Tag Archives: mrs arnow

10 Tips for Flying with a Toddler

19 Aug

Last month, I nervously researched “flying with a toddler” in about every Facebook group, Insta-hashtag and mommy blog I could find. What I found was that everyone prepares like mad, and just hopes to survive the few hours – or way too many hours – they’ll be mid-air with a squirmy-wormy, little monster on their lap.

I was the same.

Instead of making official “busy bags”, I packed a special backpack full of fun stuff for the flight, then a separate diaper bag, with all of the diapering essentials, sani-wipes, essential oils (who knows why), and medicines (Tylenol, Advil, Hyland’s Baby Vitamin C and Teething Tablets – again, who knows why). We were lucky enough to have only pee diapers on the plane, thank goodness, but we were prepared, just in case shit hit the fan… literally.

Anyway, we had a GREAT flight both directions and though that might be because I have an awesome kid, here’s my recommendation for flying with a toddler:

1. Get seats next to your partner (I recommend aisle and middle). This also means GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY!!!

We didn’t want to splurge on the ‘extra 4″ of room’ fees, or bulkhead seats, and got to the airport for both flights way too late to be too choosey, but having seats next to your partner is really great. That way, you can have more room on your laps, lift the arm rest between you, and just kinda share the wiggle. I also felt like having a window (which I typically prefer) would have made us feel too trapped and when little mister needed to walk the aisles for a few, or I needed to grab something from the overhead, and it would have just been a giant bummer for the person in the aisle.

If you’re flying solo, it’s probably best to try to get the aisle, so they can hang their legs off the side and squirm as much as needed too. Plus, kids seem to think that the rolling carts are pretty cool and flight attendants really like chatting with good babies. Any second that passes time in a positive way, means any time without tears.

2. Bring a stroller, but wear your baby! 

We almost opted to rent a stroller in Hawaii, but had recently purchased a BOB from our neighbors who were no longer using theirs. We paid $80 for it (what we would have paid renting) and it was a LIFESAVER in the airport, plus, we got to use it all over the place on our trip, and even more so at home. Best $80 ever.

I wore Remy in the Ergo, and put all of our carryon’s in the stroller, which was great, because we spent most of the time in the airport running to catch our flight (we’re TERRIBLE at getting to airports early). When you wear your baby, they basically pass you through security, and just check your hands for chemicals… which, duh. Why would a mom with a baby have bomb chemicals on her? I guess there are still bad people in the world.

IMG_7723.JPG

Baby/backpack wearing, travel fam.

3. Bring a packed lunch, and if you have time, buy more food at the airport. 

Airline food sucks and it’s not toddler friendly, unless your kid likes nasty roast beef and mayo sandwiches, or can chew almonds and stuff like that. Like I said, we are TERRIBLE at getting to airports when we should, so we weren’t able to buy food in advance of the flight, which meant that the snacks I packed were all we had… and the nasty roast beef and mayo sandwich that we all tried to stomach, but struggled with. My best friend had said “bring snacks, snacks, snacks, and more snacks” and she was dead on. We didn’t bring sugary snacks (god forbid it create a sugar high monster on the flight), but we brought all his favorites and didn’t limit how much he ate of them. Gold fish (organic, of course), organic peanut butter sandwich/cookies, fruit shreds, teensy fruit, and Plum Organic baby bars. All of his favorite treats, all healthy, and all we had for a very long time.

4. Talk to your baby about the adventure you’re going on and (try to) show them the plane before you board.

Remy was mesmerized by it. It was really cute.

5. Tylenol… My hero.

I know a lot of moms don’t give their kids Tylenol unless their kid is SUPER sick with a fever, but this is an important one to understand. Your baby can’t adjust the pressure in their ears yet by elongating their eustachian tubes, the way grown ups/big kids can. Chewing gum, popping your ears, all of that is a learned skill and baby’s don’t get it yet. I gave Remy some Tylenol about 30 minutes before take off, and 45 minutes before landing, so that his ears wouldn’t hurt too terribly… especially because he was sick with a double ear infection on our way home.

6. Nurse or Bottle your baby during takeoff and BEFORE landing. 

To piggy back on the Tylenol, if you’ve flown with a head-cold before, you know that the first decrease in altitude is the worst. On our 5 hour flight to Hawaii, we coasted at an easy 35,000 feet. When we first started to decline down to 10,000 feet, my head felt like it was going to explode. I was sick when we left for our trip, and I actually cried like a baby in pain during our decent. Not my finest moment, but I learned something important; the initial decent is the worst part and if you take care of your baby’s potential for pain or discomfort prior to then, you’ll have a much happier munchkin when your feet are on the ground again.  Nursing your baby on the way up, and again on the way down, in combo with Tylenol, will save your sanity, and your sweet little babe some unnecessary pain.

7. Book your flight during a nap or bed time.

Who knew I would have hit the nail on the head with this one, but it worked! My little guy was so tired just from the time of day, and so beat from all of the stimulation of getting onto the flight, that he slept for over an hour and a half each way on our flights to and from Hawaii. I booked the flights at nap-time in Los Angeles (1:00PM) on the way out, and 4:30PM on the way back, which also helped transition back to nap-time in the PST time zone (he, of course, also napped in the car on the way to the airport).

Nursed and Sleepy

Nursed and Sleepy

8. Pack toys your baby is not used to playing with.

For us, it was stickers and Play Dough. My guy is only 17 months old, so he’s just learning how to play with Play Dough, instead of eating it. It was a really fun part of our flight. We made bracelets and snakes… he loved it. Stickers were the other hit. We found these great “reusable sticker books” where you can actually peel the stickers off the page, and re-stick them somewhere else. The Despicable Me Minions were a lot of fun to move around from page to page, but I wish I’d have seen these Melissa & Doug ones too! So cute!!

9. Don’t be afraid of screens.

We all know that the recommendations for toddlers and using iPads/iPhones/sitting in front of the TV is “no screens until 2”, but that doesn’t include air travel. Sorry. DO NOT GUILT YOURSELF for doing what’s necessary to get where you need to go, if your babe is “under age”. We loaded up our favorite family movie “Turtle Tales” on the iPad and brought it along, just in case… Turns out, I like to sleep on flights, and that’s dumb when you’re holding a baby, so I needed a break from the busyness of play time, and “tur-lurs” were just the thing I needed. Remy had never worn headphones before either. Having them on his cute little head, monkey in arm, was just the sweetest thing to me, and most interesting (read “TIME CONSUMING”) thing I could have hoped for. Also, just pay attention to your kid and try to keep the amount of time you spend distracted from their needs (ie. on your airplane mode phone playing solitaire, or reading the latest tween novel).

Turtle Tales, Monkey, headphones and my Babe.

Turtle Tales, Monkey, headphones and my Babe.

10. Have Some FUN! Wear Matching Family Outfits! Be THAT Family!

This has nothing to do with the success of the flight, other than that it may help you keep a jovial perspective if/when things get rocky. 🙂

Once upon an unmarried time, my future husband made a jokey reference to wanting to “always match when we travel, like the Royal Tenenbaums”. So, for one of his wedding-day presents, I had matching black Adidas warmups made, with silly nicknames and the date on each of our jackets, and our initials on the pant fronts, for us to wear on our honeymoon.We looked like we were from the Jersey Shore. Hilarious. That started the family trend, silly as it was.

Thanks to so many modern brands realizing how fun it is to match your family, without looking like a moron, there are so many options for looking good while matching. My current favorite is Sly Fox Threads. Their designs are awesome, and they have mom, dad and baby clothes that are all awesome. Here’s a pic of my dudes in Maui, matching as my men should.

Happy matching in Maui!

My Boys in Sly Fox, matching in Maui!

The point is, be prepared, but relax and have fun with it. Traveling is stressful with or without a kiddo on your hip, so make the most of it by creating your experience as you go.

If you have any additions to my little list, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Happy trails!

My Hot Bloggy Mess

5 Jun
One Hot Mess; A Linkup by The Fike Life.

One Hot Mess; A Linkup by The Fike Life.

I dream about blogging all day long. In fact, I have written hundreds I witty posts in my imagination that will never be remembered when I actually have the time to write them down.

In my head, I’m awesome. Hilarious. So entertaining. Helpful when help is needed, be it child-rearing advice (because I’m such an expert) or a bubble of laughter. I’m your blogger. You identify with me and I with you. I drink belinis every night as I sit on my porch overlooking the wilderness, computer on my lap, thoughtful gaze on my face. I make your life feel more understood, and well, we inspire each other’s Pinterest boards, because my photography of normal life’s events is just so amazing. I’ve always got my laundry done, my kitchen clean, my roots bleached, eyebrows waxed, bed made, dinner on the table by 5:30, and nightstands clear of glasses and tissues, and I still have time to make my husband feel like the rock of my fortress. Also, my perfect toddler naps for hours on end, and sleeps a perfect 12 hours at night, waking up no earlier than 7:00AM. Of course, I wake up an hour before my family (since my family is on a perfect and predictable sleeping schedule) and have time for “me” as I get ready for my day, showering away the perfectly unsweaty night’s sleep, sipping my cuppa’ coffee, all while preparing for another glorious day.

I am perfect. No, I’m not. 

Living in my wild imagination is pure bliss, but when you’re living in my body, it’s exactly the opposite.

This is my guest room... not that any guests could use it.

This is my guest room… not that any guests could use it.

Computer is still on the couch opened to work emails about motorcycles (yes I work with motorcycles) not all the blogs I’ve bookmarked “to read at some future date”, I don’t have a porch overlooking the wilderness (unless you call West Hollywood “wild”), I don’t know exactly what goes into a belini (just that I love them and have to pay $14 for them at any local restaurant – thanks, WeHo) and I have a house full of clean laundry begging to be put away, dirty laundry dying to be washed (lest my dogs pee on the pile again), dishes in the sink and bathroom needing to be scrubbed. Floors, oh the floors… wearing socks that accumulate the hair of my two dogs counts as “sweeping” right? I party all the time too, but those parties (like the one I just had) consist of cleaning out the fridge and finally cleaning up the sticky salad dressing that spilled on the top shelf two months ago. It’s a blast.

Hooray for reality, transparency and hot messes.

I can’t count on consistency in my family’s schedule, but I can count on the fact that no matter what… baby’s up. Gotta jam.

Attack of the Killer Crows

28 May
Photo Cred: Vincent Bazen

Photo Cred: Vincent Bazen

Crows are scaaaaaary and when you’re on the receiving end of their wrath, they are a living nightmare.

Last Monday morning, I was on my way out to work. Grant was on his way to the library to study. Remy was in the house safe in the arms of his babysitter, getting ready for his first nap.

As I stood at my car, Grant called for me to come “look at the weird crow sitting by our kitchen door on the trash bag”. I sauntered over, as all self-proclaimed (but totally untrue) “animal whispers” would, thinking that this poor little crow was hurt or something. I mean, why else would he be sitting on the stoop by my kitchen door?

I approached him for two reasons; 1. because I’d left something in the kitchen and the baby was going down for a nap on the other side of the house, where the front door is and I didn’t want to distract the babysitter from accomplishing her napping goal; and 2. to see if he would move as I approached. I did not touch him, or even come close to touching him.

Apparently, what it did was piss off his mama.

Suddenly, my head was surrounded by flapping wings and a shrieking crow was trying to ward me off of her young. They must have been in the middle of flying lessons, and he found comfort on my trash (which of course, should have been sitting there in the first place).

I rushed into the house in a panic and slammed the door behind me. Our side door is a window paned door, so I watched as the crow “yelled” at me, beak gaping open and wings ferociously flapping.

Photo Cred: Mark Sebastian

Photo Cred: Mark Sebastian

Not wanting to be late to work, I got what I needed, and headed to our backdoor, thinking I would escape her wrath through the back… NOT SO.

I went outside and my scent must have carried, because suddenly, I was being chased by a big, nasty, PISSED OFF, mama crow. She swooped down to my head several times (see photo above, even though that’s not me) as I ran through my yard, down my side yard (opposite the side with the kitchen door) and when I got to the back gate, I remember that the gate was broken, and I had to run all the way back, around the entire house with an angry crow swooping down to my head, ruffling my hair, and screaming at me. My only options were to run like a lunatic, screaming, swearing and begging for my husband to save me.

I ran all the way to the street screaming and finally, with my protector husband close by, dropped down to my knees (in the middle of the street) and just started sobbing laughing. My husband was there screaming “Fuck You, Bird!!! Stay away from my family!”

If you know my husband, you know how funny this is. At that time, however, I was in tears and dear darling protector of mine flapped his wings so he appeared much bigger that the angry bird.

After the “attack” the crow sat our magnolia tree angrily pounding his (or her) open beak on the branches of the tree, with continued screaming, while ripping leaves off of the tree and throwing them to the ground. Our neighbor Molly said she was “trapped” in her house, and that the bird wouldn’t let her pass, so Grant had to escort her to her car… after all, the birds feared him. It wasn’t the only time he heard someone scream in fear, birds cawing, either. Our upstairs neighbor took to carrying an open umbrella to and from her car as protection!

For several days after, every time I walked outside, a crow would “caw” and I would crouch down… and a few times, I got warning swoops and one time, an extra low swoop to my head.

Thanks, Hitchcock. You’ve ruined me.

“Domino” by BetaWolf (WATCH)

12 Oct

This summer, Beta Wolf went on the road with Daughtry. They spent about 5 weeks making music, friends and memories. While I was home struggling through our 1st trimester “woes” this is what my Grant was doing… and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

Ballet, Like Life, is HARD!

18 Sep

This video is precious and reminds me that some of us just have to work a little harder than others and making sense of something that can seem so simple to someone else. It doesn’t mean that we’re stupid, or less than, or anything other than perfect in our own way, it just takes more practice and dedication to get those heels to touch.

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