted mini-DVD player time. Elmo was excited, but all Tyler wanted to do was press all of the buttons on the DVD player at exactly the same moment. Needless to say, Elmo didn't get very far.

4 minutes: window open, window closed, window open, window closed.

22 minutes (whoo-hoo!) of eating: anything and everything edible. Eating is a magnificent way to pass time on an airplane. Good for Dad, good for mom, good for baby.

Fresh, raw smell of poop makes another entrance. This time, I was sure it was the real thing. Attempted diaper change # 2: unsuccessful. No sight of anything brown or smelly in any way--false alarm yet again.

Somewhere along the journey, I descended into the Land of Goofy. Ask Jennifer. She became the parent and now she had two children to deal with. I became laughing over anything--the way the water looked in my little plastic cup, the way the man in front of us turned his newspaper, the way the little fan could actuallybe made to blow softer and louder! Wow!

I resisted the urge to grab someone's hair.

But I came close.

And then, the Captain came over the intercom with those glorious words: "...begining our descent..."

An hour later, as we walked through the long hallways of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Tyler stopped mid-stride and did a little dance. He shook his body, did a jig with his feet, and then looked at Jennifer and I and laughed.

It took everything in us not to dance right there alongside him.