Father Knows Best: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

The terrible twos have come a few months early!

Now, normally, this is actually not that bad a thing. As long as he's happy and content, watching him run around like a hellion and play toys and body slam his giant plush BB-8 is actually a joy to behold.

I'm just wondering how well that energy is going to work when we have to contain it for three hours on a plane.

You see, three years ago, my in-laws gifted all of their kids (Linds and her two brothers and their families) with a Disney trip. After hemming and hawing (and theoretically, saving) for a few years, this is the year. We've known for a while that Caleb was going to be too young to really enjoy the trip, so we were going to arrange for someone to take him for a week. Unfortunately, due to a perfect storm of other people's vacations and unplanned illnesses (as opposed to the meticulously planned illnesses that are so much more convenient), we are left with no alternative.

Now, Caleb has many fine attributes. He's smart, he's devilishly handsome, he's outspoken and well read. He is not, however, a patient person. If the car stops at the stop light for ten seconds, he voices his disapproval in the most uncertain terms. The idea of trying to confine him to one seat for three (plus?) hours is legitimately terrifying at the moment.

We've got his tablet (that's right, HIS tablet. He somehow owns more tablets than I do), a numbers of books and quiet toys and games. We've begun constructing a book that it full of pictures of his favorite things (said book consists of pictures of Blaze the Monster Truck, Macaroni and Cheese, Grandpa and kitties), so.... what are we missing? I really don't want to end up on the nightly news.

My Mission:
Complete the flight with minimal disruption to the nice people who will be trapped in a flying metal tube with us for three hours.

No horse tranquilizers

14 thoughts on “Father Knows Best: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”

  1. Most of the time, I hate screens for child-numbing. This is the scenario in which tablet indulgence seems warranted.

    Run him hard in the airport while waiting for the plane. You don't need to add to the containment time. Hopefully the flight will be near regular nap times?
    Figure you'll get a few minutes per distraction presented, so have suffient favorites/novelties to rotate for flight duration. Let him know he has to be buckled up most of the time like he does in the car. Hopefully you can put him in the window seat and physically block him from aisle access, but take a walk or three when the aisles are clear.

    Godspeed, man.

    1. We try to limit screentime. It's not made easier by the fact the daycare has the TV on a lot, and he's pretty well obsessed with a couple of the Nick Jr. cartoons (Blaze and Duggee are his heroes right now, I think).

      But yes, all that goes out the window immediately once we leave the ground.

    2. Hopefully the flight will be near regular nap times?

      100000000000000%. If it can be arranged, make the flight line up for nap time. This works best if it's been a little long. It's worked on both of ours to get them to sleep. We skip naps for the oldest now, but didn't do that until he was 3.

      Hopefully you can put him in the window seat

      I don't know if you're going to be using a car seat, but if you do then you're required to put it in the window seat. This does help for corralling them.

      Figure you'll get a few minutes per distraction presented, so have suffient favorites/novelties to rotate for flight duration.

      Yep. Also, get some new toys/things and don't introduce them until already on the plane and you're getting desperate. These will provide extra time and hopefully you will have either landed by then or can rotate in previously discarded toys. Another thing is they tend to be quiet when stuffing their faces. Those three hours are not the time to suddenly be strict about "special food" amounts.

  2. we did Disney World when the Boy was a bit over two. Spent a lot of time riding Small World and going to the hotel pool. Word to the wise: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is probably not a good idea.

  3. Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Especially small things that take a while to eat (cheerios, goldfish crackers, baby puffs, etc.)

  4. We have been doing the roundtrip from the Twin Cities to St Louis 2-3 times per year since the kids were infants. When people ask how we do it, I tell them we go from being "no" parents to being "yes" parents.

    You want a brownie? Yes! You want to watch a movie? Yes!

    It's all about survival!

  5. Nibs, I'll have more tomorrow, but we did this maybe two weeks ago. Got up at 3 a.m., drove to MSP, hung out in waiting area, flew to Miami, messed around in the airport & rental car lot for an hour or so and then drove 2+ hours to the Keys ... with Kernel (5) & Niblet (27 months).

  6. Flight attendants will usually provide you with a few drink cups of you ask. They stack really well, so they provide a few minutes of being a "new toy." Also, waking the aisle once or twice kills some energy. Otherwise, we pray for a nap or else give him access to one of our phones.

    (We're going to Nola for a such trip on two weeks, and this will be the Valet's tenth plane trip. But it sure was more tolerable when he was infant in arms and but costing an extra seat!)

Comments are closed.