What’s more terrifying than a 3 day vacation alone with your mother-in-law?
I will tell you what….an airplane + three kids+ mommy – hubby = disaster.
A couple of months ago I decided to take a plane ride with my three kids (two of them under the age of 3) without my husband, in one of the busiest airports in the country, Atlanta Hartsfield Airport.
You see, I was flying in town for a surprise party for my sister and I had planned a nice trip for the entire family to travel to Tennessee, eat some barbecue, and hang out with my family. Two days before we were set to fly I received some bad news: my husband could not get off from work. I was faced with a tough decision: a.) decide not to go and just “flake” on the surprise party or, b.) brave the elements ( the kids) and travel by ourselves. Being the “Super Mom” that I am, I went with the latter.
Now flying with small children, you have to be prepared for everything. So I started by packing three outfits for each child (even though we would only be there two days), packing diaper bags, snacks, and games for the kids for the flight. I made sure the double stroller was clean and packed it in my car for the airport. Upon arriving things went very smooth. My husband unloaded us all, I checked in and away we went to our adventure.
The kids were excited to get on the train in the airport (I told you that the airport was huge.) But, things changed when we approached the TSA lines. The first indicator that things were not going to go good should have been when my two-year old began to mumble: “I’m scared Mommy.” When we got into the line I was prepared to take off my shoes, take my laptop out and basically strip to go through security. But multiply that by three and you can feel my pain.
Once I took of the toddler’s shoes all hell broke loose! Little Mama (the four-year old) and the Fat Daddy (the two -year-old) began to scream in terror. My oldest son, D.J., forgot to take out his phone and belt so of course the alarms went off. And to add to the confusion, one of the TSA workers wanted to argue with me that my double stroller could fit into the conveyor belt!
Seeing that I was about to be detained for overall craziness I first had to calm the babies down while basically undressing D.J. all while arguing with the TSA worker. Once I got all the children through the metal detector, convinced the women that they would have roll my stroller through the larger scanner I was ready to go! Whew! Upon arriving to the gate, I realized we were the last passengers to get on the plane! So imagine me shuffling down the aisle with three kids. Passengers were giving me the side eye in anticipation of the screaming they were sure my kids would do. As I sat down I quietly prayed for a Godly intervention of temper tantrums and crying fits.
Needless to say the actual flight was a breeze. Little Mama was amazed at the sights from the window, Fat Daddy flirted with the flight attendants and D.J. tuned us all out to focus on his Nintendo DS. Now don’t get me wrong-kids will be kids. Of course my daughter talked too loud and the baby , began to throw cookies as we were going to land but we were not put off the plane for disorderly conduct!
As I think about this experience there are some things I did that helped me prepare for the flight:
1.) I had a talk with the kids about what it meant to fly. I had to make sure no one would start screaming as we took off, “We’re going to die!”
2.) I packed snacks in our “carry on” bag. Knowing I would have to go through security, I made sure none of the snacks were opened but these were a lifesaver. As soon as the kids got antsy, I’d
pop” a carrot stick in their mouth– disaster adverted.
3.) I remained calm in the midst of a total breakdown–by me. While I was mentally screaming I was able to remain calm and remember that they were kids and that even if they did “act up” in the airport–they wouldn’t be the first kids to do it and they wouldn’t be the last!
When we landed I thought to myself,” This is a breeze, I could do this again!”
BMWK – Have you ever flown with multiple kids? What did you do to maintain the peace?