We had two flights out to Phoenix, with a layover in Dallas, and then two flights on the way back a week later. It was nice to split up the traveling but it also made each day extra long - a total of 12 hours. Our first flight went pretty well. The plane wasn't full so there was an extra seat in between Jon and I, which gave Jack room to bounce, roll, lean, play, throw ... you get the idea. A number of people suggested that I buy a bunch of cheap dollar store toys for the plane ride. Whenever he gets tired of one toy you just bring out something new. Jon wasn't impressed with the bag of "junk" I brought home from Dollar General the day before we left, but one hour into our trip he was extremely thankful for my chintzy bag of diversions.
Flight #2 - "I'm So Sorry Sir!"
The second flight was completely full, so we had to sit next to a rather large gentleman. He was very kind, especially when Jack threw his toys on him, or knocked a cup of ice onto his lap, or screamed in his ear. I felt so bad. People who sit next to kids should get discounts on their flight tickets. By this point Jack was obviously overtired. He had only slept 45 minutes since waking up before 5am. But Jon and I could not get him to go to sleep. And whenever we tried, he'd start to throw a fit. So, in order to spare our fellow passengers a scream fest, we just both took turns letting Jack bounce on our laps. This is when I started to notice a trend, in both the first flight and the second, and which continued into the last two flights. Jack would get wilder and wilder to the point where I wasn'ts sure how much longer I could contain him, and then he'd crash, head on my chest for a good, solid nap. Unfortunately, this always happened while the plane had started descending (something to do with the atmospheric change perhaps?). So, in order to ensure Jack got as much sleep as he needed, Jon and I would stay on the plane until everyone else had left. Jack usually doesn't sleep more than 45 minutes, or one sleep cycle, when we're out and about. Which is just long enough to re-charge his batteries, and just long enough to make this preggo mama ready to put him down and run to the bathroom.
Flight #3 - "The Rules Go Out the Window"
Flying with a child is a completely different experience than flying without one. I was looking forward to getting a lot of reading done, that definitely didn't happen. We all know I'm a fan of all things free, this definitely includes drinks on the plane. But you have to think twice about drinks and snacks when there are wild, flailing arms in play. By this time in our travels I was already making plans with Jon to go somewhere far away next year for our 5th year anniversary. Both kids will be old enough to stay with a grandma, and Jon and I would just love a nice, quiet plane ride to a distant destination where we can relax in the quiet, reading or doing crossword puzzles, and not have to worry about stinky diapers, Cheerios and naptimes. But for now we're just trying to survive this trip. And that means that a number of our rules and expectations go out the window. We basically let Jack do whatever he wanted, as long as he wasn't in the aisles or touching someone else, just to avoid a tantrum. I let him chew on crayons, I let him rip magazines, I let him suck on a pacifier for the entire trip, and most annoyingly of all, I let him drop things down my shirt and then pull them back out. For some reason he loves this game, I obviously would prefer not to play. But whenever I tried to shut things down, he began to scream. And then people would start giving us looks. So, we opted to endure the temporary awkwardness to remain as obscure as possible. When the plane landed, this game was OVER!
Flight #4 - "Turbulence and Flashing Lights"
Our last flight was probably the best. There was hardly anyone on board, we had plenty of space to stretch out, and there were very few people around us to annoy. We also met a really nice couple with two boys named Jack and George that our Jack enjoyed playing with while waiting to board. This was a late flight, it was dark, and the latter part of our flight was quite turbulent. My heart dropped more than once, I can't imagine what Jack was feeling. Despite being late, Jack had a second wind. He spent most of this trip standing on the middle seat looking back at the flight attendants. They were smitten with the little flirt. He also loved looking out the window. I wish I had my camera handy to capture his cute little face and pudgy hand pressed to the pane, looking out at the flashing lights. He promptly fell asleep again, just as we were beginning our last descent before heading home. And I have to say I loved it. Not because he was finally sitting still and being quiet, although that was nice too, but because I just love to see him sleeping soundly in my arms, his head on my shoulder and his warm baby breath on my neck. Twelve hours of traveling or not, he is just the sweetest thing!