July 2009

So much for my good intentions about posting more frequently during our restful summer!  In the past month and a half, we have been in DC, Virginia, Georgia, New York, and now Texas, never staying anywhere for more than about a week and a half so far.  Stephen has been on five domestic flights and two international flights, and has spent hours and hours in the car during our three trips between DC and Richmond.  Thank goodness he’s pretty easy going, but even with a relatively mellow toddler all of this traveling has been less than restful.  Right now we’re in Texas, where Stephen and I will stay for another week and a half (Danny has to go back to work).

A few observations on traveling with a little person.  I really think (and I could be delusional about this, as I’ve never experienced traveling with an older child) that this age of just starting to walk but not yet being verbal is the worst age to do this sort of traveling with.  He’s old enough to be squirmy and want to be practicing his walking, but not old enough to understand the need to sit still or to be diverted by movies or books or games for more than about 7 1/2 seconds.  As our fellow travelers can attest, even my happy-go-lucky little boy gets very frustrated with being cooped up in an airplane after about an hour.

Here’s what has actually helped so far:

– traveling with a litle bag of toys that can be pulled out one by one when distraction is needed

– snacks of all types (Cheerios, pine nuts, fruit, granola bars, prezels, PB&J sandwiches, canned beans)

– in flight magazines that can be flipped through and colored on

– crayons

– books (these only help for a very brief period at this age)

– plastic cups, into which smaller toys can be inserted and removed repeatedly

Here’s what has not helped:

– stacking cups.  They fall over and roll under seats, and become projectiles to be chucked at other passengers.

– having any sort of technology visible.  He grabs at cameras, cell phones, iPods, Kindles, anything with buttons, and screams if we try to remove it.

– trying to convince a very stubborn 16 month old to sleep on domestic flights.  The aisles are too narrow and too often populated with other people for me to walk him up and down long enough to put him to sleep, and trying to induce sleep while seated mostly results in screaming and thrashing.

My only other observation is that it is worth it to pay for an extra seat for a child his age if there are not two adults traveling.  It’s embarassing enough when everyone on the plane glares in my direction because he’s shrieking without the additional chagrin inherent in my neighbor being smacked or kicked by a thrashing toddler attempting to escape my lap.  (Thank you a thousand times to the very sympathetic women seated next to us on the flights to and from Jacksonville.  Your understanding was much appreciated.)


Stephen and I were just listening to a little music, and “Me and Bobby McGee” came up on the playlist.  Thanks to my friend Catherine, I sang along with every word of the song, much to Stephen’s amusement.  In the summer of…um…1994?  Catherine made all of us (Kim, Jennifer, and me) mix tapes of her favorite songs from camp that year, and the Animaniacs and Bobby McGee featured prominently thereon.  We all memorized pretty much the entire tape, and what stuck me as funny today is that when I hear songs that were on the tape, as happened today, I still mentally expect the next song that plays to be the next song that was on the tape.  For instance, right after “Me and Bobby McGee” came “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”  My iPod, of course, did not realize that the songs were supposed to progress in exactly that order, so I had to help it out by scrolling through to find Lucy.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure I haven’t listened to that actual tape in at least five years, maybe longer.  I haven’t even thought about it in years, but somehow as soon as Bobby McGee came to an end I was waiting for the opening notes of Lucy.  Odd, huh?  I’m sure if I were to hear one of the Animaniacs songs from that tape I would expect those to come in the proper order as well, although the likelihood of that happening is much more remote.  I definitely want to try to find a DVD of their cartoons for Stephen to watch, though.  I mean, how can you not love Pinky and the Brain?!