Traveling with a Toddler

I’m worn out.

Today I started my 7-day whirlwind trip to see family in Texas and Oklahoma with just myself and the kiddo. I’m so excited to see family. But, the packing and actual travel was not something I’ve been looking forward to.

Packing for a trip to both Texas and Oklahoma in the Spring is a mess. Texas is near 80s and humid. Oklahoma is going to be cold with a possible chance of snow. Three hours apart (Dallas to OKC) and nearly a world of difference with the weather. I did a lot of light layers, but they add up. My bags were quite full.
I have read all the advice for traveling with a toddler. I don’t know if it was just because it was only me, because it was my child, or if I did something out of the playbook. But, today I almost swore off the possibility of ever flying again (no idea how I’ll get home) and ever having another child.
The kid was actually really great for a 1 and a half year old traveling from Portland to Texas. It was a long trip. I’d be cranky too. The first flight he did really great until about forty minutes until we landed. Then he was so antsy to get out that he screamed, whined, kicked, and climbed. It was embarrassing  It could have been worse. (I might have discovered what worse felt like at the second leg of the trip.)
The layover in LA was nearly four hours. In that time the following things happened:
  • X spilled an entire glass of milk all over a restaurant’s floor.
  • My wallet spilled all over the walk way and I had to pick it up while others watched and X whined from his stroller.
  • I walked 4 miles, in a big circle, trying to calm the kid.
  • The bags hanging from the stroller and the kid in the stroller, tipped over as I was pushing the stroller down a hill.
I was already done with this leg of the trip before it even began. After about 10 minutes in the plane X started kicking the seat in front of us, repeatedly opening and shutting the tray table, and screaming anytime I told him no. This prompted a very well-meaning lady to lecture my child on how to behave. She even used his whole name that she overheard me call him. She was very well-meaning and nice. After the initial shock of seeing someone lecture my son without permission, etc. wore off, I chatted with her and found out that she was actually a flight attendant on a vacation and had lots of experience with kids. She event said, “This is the most difficult age to fly, and they don’t mean to do what they are doing.” Made me feel a little better about the mega tantrum that came minutes later.
In that screaming fit the kid head-butted me and cut my lip open. I was bleeding and trying to calm a cranky child. It was not a high-point. He then fell asleep and was an angel for the rest of the trip… but, boy howdy, was this a trip.
The one big bonus was I had probably one of the best airplane experiences yet. I flew with Virgin America and they certainly won my repeat business with this trip.
After having a sweet iced tea (a treat I only enjoy when in the South) and some authentic Tex-Mex my kid and I are happy again. My wonderful in-laws not only picked us up from the airport and brought us out for dinner, but they also watched the kiddo for me so I could write this and do some other work. Good family time makes even the most stressful travel days better. Now, me and my fat lip are hitting the hay.
Have you ever had a toddler on a plane experience? 
I’d love to hear about it!
*This post is not sponsored in any way by Virgin America. 

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Jenni is a freelance writer and media assistant based in Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog about all the little things to celebrate in life. Follow Jenni or A Well Crafted Party with BlogLovin, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
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  1. Reply

    Sounds like a crazy trip! Glad you’re having the opportunity to visit family, though. 🙂

  2. Reply

    i know that pdx carpet. good luck on round 2!

  3. Reply

    My first flight with a child involved having to nurse on a plane, crying and a blowout. I think, the first child is meant to break you in so these things don’t phase you.

    On Monday, I took the two girls on MAX downtown by myself. They insisted on going on the escalator at the mall. I folded up the stroller and grabbed both their hands to get on. The little one and I made it on but the three year old did not. Some nice moms at the bottom helped her on after I shouted, “It’s okay to touch her and help her on.” The little one crawled to the top of the escalator, got off by herself, stood at the top and yelled, “I did it myself, Mommy!” Not my finest parenting moment ever. I should have just said, ‘no’ to the escalator.

    I often ask myself, “Why do I think I deserve to have perfectly behaved children?” Because honestly, I don’t. They need to act like kids and I should not be embarrassed about that.

    You can make it back! Bribe him with food, a new book, and drawing on himself with washable markers. 🙂

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