In the week running up to our first sunshine holiday as a family I approached the prep like a military operation; daily laundry and bit -by -bit packing, squeezing in trips to boots for essentials at every possible opportunity and such like.
I had gathered an impressive stockpile of healthy plane snacks (read:distractions and bribes) and packed these into a brightly coloured trunki with lovingly made ham sandwiches, books, crayons and a very noisy ambulance toy that I had no intention of getting out on the plane but threw in I think for variety, as it was all looking a bit book heavy.
Before we set off I have asked every other mum friend I have – how was your little on the flight? Do you have any tips? The most common responses were that children like to get up and move around (please god no, we aren’t hopping on a G6 and it’s hard enough for a clutz like me to walk down a charter jet aisle with a handbag in a straight line let alone guiding a toddler along it relentlessly until he gets bored) and that toys they have never seen before and snacks work a treat.
Well, in all honestly we bypassed the toys due to a number of things including a lack of elbow/leg room to manoeuvre the Trunki and the sheer effectiveness of Amazon TV on the iPad; Harry’s favourite films are currently Home and Zootropolis.
Aside from a handful of miniature tantrums that stopped before they really got started and centred around his frustration at not being allowed to kick the chair in front, the flight went fairly smoothly.
As a mother I find we are all always asking questions about what to expect or how to do things so here dear reader is what I learned on our outward journey;
1. Checking in before you arrive at the airport is a pointless exercise when you are travelling on a charter flight to a popular holiday destination – you will likely queue for an hour or more just to drop off your bags but this time can pass peacefully if you have enough toddler friendly snacks to hand and YouTube on your phone. You can keep yourself entertained perusing everyone else’s ‘special holiday travelling clothes’ and pondering the mysteries of whether Carol in the opposite queue will be uncomfortable in her stilettos on the flight or whether the man behind you is unaware that 3/4 length jogging bottoms are a crime against style. You will conclude that he probably doesn’t care and that he will be more comfortable than Carol.
2. Make sure you remember to change the baby before boarding. We did not do this due to aforementioned queue and prioritising breakfast food from Pret. Harry enjoyed his bacon sandwich but he didn’t enjoy the tiny changing table on the plane that much. Luckily our mid flight nappy change was incident free but I would still advise you to set yourself up with minimal chance of them leaking on your lap; board with a nappy that’s dry as a bone and ready for anything little bums can throw at it.
3. Toddlers looks small, but actually they are massive. If you can afford it, book your little one a seat. Harry was on the whole beautifully behaved but he and we would have been a lot more comfortable if he had sat in a seat of his own. Because Daddy is bigger than mummy, he naturally provided the comfiest option as human seat but this was very sweaty and made it difficult for Daddy to eat or drink during snoozy time.
4. As mentioned above, mummy is not a comfy seat. This allowed me the chance to discover something so simple I couldn’t believe I had never thought of it before; wearing a hoodie backwards is both cosy and provides a sleep mask with total blackout. You will thank me for this knowledge one day if like me you are shameless when tired.
5. Dummys, juice with straws, and squeezy pouches are great for avoiding tearful ear popping, we employed all three and I’m pleased to report that at no point during the flight did he look even remotely as if he was aware of pressure in his ears.
I’ll be posting again soon with more holiday observations, please excuse any typos as I’m stuck with my iPad and thus with autocorrect, ugh.