Kids on a Plane

In a few days time, my sweet little Toddler will turn three. Three!!! I'm actually pretty excited about what three has in store for us. Two wasn't nearly as terrible as it was made out to be. Sure there was the odd tantrum but I have to confess, they were mostly my fault.

I have so much to look forward to with Toddler. This winter, we're taking her back east to visit her grandparents, cousin and aunt in Florida. While I'm super-excited about the trip, I'm not super excited about getting there and back.

If you're going to live in Alaska, you have to resign yourself to a certain amount of travel. If you're going to have kids in Alaska, sooner or later, you're going to have to fly with them. It's an heroic feat flying with kids. If you can make it to your destination without tears (yours), I think you should be awarded a motherhood medal of honour, or at least a stiff drink upon disembarking the plane.

In two years of traveling with Toddler, I've learned so much from my kid, my fellow travelers and fellow moms. Here is Sarah's top five tips for traveling with babies (feel free to add comments with more tips, I think I'm going to need all the help I can get):

1. Cabin pressure affects babies in unfortunate ways. I learned that from a new dad on a flight to Newark with a three month-old Toddler. This kind young gentleman leaned over and with a smile asked me if I'd heard what cabin pressure does to diapers. Sadly for me, just as he was about to explain, I learned it on my own. Baby poop in a pressurized cabin goes EVERYWHERE! Lesson: Pack a few changes of clothes for baby and pack one for yourself, too.

2. Just because it's sleep time doesn't mean your toddler will sleep. I learned that lesson last time I went to Florida. My flight out of Orlando left at 6pm. When I booked the flight, I figured Toddler would sleep the whole way to Anchorage. Boy was I mistaken. Instead of winding down, she wound up. I think I was the most hated person on that night flight. Lesson: Know thy toddler.

3. Car Seats are your friend. On our trip to Hawaii, we brought Toddler's FAA approved car seat on board and strapped her in. Great for us that she wasn't bouncing off the cabin walls. Bad for us that it meant she had to take the window seat. Even worse for the poor woman in front of her who was on the receiving end of a few well-placed kicks from a buckled in kid. Lesson: Car Seats are great. Rear-facing car seats are best.

4. Load thy iThing. I have an iTouch. It's a great little device for so many reasons. Most of which is entertaining my Toddler when I really need her to behave. Airports and planes are great places for the iTouch. I make sure to load new games and applications for her before each trip and give her a mixture of wifi and non-wifi programs to play with so there's different fun to be had in different places.  Lesson: Always keep a charge on your iThing.

5. Annick Press. If you can find them, they're called Annikins, teeny tiny little books that fit perfectly in wallets, diaper bags and pockets. I bought them for my last flight with Toddler and they were a wonderful way to pass the time in the air. Our favourite titles: Angela's Airplane, Paper bag Princess (a book that every little girl needs, in my humble opinion), PIGS!, Thomas' Snowsuit and I have to go!. Lesson: Teeny books rock.

There you have it. My top five. Now on to bathing suit shopping. Oh the joy!