Five Stages Of Flying With A Toddler

Once upon a time I flew with my eight month old daughter and it was a wonderful experience. She slept a majority of all flights involved and was easily consoled with breastfeeding or a pacifier when she was awake. I call this phenomenon: The creation of unattainable long term travel expectations. 

Thanks to several easy trips, I had no worries whatsoever about flying with my fourteen month old toddler. How naíve of me. 

While flying with a very busy little girl, (whom, might I add, has no interest whatsoever in sitting still for any amount of time), my husband and I went through several stages of coping. They closely resemble the stages of grief, and are as follows:

Denial

She’s just excited because there’s a lot of unfamiliar faces and we haven’t done this in a few months. Once we’re in the air she’ll nap and it will be smooth sailing for the rest of the flight. We can do this. 

Anger

WHY WON’T YOU SLEEP, CHILD?!? 

Bargaining

Please tell me it’s almost time to land… 

What do you mean we have three hours left?! 

Please sleep, sweet girl. PLEASE?!

Want milk? Here’s milk. 

No milk? Snack? No snack.

Book? Let’s read! No, don’t throw the book. 

Depression

I clearly fail at parenting. My child won’t stop whining. She won’t sleep. All pacifiers have been thrown and have rolled away in turbulence. This flight is never going to end. I’m sure of it. 

Acceptance 

“Please take your seats and fasten your seat belts as we prepare for landing”. 

“It WILL end! We’re landing! We made it!!”

“I was totally patient and definitely held it together. I’m a kick-butt parent, obviously”. 


Can anyone else relate? Please post your favorite flying-with-a-toddler story in comments! I’d love to hear them 😉 

 Photo: Ellavie peeking through the seats at another child’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Those parents were winning. WE, on the other hand, let her rip up several copies of Sky Mall. So we’re pretty cool parents, too.   
 

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