Flying with toddler, flights 18 and 19

We’ve been flying with Ella since April 2009, when she was a mere 5 month old who didn’t even sit up unassisted.  Each flight, each plane has been a slightly different experience.

We flew to Phuket on the morning flight out of Singapore last Monday-around 8:30/9 in the morning.  All things considered, it was a fairly easy flight-E watched Sesame street on the iPod…although they took forever to let us turn on electronics, which was especially trying with an almost 2 year old shrieking for Sesame in my lap.  But once it was on, we were fine.

One key piece of information–the iPod speakers died at some point on the trip.  I bought new speakers off the street, but shockingly, they died too (what do you expect from cheap-ass street speakers?).  My main tool for keeping her calm was MIA.

The flight home was another deal entirely.  The flight home was scheduled for 10pm, and delayed until almost 1am.  That was the first signal that this was going to be a bumpy ride.  A 10 pm flight, a little Sesame and then she’d fall asleep on the flight.  Keeping her up far past her bedtime, arriving in Singapore at 4am local time, plus the taxi ride home was not a recipe for happy Ella.  She didn’t want to watch Sesame on the laptop, she didn’t want to play with her toys, she didn’t want to walk, she didn’t want to be held, she didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want anything.  Except to be clingy for five seconds and then not.

Once we were finally on the plane, E was cranky as hell and clingy.  I was ready to tear my hair out, and was mostly thrilled that there were other babies and toddlers crying far louder and longer than mine.

The one saving grace for me was when E was taking a break from being cranky, another baby started shrieking.  Elanor looked in their direction, laughed, pointed and said derisively “a baby,” as if she hadn’t been equally whiny seconds ago.

E did finally pass out about 20 minutes into the two hour flight.  She slept on me all the way through the flight until the descent.  For the first time ever, E had trouble with a flight descent and sobbed, which was worrisome.  I wondered if she too had swimmer’s ear, which I was certain I had by that point.

She slept on the taxi drive home, through the diaper change, and through the change into her pajamas.  Several days later, her sleep schedule is still fucked up.  She slept until 1/2 pm on Sunday, noonish on Monday, somewhere between 11-12 today.  She’s still going to bed later than normal and with lots of trouble–she got so upset about bed last night that we had puking, again.

As it was “just” a two hour flight, and we did bring B on the trip with us, and as our carseat was broken a few months ago and hasn’t been replace, we didn’t get E her own seat.

I regret this deeply.  The carseat, attached to a carry-on using the traveling toddler accessory would have been invaluable.  E does better restrained and in her own private space.  She’s not a cuddly kid by nature; she’s much more of a “I’ll let you hug me and then I’m going to run away,” kid.  I’m glad that the next time we fly there is no way Elanor will be allowed to fly in lap, because I never want to be tempted into putting her in lap again.  It is a grave mistake in Elanor’s case.

I do have to say, I’m psyched about the flight home to Boston…the first leg will count as Elanor’s 20th airplane ride.

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