I’m a mile high and finally coming down off of my anxious peak. Folks, I am a terrified flyer. I was always the good one until one particularly bad flight a few years ago, and since then I turn into mush when flying. It’s slightly better when my husband is with me – he knows how to talk me out of it. Xanax and sometimes a stiff drink do help, but I find myself hitting peaks and valleys of anxiety and feeling really awful and sick in the middle. But currently my flight is going fine, Mimi (my mom) is sitting in the seat behind me, and the man is passed out in my arms.
This is not this seasoned little traveler’s first flight. When he was three months old I flew by myself with him down to see my sister in New Orleans. I was already a bad flyer by then, but managing an infant on a plane solo was distraction enough. For some strange reason, they boarded us last. I wasn’t even in my seat before they closed the doors, and Harry began to wail as his ears popped. I was glared at by the people in front of us, and sat next to a horrified looking middle aged man as I tried to wrangle my screaming infant and my nursing cover. Those things are evil! I couldn’t get him calm enough to latch on as we started to take off, and I began to cry with him. Not good. Finally, just as we were about to crusting altitude, I pulled my shit together and forced the nursing issue. Harry latched on and nursed for a whole minute, then slept the rest of the way. I ended up talking to my neighbor (I had to make small talk, my boob was out!) and had a lovely flight. I decided then and there that I would never stress about traveling with a child again.
When Harry was eight months old, my husband and I took him to Hawai’i to vacation and visit my dad. It couldn’t have gone more perfectly! FYI-that is the perfect age to do traveling. Most infants at that age are pleasant because they’ve got their routine down and they are starting to communicate so they’re less frustrated. They’re easily carried and fit well on your lap on the plane. We planned one short stop in San Francisco (only about an hour) then continued on to Hawai’i. We changed his diapers while he was across our lap and made bottles with bottled water (I was unable to produce enough milk past 6 months). For all for flights, I pretty much was calm save one turbulent event right out of Hawai’i. I’d like to think the island was sad that we were leaving.
So now unfortunately I have to buy a seat for my big guy, but that’s okay because I’m currently using it to stretch out. I think the anxiety has passed, so I’m going to enjoy stroking his hair and feeling him breathe. These moments will be gone so quick, I want to enjoy them. Cue speech on getting out there with your kids: go do stuff! Show them new places! Even if you can’t afford to get on a plane, drive to new places. I’ve been teaching Harry the word “travel”, and I love to hear him say it. I want to lite a fire in him that fuels the desire to see and experience places, on not just through searching the Internet. Ahhh, all this travel talk is so soothing. Time to catch some zzzs-guaranteed we will land and the man will be ready to explore!