One tip on traveling with a toddler

Originally posted March 19,2015


**I found this post about travelling with a toddler saved on my laptop. I wrote it during my flight 2 weeks ago. Figured I’d share it with other moms for support 🙂 #teamterribletwos

Almost every week I find a new blog post by a mommy blogger on tips on how to travel with a baby. Or tips on how to travel with a toddler. I’ve traveled with Karim as a baby several times. In retrospect most trips were okay because I used to baby wear him, he would breastfeed, and sleep. I used to fly emirates and they have a great baby bassinet seat that made all the difference. Other trips were bad, really bad. Overall they used to be okay. But he’s not a baby anymore now is he?

Travelling with a toddler is a whole new ball game. I’ve been dreading the flight from Dubai to Beirut. Dreading it so badly, I made an agreement with my friend Jana to travel with her and her one year old together to Beirut. You know. Less awkwardness when your child is crying hysterically and you have a friend next to you who sort of tries to calm you both down.

Our awesome plan didn’t work. Husbands booked the tickets and it got complicated. So we traveled separately. Unfortunately Karim actually got a cold the night before. Which reminds me that with children, parents should always opt for the flexible ticket option, where you can change your flight if need be. To make the long story short: The trip. Was. Hell. You can stop reading now. If you want to hear about my misery, be my guest.

I swear there must’ve been 10 children on the flight, the only one crying was mine. All eyes were on me. The pressure is unbearable. People look at you as if you’re doing it on purpose. Then they ask you all sorts of questions. “Shu beh?” “Why is he crying?” Then they come up with all sorts of assumptions “barke ji3an” “barke na3sen. As if I didn’t think of all these options already. They even try to soothe your baby or tell him to shush! All the strangers trying to talk to him and touch him made things even worse. He missed his nap time because of how upset he was and made things worse than they already were! In between sobs he would say “Plane”. No, not just stating the word, but screaming it. “Plaaaaaaneeeee”. He was upset because he was seeing the planes through the window when we were in the airport. He could no longer see the plane while he was IN the plane. I tried to explain this very simple fact. But, well. You know.

Ipad? Didn’t work. Iphone? Didn’t work? Breastfeeding? Didn’t work. Toys? Didn’t work. Tom and Jerry? Didn’t work. Even the damn remote didn’t work. Last flight from Beirut to Dubai we went on emirates and for 4 whole hours he was just playing with the remote. I guess MEA remotes are no fun.

I type this as he FINALLLY went down for a nap. Situations like these make me question my parenting style. Maybe I’m too easy on him. Maybe I’m not giving him enough attention and he’s acting out. Maybe my son is the only child in the whole world that does this. I must have ruined him. Thoughts of being judged by others. Honestly though, anyone who has ever traveled with a child would understand.

My one tip would be: there is nothing you can do about travelling with a toddler, expect the worst! If you want more practical tips, you can fake fainting and have someone else take care of your child. You can wear all black and tell them someone passed away in your family, that’s why you’re both upset and that’s why you just can’t take on any more. You can start crying too, it might work. Maybe your child will get confused and stop. You can fake death all together. You can send them before you on one of those services. I forgot what it’s called. Well, what else? Let me see. I don’t know. I’d go as far as saying don’t travel with your children until their 18 and legal enough to have a glass of wine with you.

After the flight

To follow up on the story. As the plane was landing he completely calmed down. Not only did he calm down, but no longer wanted to leave. Why? Because he could see the other planes in the airport now that he was on the ground again. He started to wave to people and tell them bye. One by one. One by one they told him “halla2 ri2et??”. We left the plane and he started running through the airport. He was so excited. Until we reached passport control. He pooped while waiting at passport control. I don’t want to make it too visual, but he leaked all over the floor! We had to change for him and wash for him at the Lebanese airport. Which is not all that equipped. Once we got out of the airport, everything was beyond splendid. He was a completely different baby. Try to explain to your family that he gave you a hard time while he just angelically smiles and laughs with them.