Katie McCarthy: On flying with a one-year-old

kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 9, 2014 

Oh, the new experiences never come to an end when you have a child.

A couple of weeks ago, my family embarked on our first group plane trip.

My brother was getting married, I was in the wedding, we had just driven the 2,000-mile round trip to Illinois for Christmas -- we thought flying would be easier.

And, by some measures, it was.

But I'm certainly glad I didn't have to do it alone, which was the initial plan when my husband didn't think he could get out of work for the event.

God was looking out for me. He knows I only have two hands. Plane travel with a one-year-old requires at least eight, but four will do.

Not knowing exactly what to expect, I packed for everything. We had toys, we had snacks, we had books, we had lots of extra diapers, sippy cups, pacis. Every carry-on item we had was filled with toddler entertainment.

The one thing we didn't have was space. As big as they are, planes are a cramped way to travel. And they feel about ten times smaller with a child in your lap.

If you've ever tried to hold a one-year-old for an extended period of time, you know that it's an exercise in futility. They wiggle and squirm and want that one thing that's just out of reach. And then they want that other thing that's just out of reach.

Then they want down.

They also like to touch things. Like the back of people's heads who are sitting in the seats in front of them. Good thing her daddy and I are faster than she is otherwise those nice folks who told us what a good flier she was might have thought otherwise.

But despite all our provisions, the daughter still would rather play with the fold-down trays that must remain in their upright position during take-off and landing. The Sky Mall catalogue and the window blinds and the barf bags were infinitely more fascinating than her favorite "baby."

During the hour-and-a-half flight, she was passed back and forth between me and my husband countless times. She ate all her crackers, drank all her water and even took a (very) brief nap.

All this makes it sound like she didn't do well on the flight, but, really, for a one-year-old, I think she did pretty well.

She didn't cry or fuss or scream. She smiled at other passengers and showed them her "baby." She looked out the window and flirted with the male flight attendant.

She was just active. Restless. She wanted to get down on the ground and explore. She wanted to play. Like most one-year-olds.

But she couldn't. So we did the best we could with the four arms we have and we all survived, if a bit worse for the wear.

Despite it's significance, our daughter won't remember her first plane trip. But my husband and I will.

We'll just add it to the many "first" stories we get to tell her about some day.

Katie McCarthy, kmccarthy@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8515.

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service