Jason, also know as @meatflag on Twitter, is one cool dude. He is good friend here in Colorado and not only do our kids get along famously, they have the gumption to present at Podcamp together. And whatever Jason says about being organized when traveling along, let’s all remember that HE is the one who videotaped himself falling on the DIA escalators. Truth.
Have Kids, Will Travel
by Jason Janelle from LilBiker
When Aimee asked me to write a guest post my first reaction was
excitement confusion. I mean has she read my blog? It’s a travesty of inconsistent posts filled with my thoughts on computers, photography and kids. OK, maybe it has to do with our common interest in those last two. Well I’ve never written a guest post and I am honored to be asked so let’s begin torturing you, the reader.
With the Greeblemonkey clan headed down to Puerto Rico, I am reminded just how challenging it can be to travel with kids, especially young ones. When I travel on my own I am a machine of organization, I know where my stuff is, I know where I’m sitting, I move with purpose. I end up staying quite calm due to the OCD amount of organization involved. When I board the plane I’m out of the aisle, bags in the overhead bin, ass in the seat. My kids, however, don’t seem to enjoy the hurried walk through the airport filled with purpose. Why should they? An airport is kind of an amazing place filled with new people, shops, sometimes trains and, eventually, an airplane ride. I mean, now that I’m sitting here typing it ( in an airport ), how can I not get excited? The end result of a trip to the airport is amazing. You. Get. To. FLY!
Flying with kids, while amazing, isn’t always easy. The first time we flew with my daughter, K, she was 6 months old and we were all going to Hawaii. That was when I learned that something 1/10th my size could have 10 times as much luggage. After the car seat, stroller, and playpen/crib there was somehow a full suitcase of clothes and that’s just was just for the baby. It was like all those years of traveling light were some sort of gift and the luggage gods wanted their sacrifice. About 1 hour after we left the San Francisco airport K was sleeping peacefully and the airplane did a 180 and the pilot explained to us that the long range radio wasn’t working and that we would be headed back to San Francisco. As we went to land, the plane changed direction again and we were redirected to L.A. After 3 hours sitting on the plane it was determined that the plane could not be fixed and that we would be spending the night in L.A. K was an angel through the whole thing. The trouble came with all that luggage. By the time it was hauled off the plane, loaded into to the van, pack mule’d up to the room, and the crib set up there was only 3 hours until we had to wake up, break it down, and take it back. We did make it to Hawaii and it was wonderful to see my little girl playing on the beach.
The next time K and I flew was to Florida to see my parents. This time it was a year later, just her and I, no more crib and by now I’m a pro at the car seat, what could possibly go wrong?. The flight out was great and the trip was wonderful. It was on that trip that she fell in love with horses. It was also on the flight home that the skill I had finely tuned for business trips became my kryptonite for flying with kids. While doing cross country business flights I trained myself to fall asleep as soon as the plane took off. On the flight home the plane took off and I felt the sleep coming on. I fought it as hard as I could but the sleep was coming. I got K set up with water, a snack, and a movie and let her know that I might ( would ) fall asleep. And then two things happened. First, I fell asleep. Second, I was shocked awake buy the ice cold bath my man parts were taking. The water that I had set up for K had “somehow” spilled on me. Refreshed and a little cleaner we finished the flight home, wide awake.
The last time we flew with the kids was, oddly enough, to Puerto Rico for vacation. This time we had both kids, K and R. Queue the car seats and infinite luggage and bright and early we headed to the airport. It was so early that I had just enough time to grab breakfast for everyone and bring it on the plane with us as we boarded. My hands full, I threw the food into the seat, the bags into the overhead, strapped the car seats to the plane and the kids to the car seats. Flustered, tired, and under-caffeinated I plopped down into my seat. Plopped down onto the large orange juice that I placed in my seat. Orange juice proceeded to soak my pants and seat as well as pour down my leg. The airline stewards did what they could to help but the fact was that I needed to sit down and would be sitting in OJ for the next 4 hours. Puerto Rico turned out to be worth every minute of it. The El Yunque rainforest is beautiful and swimming in the middle of the night in the bioluminescent pools was an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life.
So yea, flying, traveling, living with kids is an adventure. One I wouldn’t trade for the world.
NOTE: K and R are not my kid’s real names, they are the online pseudonyms that we use for them until they are older.