What it’s REALLY like travelling with small children.

Ah, small kids…toddlers…even babies…the loves of our lives, the little screaming banshees who don’t let you get 15 minutes to the grocery store, yet we decide to travel hours with them in a car or on a plane to cherish the moments that will last a lifetime.

Oh you’ll remember the moments alright. I remember taking my 18 month old to Florida to meet up with my parents who were staying at my brother’s house.

“It’ll be so great” I tell my husband. “It’s like having built in babysitters, but with a pool”.

I had all these grand plans of my parents waking up with my daughter to make her heart shaped pancakes in the morning as I slept in, only to come out and see them lounging by the pool where I would sip mimosas while taking in some sunshine after a long hot shower. Maybe I’d even head out into town by myself to grab a few things from the store, walking slowly through the aisles with a smile recognizing all the different things the USA had, which Canada didn’t. I’d come back to lunch being made for me, only to spend the rest of the day at the pool, have Oma and Opa tuck young sweets to sleep, and read the rest of the evening in the cool evening breeze.

What I forgot, was the fact I had to actually GET to Florida first.

kristie blue jay hat.png

We get to the airport in Toronto and my then 18 month old discovers the moving sidewalks. Neat. Let’s do that for 2 hours while Security radios back and forth wondering about my abandoned luggage sitting in a corner. As we are finally called to board the plane, Fun Toddler has now had enough and wants to go home, and while my anxiety is basically through the roof, I looked pretty suspicious. I was sweating, pacing, breathing heavy and had tears in my eyes while my toddler does one of those drop moves where every muscle in her body lets go, and she flops backwards, (basically in half) while travellers nearby signal others wondering if I just kidnapped this Airport Angel. We get on the plane, and the man I am to sit next to rolls his eyes and says “GREAT!!” but lucky for me, a sweet woman switches seats with him, telling me she loves babies. Awesome, because mine is pretty much up for sale at this point.

Here’s where it gets good.

First Time Flyer is sitting quietly on my lap as we start to taxi down the runway, and who turns her sweet little head, makes awkward eye contact with me as her face goes red and the entire back of the plane starts to smell like the lavatory overflowed? That’s right. Plane Pooper.

Now we’re taking off, and Plane Pooper is furious. She drops again, this time to the floor where I see the poop is also trying to take off. As she tries to scoot her bum across the (super clean) plane carpet,  I am furiously shoving wipes into the back of her diaper, hoping nothing falls out, but nothing has gone my way at this point so why start now, right? Poop wipes fall out of her diaper and onto the carpet, making the plane smell even worse, so I signal to the Flight Attendant and say “SIR, I have GOT to get into that bathroom!!” to which he replies “Ma’am, the seatbelt sign is still on”, to which I REPLY, “I’m pretty sure we have soiled the seatbelt already, so I’m going to risk my life and get into that bathroom.”

As it turns out, 18 month olds are a little longer than the pull down baby change table in the lavatory, and being that we are still in take off mode, I remove her diaper while my screaming poop machine is angled with her head near the back of the plane. Her flailing legs kick into her own feces and in a windshield wiper sort of way, starts to smear the poop all over the baby change table, all while this friendly Flight Attendant starts waving shiny green bags of Crispers in her face, singing “BABYYYYY you want some CRISPERRRRSSSS”.

She did not want Crispers. She wanted wine. Oh no wait, that was me.

ANYWAY, we made it out of that bathroom alive. Her, naked. Me, in tears.

We made it to Florida alright, but now that I’ve got a second child who is 18 months old today, these are the types of trips we are taking now.

Hikes in our backyard, where we wave to planes instead of flying on them, and when I get the bright idea to book a trip, I remind myself of this story, and we make moments at home instead.

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