Flying by the seat of your diaper

You may be wondering how our three airplanes ride went on this recent trip I took with my three year old. Here’s my approach to traveling with a child: What you want in these situations is for the child to look as CUTE as possible and the mom to look like death. You’re going for pity here. You WANT people to feel sorry for you, help you out if (who are we kidding, when) tantrums arise, let you cut in line, give your kid a cookie or a cosmopolitan, whatever.

We’ll start with the last leg, coming home. Kid, worn thin from swimming, bouncing, running, eating, and getting about two fewer hours of sleep per day, collapsed early on and slept on the gently used, three foot tall Hello Kitty her cousin gave to her, waking only to reposition herself. IT WAS GREAT. I made it to Hour Three (with one more to go) before getting REAL antsy and wanting OUT. (“I want off this bus!” as my little niece said once upon a time)

The middle 1 1/2 flight to Dallas from St. Louis was also pretty uneventful. Kid was soooo excited to see her Grammy and, not surprisingly, the pool in Grammy’s building. Kid: Grammy’s house is in a building? Wha? (head tilt, eyebrows crinkled) But the reality was even better than she imagined, judging from her desire to swiiiiiiiiim all the time while we were there. Added bonus: we left town before any broken items had been discovered at Grammy’s place.

It was the first flight that was interesting. Kid would not sleep for any of the almost four hours. And even though we did visit the potty before boarding, (really!) it was less than an hour after takeoff when she announced a renewed interest in the matter of the bathroom. Problem: the seatbelt light was still on. Could she wait? As she would say, waiting is not in her brain (or elsewhere in her body). At home, you’ll suddenly hear the pitter patter of little feet as she suddenly realizes her need and dashes to the potty. Thankfully, I, FOR ONCE, listened to my spouse. He’s the one who asked as we’re walking out the door, do you have a diaper for the plane ride? Oh, but she’s been SO good about using the potty, I don’t think we really need one, I said. He gives me the cockeyed, side glance eyebrow raise, topped with a what-have-you-been-smokin? snort for good measure. I then grabbed one for the carry-on bag, complete with an extended “okaaaaay, I’ll take one” sigh with undertones of you-just-don’t-get-it. Hours later, ManOMan, I have never loved him more! On the plane, trapped in our seats, I whipped out the dipe and saved the day, or at least her clothes and the seat (on the full flight). And my sanity.

So, my advice now is in addition to the cute/death appearance combo described above, take a diaper. EVEN IF your little star has been so good, so reliable, so careful in the potty training department. These days, with the captain’s trigger finger on the seatbelt sign and flight attendants forgetting about “service” and being more concerned about “safety,” a diaper is a mom’s best friend. I may have to consider an adult one next time; they’re not just for crazed, jealous lovers driving long distances, you know. Crazed moms on airplanes could probably use one, too.

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