If you remember my last post, I was dispensing invaluable advice on how to survive air travel accompanied by a person younger than a cheap Merlot. I was doing this because a good friend was scheduled to board a plane today and I said boldly, “Oh, I can help. I know all about that.”
Well, according to the texts my friend began sending me from seat 14C, I have forgotten more than most people have ever known.
TEXT #1: …”Rear seat pockets are a f**king joke. They hold NOTHING!”
Forgotten Tip #1: Here’s what you do: You make sure that everything you KNOW you will need during the flight (raisins, goldfish, drinks (for both of you), antibacterial wipes, pipe cleaners (Forgotten Tip #2: didn’t I mention bring pipe cleaners? Just a handful can provide what could be the crucial ten minutes of distraction) is in just one half of the diaper bag: the half that’s most easily accessible by bending down over your toddler with your face crammed against the tray table in its up and locked position. Because the only other place to store things is….
TEXT #2: “I’m keeping all the flat stuff behind me. I’m a genius. “
Forgotten Tip #3: Airplane seats are funny this way: Although they don’t have enough room for a normal-sized human to sit comfortably for even three minutes, there appears to be vast quantities of useable airspace behind the small of one’s back. This is caused by the concave profile of the seats, which were apparently designed by an ergonomics professor on a planet inhabited by hundred-pound avocados. I have stored not only my own zip-up hoodie (see FT #10), but also a 34 inch-tall stuffed bear, two milk bottles, and a Richard Scarry book behind the small of my back, resulting in no less discomfort and better lumbar support than actually having the seat to myself.
TEXT #3: “Add to your list to make sure that the mother eats well before leaving for the airport. I’m starving! I haven’t eaten since the cookies I had for breakfast.”
Forgotten Tip #4: Eat. More than cookies. Before you go. If you (understandably) don’t have time, while you are packing raisins and goldfish, make yourself a pb&j sandwich. Pack a few granola bars. A bag of nuts. An apple. A piece of chocolate. And extra plastic baggies, to make sure you have a place to put cores/used wipies/used tissues. You can do this the night before. Don’t have room in the carry-on? See Forgotten Tip #5.
Forgotten Tip #5: To make room in the diaper bag, remove the copy of The Help you’d packed just in case. I mean, really. Time to read? What do you think this is, prison?
TEXT #4: “Just now taking off. Only 80 minutes late.”
Forgotten Tip #6: Prepare yourself for delays. This means two more diapers, an inch more of wipies, and at least one extra bottle of breastmilk or 9-ounce baggie of formula powder, and one more change of clothes for the Bot than you at first packed.
Forgotten Tip #7: Add infant or childen’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen to your quart-sized plastic bag of liquids and gels. This way, you will not only have them onboard if necessary, you will have them at your destination in the event that your luggage goes to Melbourne, Australia instead of Melbourne Beach, Florida, and your Bot is teething painfully (and loudly) through the first night of your “vacation.”*
Forgotten Tip #8: If your bot is over two, buy a Magnadoodle the week before the trip and let him or her yearn for it but not touch it. Allow contact only after you have successfully arrived in the waiting area. If your child already owns a Magnadoodle, substitute some other inexpensive, preferably flat (see FT#3) toy whose novelty will provide distraction for short but guaranteed intervals throughout the in-air experience.
Forgotten Tip #9: Hydrate extensively for forty-eight hours before you go, but stop drinking a few hours before you leave for the airport. Because, while airplane seats were designed for a population of hundred-pound avocados, airplane lavatories were designed for use by no one, certainly not by a team.**
Forgotten Tip #10: Count. Not only children, but major carry-ons, including bears and hoodies. Do not leave the plane until you are touching as many things as you boarded the plane with.***
Forgotten Tip #11 (because this, too, is a Baker’s Ten): The day after traveling, your Bot will behave beautifully. He or she will sleep in, take a long nap, and be generally charmed by his or her surroundings. Do not get overconfident. The Greek Chorus (see the previous post) is waiting in tomorrow.
*All of the anecdotes related here are based on actual events
**You don’t hear about people boasting about belonging to the Mommy and Me Mile High Club
***Someone flying from Boise to Detroit is now in possession of a cherished sky blue Marmot zip-up hoodie that once belonged to the pregnant mother of an eight month-old. If you are reading this, step away from the hoodie. It’s mine, bitch.