Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Babies on Planes

By no means do I think people are bad parents when their babies cry on planes. As a mom, I now know that there are times your baby will cry, and there's nothing you can do about it. However, I think airplanes are a place when you pull out all the stops to keep your kid from crying or fussing for as long as possible.

Oliver is a seasoned traveller now. He has flown to Austin and back, gone on a road trip to Omaha and back, and has now flown to Omaha and back. Truly, he's done a superb job. In February, when we flew to Austin, he slept the whole time. Easy, easy! On the way back, he fussed for a few minutes, but never really threw a fit and was happy for most of the time (not bad for a two hour flight, ey?). Driving to Omaha, he cried for about one hour out of the eight, and he was quite the trooper on the way back.

I was nervous flying to and from Omaha this time because it wasn't timed to be during bed time. Still, he managed to be amazing. Before boarding at DIA, Andrew walked and patted Oliver. He fell asleep and stayed asleep for about 40 minutes of the 54 minute flight. When he woke up, I nursed him, so he didn't fuss a moment.

The trip back home was a different story. We elected to go to the airport early so my sister, Julie, could drive us on her way to work. We arrived at 6:30am for our 10:50am flight. Oliver was a champ at the airport and didn't cry at all. He even napped. This good mood lasted until shortly after boarding the plane. He sat on my lap and watched all the passengers board (when travelling with a small child, you get to board first). As the plane taxied before take-off, he started to fuss. I tried nursing him, but he wasn't hungry. Andrew and I started to panic. If he started fussing before take-off, it was going to be a long flight. I busted out a few toys, but he wasn't interested. I went for the Hail Mary--Oliver's toothbrush. Success! He chomped at it and shook it for about 10 minutes before showing signs of fussiness again. Andrew and I busted into song: Head, shoulders, knees, and toes... The singing worked for a few more minutes. Forty-five minutes left in the flight. What to do? I tried nursing him again, but he lost interest after a minute or two. We changed his diaper. Oliver still hadn't cried, but he let out a few unhappy calls. We knew it was only a matter of time until the crying would start unless we could figure out something quickly. Then, Andrew started patting him and swaying him (which wasn't easy in the restriction of an airplane seat), and Oliver fell asleep. Cue sighs of relief. Oliver slept until we landed.

After landing, Andrew and I had to wait for our gate-checked stroller. We stood off to the side as other passengers disembarked. A man from New Zealand whom we'd met at the Omaha Airport gave Andrew's shoulder a pat as he passed by. "Not a sound," he said. It was a reference to Oliver, as we'd previously confided in him that we were scared Oliver would cry on the plane. Success! Even though we wre freaked out the whole time, apparently the other passengers never realized that Oliver was close to throwing a fit. We did it!

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