* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Young Children + International Plane Travel + Your Sanity

When Allen told me that we would be moving to Ireland for a year I was actually pretty relaxed about most of it.  The part that actually struck fear in my heart was the plane ride there.  Happily, it went pretty well.  Should you find yourself facing international plane travel with young children, here is my advice:

Flights from the US to Ireland are pretty much always night flights.  This could work to your advantage if your kids sleep easily all over.  That's not my kids.  :-)  The night before we left I spent 2.5 hours in a rocking chair holding a HOWLING Noah, trying to get him to sleep at my parent's house.  I had visions of just how much everyone on that plane would love us.  But, being well prepared is your first line of defense!  I was responsible for getting the children and myself ready to travel.  Allen and my mother were on their own. :-)


We were leaving the US when it was sunny, hot, and humid and landing in Ireland where it would be cool and rainy and digging around suitcases at what would be about 3am according to our bodies was not really an option.  So, layers were key!  In addition, clothes needed to be comfortable enough to sleep in while still being presentable enough to be out and about in.  I didn't want to have kids in pjs and then have to dig out street clothes as soon as we landed or got to the house.

Nursing friendly plane travel outfit
Nursing friendly plane travel outfit
I wore Levi's 535s.  They are one step above pjs in comfort.  I was scared to wear jeggings jeans but they are really comfy, flattering, look like jeans rather than stretch pants and, the key factor, allowed me to wear flats to make security lines a little simpler.  Get the junior's version, though, and make sure the stitching is in a lighter thread color.  I tried the midnight wash and those looked awful- Zappos free returns are your friend!  Since we would be going through security which would be a hassle and a half to start with, I wanted to streamline wherever possible.  So, I really wanted to wear flats, otherwise, I probably would have worn yoga pants.  Noah was breastfeeding at bedtime and wake-up time so I also needed to accomidate that but was hoping he might forget in the hustle and bustle since he is almost 2 and positioning could be a little awkward.  Anyway, I wore a nursing tank with a poncho type sweater on top (mine wasn't this one but similar).  This allows for discretion without also trying to position a blanket or cover-up.  It also gave the option of removing the sweater if I got hot.  I used one of these hair pins to allow for easy, effortless style and made sure I had my big sunglasses and lip gloss on-hand.

The kids each wore sweatpants, t-shirts and hoodies.

We had one carry-on bag and we put all the rain jackets on the top of it to get at easily when we landed.  Shocker!  It was raining when we landed in Ireland and we were very glad of the raincoats once we got outside.

Everyone also had a backpack as their personal carry-on item and the kids had their lunchboxes attached.  Noah (20 months) and Megan (4) each had a full change of clothes and Noah had 1 extra shirt as well as 4 diapers and a pack of wipes.  Charlie (5) had an extra t-shirt and underwear.  The kids all had their toothbrush (but no paste due to the liquids rules) in their back pack.  I had wisp toothbrushes and facial wipes in my bag so I could feel a little more human.

Keeping them busy!

We brought 2 ipads loaded with a couple of the kid's favorite shows and a few apps.  All 3 kids like robot lab by toca boca and we also had a Dora alphabet app and a couple of kid cds burned.  We have a speck ipad cover on the family (read: kid's) ipad that is fantastic and we got them caliphone headphones which fit reasonably well.

The big kids got travel tangoes as going away gifts and they were a big hit as were wikkisticks.

All 3 children had fold-n-go organizers from 31 gifts and I tucked pens, twistable crayons, stickers, dollar spot calculators and dover mini books into those.  They all had a friend tucked into their backpack, favorite books and a magnadoodle.  In the front pocket, I tucked in travel size wipes and a few snacks.

I had extra mini books in my bag as well as plenty of lollipops and a few extra snacks- fruit leathers and granola bars.  I gave lollipops to the children for take off and landings to help with pressure changes.  The time they were most useful was the very long customs and immigration line when we arrived.  :-)

For those still in suspense as to if I wound up bribing all the surrounding passengers...

All 3 children were awake and pleasant for the brief flight from Regan to JFK.  We boarded our flight to Ireland around 8 pm EST.  Megan, having hardly slept for the week prior, was out by 8:45 and slept most of the way.  Charlie watched 1 show in the ipad, messed around for a bit longer and was out by 10.  Noah cried for maybe 10 minutes total through the 7 hour flight but only slept for about 4 broken hours (which meant I slept for about 3 broken hours...)  He watched the same 25 minute Little Bear episode for hours with brief forays into Curious George.  This isn't something I would usually support but desperate times call for desperate measures!

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