Air travel can be exhausting. But flying with your children takes things to a whole new level. If your family flies the friendly skies, you might hear some of the following said at the airport:
- Yes, you can push the elevator buttons, but not every button and not for every elevator we pass, just the ones we’re planning to ride. (By the way, this is an excellent way for your child to practice number and arrow recognition and also keep the germs off your own hands!)
- No, you cannot ride the luggage cart. (Although that would make this process go a lot faster…)
- [And after landing] No, you cannot ride the baggage claim conveyor belt, either.
- Please do not sit on the luggage scale; our suitcase is already at the weight limit.
- No, we’re not going to buy a hot dog, or a Cinnabon. Yes, they do smell really good. (Try not to add, with aggravation: I got up at 3am to pack approximately 1,000 snacks for you to eat and I am now lugging them on my back through the airport like a Sherpa. So, no, we’re not buying a snack.)
- Please do not put your mouth on the TSA rope. That is full of an unspeakable number of yucky yucky germs. Did I mention yucky? Very yucky. (Note that you might vomit a little bit in your mouth at this point. Which of course is the perfect precursor to the sickness that is about to rip through your family in the next few days.)
- Well, we just have to go through this airport security line so they can make sure we don’t take anything on the plane that we’re not supposed to take. [More questions.] Well, like sharp things or things that could hurt other people. [More questions.] Mommy and Daddy and all the adults have to take off their shoes because one time…oh hey, I see a Cinnabon store up there, do you want one?
- No, the plane isn’t going to tip. I mean, it will lean to the side a bit when it turns, but it won’t tip over completely. (Note: when you say this, do not let your child feel the sweat spouting from your palms, or feel your racing pulse.)
- Well, that’s an excellent question. Planes stay up in the air due to a complex combination of combustion, aerodynamics, and…um, you see, it has a lot to do with physics and engineering. Uh, honey, [to spouse], can you take this one?
- [To your spouse] Did you charge the iPad? No, me neither. [Under your breath] %^#@*%&!!
- Yes, those are the planes, Sweetie. (Okay, you’ve admittedly been stressed and running around like a crazy person to get ready for this trip, but now you stop to look at your tiny child as he gazes out the airport window, filled with awe. And you hope he will never lose that sense of wonder.)
Freelance writer and author Jocelyn Jane Cox reports on the Great State of Parenthood with advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need every other week in the Chronicles of Parenting. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.