Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Ending to a Wonderful Trip

Exhausted after a great trip to Connecticut

We spent this past weekend in New Milford, Connecticut visiting with Anna's Oma, Aunt Kristal, Uncle Chris and Cousin Tori (6 years old). This was Anna's very first plane trip and I have to admit that I was a little nervous about how it would go. There are always horror stories about plane delays and screaming children but I am happy to report that our trip went very smoothly.

On Friday we arrived at RDU airport with bags full of goodies and toys. A nice addition was the car seat bag that one of my mommy friends let me borrow. This bag had a carrying strap and plenty of room to throw in diapers and blankets that could be checked beneath the plane. If we traveled often I would definitely invest in one of these. We quickly made it through check-in and security and had about an hour to wait at our gate. I found the time at the airport to be the most difficult for Anna wanted to be free and run around and did not want us directing her in any way. As my husband and I took turns chasing after her I noticed how different of an environment the airport is in that if we are out shopping and Anna does something cute people smile - at the airport people are annoyed. They look at you and think I hope that child is not getting on my plane.
Finally it was time to board the plane and my previous vision of us on the airplane was shattered when I realized we were boarding one of the small jets that seats 3 across. These are the planes that it doesn't look like you are going to fit into when you go through the door and most of the people flying take up their seat plus part of the aisle because the seats are so small. We, and all of our stuff, did fit of course but there was one point where I just started laughing. Here's a mental picture... My husband who has fairly broad shoulders is squished in the window seat with his pregnant wife at his side and his 25 pound child in his lap. There are 3 (!) carry-on bags at our feet and the guy in front of him decides to lean his seat back. My tray table is down supporting our laptop and beverages AND Anna has a sticky lollipop in her hand which she decides to swing around from time to time. Maybe you had to be there but I thought it was hilarious. The flight was an hour and a half and soon we were back on the ground with a happy child.
The return flight went equally well and we are now back home. Our next flight is in 2 months and there are a few things I'll remember:

- Snacks are good. Yes, maybe it is a little obsessive to feed your child through the entire flight, but food equals silence.
- Lollipops are questionable. I bought a pack of dum-dums on the suggestion of a friend who found giving her child a lollipop during the flight helped with her ears. I know I should have thought it through, but I didn't realize how messy they can be in tight spaces. I'm not sure if it helped with Anna's ears or not, but it definitely made her happy.
- The DVD player is great for a sleepy child. Anna was tired during both of our trips. Being able to watch part of a video while relaxing on daddy was good down time.
- Staying on the plane until everyone else gets off really eliminates that feeling of being rushed as people behind you push forward.
- Next time I can save room in the bags by bringing only a few toys, if any. If you are on a plane like we are on, how in the world do you get to them?
- It's good to keep the child close to the window because they don't know they can get down into the aisle.
- I found having a plan of what's next to be very helpful so that I wasn't rifling through our bags whenever Anna was ready to move on to something new.

Here are a few thoughts from my husband as well.

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