Friday, August 24, 2012

Crazed Toddler on a Plane

Just four months ago, we took Jr. on his first trip on an airplane (read about it here).  I was pretty pleased with our success on that trip.  We got a little creative and broke some rules, and it all payed off.  Jr. was a sleepy, peaceful angel.  So, when we decided to join family in Minnesota for a family vacation at the lake, I just assumed we'd have another lovely flight. I packed my carry-on with Benadryl, two board books, Jr's favorite snacks, Hubby's iPad, and little else (he'd mostly be sleeping, right?). 

Toddler airplane preparation begins in the terminal.  A toddler needs tons of time to get the wiggles out and let the Benadryl take effect.  We arrived early to our gate, gave Jr. a low dose of Benadryl, and let him run wild.  Jr. becomes a social butterfly in an airport, running up to people reading their books with their earbuds in, standing in their personal space, and smiling ear to ear.  As soon as the traveler looks up and notices that they're being watched, he is off to meet his next friend.  This behavior is expected.  "When he gets on the plane and the gentle roar of the engine begins, he will undoubtedly calm down and fall into a deep sleep," I told myself.  So, after he became bored with socializing and moved to spreading goldfish crackers throughout the airport like a farmer sowing seed, I was eager to just get on that big sleep machine.

Our seats were not perfect, but still ideal.  I settled Jr. and I in our window seat near the back and attempted to snuggle him into sleep position.  Did I mention that we planned the flight for nap time?  I was so sure Jr. was going to fall into a deep slumber quicker than I could fasten my seat belt, I was a little surprised when he resisted my cuddle.  I remained optimistic.  "When the engines start, he will settle," I thought. "Then, I'll pull out my book (Freerange Kids, just in case you're wondering :)) and maybe even catch a little nap myself."
Progression of a crazed toddler from crackers to meltdown
Strangely, though, Jr. did not settle.  As the plane ascended, so did Jr's energy level.  My attempts to get him to sit in my lap were met with teeth-gnashing screeches and acrobatic back-arching.  I tried to entertain him with the board books, and he was so offended he threw down Night Night Little Pookie.  Hubby pulled out the iPad to entertain him with toddler apps and games, and he pounded the screen and yelled.  He wanted on the floor.  Then, he was mad to be on the floor and wanted in my lap.  Then he was mad to be seated in my lap and laid on his tummy with his legs dangling.  That soon made him mad and he squirmed back on the floor.  Nope, that was aggravating.  He screamed and climbed in my lap.  He tried to lower the tray table.  That made him mad.  He put it back up.  That made him more mad.  He looked out the window.  Boy, that hacked him off.  So, he tried to lower the shade.  That shade was frustrating.  He stood between my legs. He spit out his pacifier.  He screamed.  I stuffed the pacifier back in.  That made him mad enough to flail.  He stopped long enough to soft-shoe the seat in front of us.  Light tapping turned into ninja kicking.  Ninja kicking turned into a Tasmanian kicking devil baby, laughing in the face of his begging mommy.  My sweet flying angel had officially become one of those irritating fussy children that all passengers dread.  He was completely possessed by an angry manic baby.  Magic Benadryl elixir, where are you?

Finally, after two hours of wrestling, scolding, redirecting, singing, and pleading, our plane landed.  And, Jr. fell asleep. Sigh.


  1. Maybe he is one of those kids who have the wierd reaction to benadryl. I have heard it makes some kids really antsy and nervous.

    1. True, that is one of my theories! Only strange thing about that is that we tried it a couple months earlier and he slept beautifully on the plane. Can those types of reactions develop after time?

  2. oh man, that stinks! at least it was only a 2 hour flight! :(

  3. Oh man!! That is so crazy! I'm sorry he (and you!!) had such a bad time! Maybe the flight back will be better? Glad to have found you through the Hop! :)

  4. Wow! That sounds like a long, long flight! And bless him falling asleep right afterwards. Kids eh?


  5. Ahh- your son is so freaking adorable, I want to eat him up!

    Visiting from the GFC hop- Thanks for cohosting this week! Love your blog and am now a follower! ;)

  6. Stopping by from the blog hop. I had to laugh at this post. We took a flight to Orlando in November and used the Benadryl method and it worked great, but my doctor had warned me that it could have the reverse effects and my little guy might be crazy. Sorry you had such a stressful flight!

  7. I'm new to your blog from the GFC Hop!! Look forward to getting to know you better :) and are my two corners of the world, please stop by some time.

    I traveled alone more than my share with my then 3 year old and infant...last time I was flying stand by and ended up stranded in Boston for 12 hours. I swore off traveling by air with them EVER again. Now they're old enough to fly alone...and we've stuck to that. Of course now Gammie has moved back to GA, so no more flying for now anyway.

  8. Oh man, that's hard! It's tough to have to take care of them in that type of situation when you can't move or escape or anything! My family traveled quite a bit, and I remember taking 15-16 hour flights with my 2 year old little sisters--mostly they were good, but that's a really, really long time for the little ones to have to stay in the same spot. Even I hardly behave well on long plane flights!


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