Advice for a Crazy Person


She's got the face of an angel and the spirit of an imp, this child of mine. :) I can't believe that in a few short months she'll be two years old...mind blowing really. Each time I lift her out of her crib she feels a little bigger, a little heavier. I measured her when we went to get her passport photo this weekend - she's two-and-a-half feet tall - nearly half her mama's height.

We'll be leaving in July on an adventure. An adventure in which we'll be traveling halfway around the world to meet a new member of our family - an Aussie niece or nephew and cousin.

I think I'm probably crazy to take a two-year-old on a fourteen hour flight. It's very (very) possible I may regret the decision. But I know for a certainty that I would regret not going - not meeting this new baby; not helping my sister enter into new motherhood. It feels so important. She's my only sister, and she's worked very hard for this baby.

So the question is - how do you take a toddler with the stubbornness of a mule, the mischievousness of an imp, and the determination of a marathoner on a flight this long? I suppose you pray to God for mercy and hope that she sleeps like an angel.

And you hope that people will give you advice - good advice - amazing advice. So lay it on me people...I'm all ears.


a person who has surely lost her mind


  1. I spoke to a lady recently (who owns a bathroom store of all things) she told me that she used to travel internationally with all three of her children many years ago. I live in Australia so I'm guessing international flights were long haul (every flight is from here) and she admitted that the doctor would give her something to knock them out. She said they'd eat the first meal, pop a pill and then her 'angels' would sleep the entire flight. Questionable but she seemed to swear by her practice...

  2. We are an American family living in London with our one-year-old daughter. We have already flown transatlantically with Charlotte on three separate flights. The first was when she was three months old and that was no problem at all. The second and third flights, however, were at one year and they weren't awesome, but they certainly could have been a lot worse. My advice is to bring as many distractions as you can possibly carry. We brought new toys and even bought an iPad loaded with fun games to make things easier. We requested a bulkhead seat which was nice because she could sit at our feet and play.

    Ultimately, there isn't any magic trick to make a long flight with a child bearable (unless you are the kind of parent not afraid to knock her out with Sudafed. We didn't go that route . . . ). I did read about bringing little care packages for those around you though. Pack little cellophane bags with ear plugs, eye masks and candies and pray that they are nice, understanding people!

    Good luck! Feel free to contact me through my blog if you have any questions. I'm happy to help. :D

  3. Dear Lauren, I sure hope you get some good advice that I can steal, because I, too, am a crazy person. I am taking my will-be two year old on a loooong flight across the pond also in July. We can count down to the possible disaster together.


  4. I know this sounds like child abuse, but I give my little ones benedryl about a half hour before they should take a nap. It helps them to relax enough to actually sleep on the plane. Just make sure you speak with a pharmacist to figure out the correct dose! Also, having movies they love helps a ton!

  5. I've never embarked on a trip of this length with my kiddo, but we did fly when he was about 2 1/2. I culled the Internets for info and employed the following tactics: wrapped up a bunch of small toys so he could unwrap and play with one every 30 minutes or as needed (there's a bunch of magnetic toys that are great for travel); purchased toddler-safe headphones and loaded up my iPhone with new games and a slew of his favorite shows, movies and songs; bought a bunch of new books - including ones related to airplanes and flying; and stuffed my travel bag full with snacks and treats I would usually not let him eat. In the end, he spent most of the flight listening to his music with headphones on - in fact, the man sitting behind us didn't even realize a kid was on the plane. Of course, our flying time was about 2 hours....

    I have heard of the Benadryl approach, but be careful - it can make some kids more hyper. When my son took it (for an actual allergic reaction) he didn't sleep at all. I think there is something a doc can prescribe if needed - maybe that's your backup?

    I say your mind isn't lost at all and even a bad flight will be totally worth it. And maybe take this mom's approach and bribe the passengers sitting near you just in case? (

  6. I'm interested to hear what people say. We are considering flying to Sweden to visit my sister-in-law's family (from San Francisco so also a long haul). Our baby will be almost two at that point as well. A pro (and con) is that we wouldn't have to buy him a $1300 ticket. I might need medication for myself!

  7. I did a lot of traveling with my now four year old when she was your daughter's age. We did lots of cross country traveling and a couple of trips to Norway. I think the most important thing is to remember that every adult on the plane was once a youngster who cried/ was hyper/ struggled in public. My girl was quiet and calm most of the time, and when she did struggle people were really sympathetic and so nice to her.
    We gave her new play mobil (great because even little sets have tons of pieces that can be doled out one at a time.), removable stickers ( so she could put them on the plane), washable markers, and books about planes. I also explained to her that she had to follow the rules about staying seated and buckled in and made a game of it. She was also still nursing, which helps with air pressure in the ears. Lollipops would help, too.

  8. I live in Sydney, and my family is over in France. We go back every year, and we have an almost 3 yo and a 9 months old. I freaked out too before embarking on those trips, but when I flew by myself with my first when he was 3 month old, he was amazing, not a single tear during the 24h journey. When he was 18 months old, it was fine too, but we found that making him run as much as he wanted in the airport helped a lot. I am now taking both of them by myself to Europe in May. To be honest, I am not looking forward to the actual flight, but it's only 24h in my life, and it's the price to pay for living so far away. I have read that masking tape was a great toy to take in the plane! Relax, it will be hard work but you won't be by yourself, I am sure there will be other families travelling and they'll play together. Enjoy Australia!

  9. Stickers great on a plane. It takes them awhile to work though a sheet. Also we love the iPad for trips. It doesn't take up much room in a carry-on but there are tons of toddler apps that mimic real toys, such as block puzzles, flash cards, play house, etc.

  10. OK I was this close to tearing up at your post || ...

    It was so nice :) Thank you - you're the best sister in the whole world for coming to see me and bringing my little sunshine along for the trip :)

    1. those silly pregnancy hormones! I almost cried at every. thing. ha! It is sweet that you guys get to hang out though! I have no advice! I just look forward to hearing all about it! (encase I ever take Shelby to Colorado or New Zealand to see some of Jim's family)! Good luck Lauren! Sounds like you got some great feedback!

  11. What a fun trip! You won't regret it--even if the flight is long--just bring a lot of snacks, tiny toys, things to play with for Violet and give yourself a break--it's okay if she goes a little nuts on the flight--she's only 2! We have not traveled that far with a toddler, but we took our oldest to Switzerland and France several times--so about a 7 or 8 hour flight. We got her a little backpack and filled it with a bunch of goodies for her to get into and then spaced them out during the flight. Some people have told me to wrap up the presents, so they have an element of surprise, but we never have. It sounds like a fun detail, though. What a great experience for all of you!

  12. Keep EACH activity in its own ziploc gallon bag. It makes it easier to keep things contained and you won't lose all the small items in the bottom of your bag. Once you are done with one activity you can simply pull out the next one. Good toddler head phones are critical. Don't even bother with movies if you don't have them...the noise of the plane makes it impossible to hear without them. Plus, when toddlers have them on, they seem to focus better like they are in their own little world. Lollipops are great because they aren't too messy and they take a long time to eat. Also, if your daughter loves milk don't assume the plane will have any. On our 6 hour plane trips to Hawaii I was shocked to learn they only carry 2 small cartons (remember the ones from school lunches?). Buy milk at the airport and ask them to keep it refrigerated for you. And finally, buy some crayons that are triangular and not the traditional round ones. Things always roll off the trays with toddlers and it is a total pain to fish around on the ground for items they drop.

  13. thanks for all the good advice. i too had heard about the idea of wrapping up presents for kids to keep them occupied. when my son was about 7 months we took a 2 hour flight and i just purchased a few new things that i thought he would like to play with. when he got squirmy i got a new one out. this spring he will be about 1 1/2 and we are going to be taking an 8 hour flight to visit the in-laws. he is far more active now so i'm going to have to plan well...snacks, toys, etc. and thanks for the advice on the milk.....i hadn't thought about that. since we are almost finished nursing that is important!

  14. Here's a trick for little ears I learned from an experienced flight attendant on a cross-country flight -- there was a boy sitting behind us who started screaming as we descended because of the pressure in his ears. The flight attendant brought two styrofoam coffee cups with wet, hot paper towels stuffed in the bottom of each one, and instructed the parents to hold a cup over each of the boy's ears. He stopped crying INSTANTLY. Apparently the warm, moist air helps relieve ear pressure.



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