Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Frequent Fliers

We made it to California for our Christmas break!  We thought about making the drive from Utah to California, but after winter storms were in the forecast we decided to play it safe and fly down.  Between school, internships, summer jobs, visiting family out of state and an occasional family vacation, our girls have racked up frequent flier miles.  In Maddie's first year of life she went on 14 different flights.  Most of these flights were just the girls and I (Matthew usually meets up with us on the weekends), along the way I've picked up a few tips...

Security...oh, security can be the most stressful part of flying.  Standing and waiting in line, knowing that in just a few minutes I'll be holding babies and collapsing strollers and dumping out bottles and sippy cups and coaxing girls through the metal detectors can be pretty overwhelming.  After the first few flights I've learned to take a deep breath, apologize to the people behind me, offer to let them go around me and smile at every security officer working.  Let karma do it's job and feel hope in humanity as those around you offer to grab your bag, help with the stroller and chase after you with your purse that was left in the bin.

Snacks...snacks have saved me more than a few dozen times...and in all our snacking ourselves into distraction I've learned one thing- I pack a variety of snacks in separate ziploc bags, BUT I don't pack a ton in each bag.  Filled bags tend to be dumped on the floor and then crunched into a million bits...and I'm left avoiding eye contact with the flight attendant as I'm trying to pick up every crumb.  I usually hide one little treat somewhere in my purse and break it out only in case of emergencies.  Although I would not suggest m&m's...they ALWAYS end up spilling on the seat, melting and getting stuck to my bum.  Nothing worse than that.

Entertainment...When I first started flying with Gracie, I'd pack a whole bag of books and treasures and miniature animals and handfuls of junk I'd see on my way out the door and think maybe she'd like to play with.  I've streamlined my bag- I take one or two favorite small books, paper and crayons and one small toy.  Those toys keep them happy and when they are getting bored with those I will break out the iPads.  Gracie loves any app that helps her learn letters, and Maddie is mesmerized with animal apps.  However, Maddie is at a little bit more difficult age, everything around her is exciting- and really, she does NOT want to stay confined in one little row.  The key to her has been changing it up...today we watched a little "Gruffalo", she'd change positions, read a book, play an animal game, go back to a snack...and then wave/yell/growl at everyone around us.

Kind of a bonus in the entertainment category...we bought our little hoarder, Gracie, the Melissa & Doug Trunki for her birthday.  Not only does it work great as a little suitcase for her carry ons (it fits underneath the seat), but it's a pretty sweet way to ride around the airport.  Gracie is sure she's the airport parade and yells, "hello!" and waves to everyone as we zip by.  It is Gracie's AND my most favorite flying accessory.  Today Matthew and I had a contest to see who could steer it better through the crowded airport, I'd like it recorded that I won...he would disagree.  (This is not something I can generally take when I fly alone, it's too tricky pushing the stroller and pulling the Trunki and managing not to run people over)

As Gracie, and now Maddie, have gotten older they have enjoyed all the interaction with the different people we meet when we fly.  At a young age one of the most important things I have felt to teach my girls is to be aware and vocal of their gratitude.  It's great practice as we meet gate agents, flight attendants, pilots, baggage claim employees and security officers that the girls stop, look at them and say, "thank you" as they help us out.  I have noticed a difference in people when they see the girls appreciating them...more times than not they stop to say your welcome, give the girls a set of wings (we sometimes collect 5 or 6 per trip) and lend a hand (and sometimes I could use a hand or two).

In my bag...I have a few necessities I pack.  A full case of wipes (because we rarely make it through a flight without spilled drinks, sticky hands and a few diaper changes), extra diapers, a change of clothes (for younger babies), hand sanitizer and children's tylenol or ibuprofen if the girls are teething or have had recent ear infections.

So, a cliff's note version of my flight tips, gathered from handfuls of less than perfect, trial by error plane trips.  Hopefully this will save someone from a few of my mishaps and make flying a little more enjoyable!

My favorite picture...taken when we landed at Long Beach.  
Gracie asked me if I had a trampoline or something they could use to jump up and catch the birds.

1 comment:

  1. Bless you for traveling with 2 girls by yourself! I can barely manage one. I'm new to reading your blog, but I love it. Your little girls seem like so much fun! From reading, it sounds liked they have enough personality to share.