Posted by: jinniver | July 23, 2008

Traveling… With Children

“Ma’am, could you turn that down, please?  It’s pretty loud.”

I gathered what shreds of patience I had left and turned to face the flight attendant as she added, “Or put on headphones.”

“Headphones.  On an infant.”

“If you have any,” she chirped cheerfully.  Then she gestured vaguely behind her and repeated, “It is pretty loud.”

For the record, it wasn’t.  I had turned down the volume on our portable DVD player until I could just hear the Baby Einstein video clearly.  We weren’t sitting that far from the engine, so it was tough to hear over the ambient noise.  Yet, 10 seconds into the video that had gotten my baby daughter to stop screaming for the first time since take off, someone had already complained.  Personally, I hate to listen to someone blare their music, but I have always made allowances for parents trying to keep young children entertained.

“I would have thought classical music would be preferable to a baby screaming,” I snapped (unfairly–she was only doing her job, so I shouldn’t have been taking my frustration out on her), “but I’ll see what I can do.”

So I pulled out the headphones I’d bought for when Jeffrey–at 3 years old, a little more likely to understand that he needed to wear them to hear, and a little less likely to eat them–plugged them in, fit them over Lexie’s little ears…and started hoping.

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It worked a lot longer than I thought it would, until she got tired of them and started trying to eat the cord.

Up to that point, our trip had been pretty frazzling–up early, late leaving the house for the 2 hour drive to the airport, trying to wrestle way too much luggage for two adults from the far corner to the parking lot, and an overtired baby who inherited her mom’s overly sensitive ears when it came to pressure changes.  After the movie stopped working, I did manage to get Lexie to take a short nap on my chest.

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Oh, yeah–I dozed off too. I hadn’t gotten to bed until 12:30 am, she woke up at 1:30 and wouldn’t go back to bed until 2:45–did I mention she just started teething?–and then I was up at 5.  Things started looking up when we got in to LAX early, so we had enough time for a not-terribly-rushed lunch, and Lexie got to stretch and move around in the impromptu playpen we made out of our carry-on luggage.

On the second flight, Steve took the kid watch.  We’ve referred to him in the past as the baby whisperer, because he can get Lexie to calm down and sleep when I can’t.  Sure enough, where I could barely get her to sleep in my arms, he got her to sleep in her car seat.

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Jeffrey spent some of his time amusing himself with the “toys” to be found in the seat pocket.

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I even got some knitting done.

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The second flight made a stop enroute to Seattle, and while we were waiting for people to load, Jeffrey decided to join me and enjoy some window seat time.  Since it’s Southwest, we could move to any seat we wanted, so I just moved to the middle seat while Steve and Lexie stayed put.  Then the new passengers came on, and an older woman reluctantly took the seat next to me on the aisle.  She stared at Steve, who was playing with a temporarily happy Lexie on his lap, for a few moments.  Then she turned to me and confided, “I’m sure your son will be fine, but I certainly wouldn’t want to sit next to a screaming baby.”

“That’s my daughter,” I answered.  According to Steve, who overheard the entire exchange (she wasn’t making an effort to speak quietly), the temperature in the aircraft dropped a few degrees as I spoke.  My erstwhile seatmate attempted to recover with some hasty comments about how cute my daughter was, but soon decided discretion was the better part of valor and retreated to her book.

Fortunately, the flight wasn’t very long…and the views made up for some of the unpleasantness.

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(Yes, that is a different mountain peak!)

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The plane banked just as I took this picture between the cloud layers.

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Safeco Field is on the left, Qwest Stadium (where Steve’s Seahawks play) is on the right.  We pointed it out to Jeffrey on the drive to the hotel, and Steve added, “Go, Seahawks!”

“No, go Hooks!” our son corrected sternly.

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Let the Washington adventure begin!



  1. […] More here: Traveling… With Children […]

  2. Your trip sounds exhausting already! Must… take… nap….


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