Flying With Children

The title of this post would imply that I had some advice to give. Some anecdotal evidence. Some funny stories, perhaps.

None of that is true, sadly.

The fact of the matter is this: On Friday I am flying to Melbourne. With a baby. On my own. No problem, you might think. Yeah, I thought that too. But then I thought about it a little harder and, well, there’s the confined space, and the scrutiny of public parenting in a confined space, and the prams and travel cots and bags of crap I have to somehow carry to and from this confined space. All while carting around a baby on my hip who has decided she is her own independent woman, thank you very much.

I have decided to call upon my wickedly kind and savvy circle of red tent women to hail down advice on me like they mean it. I have learned, in my life, to be the first to put my hand up and admit I need a little helping. So, lovies, hit me. Whose flown with babies? What do I need to bring? Stacks of toys? Some kind of sucking apparatus for take off? Valium?

Tell me tell me tell me.

In unrelated news, we haven’t transitioned well into real life from our recent trip away, and though I take great measures to ensure I stay cool, calm and collected around my very small child, I have been anything but. We just have to try again tomorrow, don’t we? We just have to call it a day and vow to work a little harder to keep our shit together, right?

Right now (I love that term…it stops the whirring that flings itself around the inside of my head and plants me right here, where I am), right now, I am doing the only thing I know which feeds me the most and keeps me from tipping over the edge. Writing. Right now, I am wearing my green yoga pants, a pair of slippers and the glasses I convince myself make me look intelligent, well-read even, but which I actually hate to wear. Right now, Ella is asleep, and although I crave the time away from her, I miss her when she’s down. Mental. It’s just mental. Right now, I wish I could pull you all through the computer screen and onto my couch, so we can sip tea and swap stories. To those women who meet me here, in this tent, whom I’ve never met but whom I’ve come to know, I cherish you. And those of you I know and love already, I cherish you, too. You have all given me a place to come. When I’m not feeling so good. So calm. So together. I sit down here and I write to you and it makes me so very happy. I read your comments and I feel part of something special. You give me breathing space, a community to belong to, a place that is all mine. All ours. Right now, I’m feeling a whole lot of grateful. Right now, the toys under my feet and the piles of washing don’t seem so bad. Right now, the madness of managing three lives, a house, a business, and my own happiness seems doable. Right now, I am writing, and all is well.

So there you have it, a random post with a lot of nothing-but-somethings.

What’s feeding you this week? What are you reading? Listening to? Loving?

Me? I’m reading The Rules Of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith.

I’m listening to James Vincent McMorrow. Can’t get enough. Especially this song.

I’m loving this quote:

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”
Mary Oliver.

My word I love that woman.

Random. Sorry. Random today.

And if I see you before Friday morning, don’t forget to slip a airplane valium into my purse. I’ll love you forever.

9 Responses to “Flying With Children”

  1. Rebecca Schöpf

    OK Rach, in October I flew alone from Dubai to Brisbane with Zoe aged 22 months. And I was 7 months pregnant on top of that! It was a 13-hour flight and Zoe slept a total of 1.5 hours. What do you need? Suckable things for taking off and landing – a dummy if she takes it, if not, then lollies. This is not the time to be worrying about tooth decay and external judgement! Also keep in mind that a lollipop (the “sugar free” variety of course :)) takes longer to devour than a jube. So anything they have to work at to unwrap, squeeze out, etc etc is better. Do you remember Choki-Chokis from the school tuckshop (i.e. tubes of chocolate to squeeze out)? Have rediscovered them recently and they keep Zoe occupied for, like, 20 minutes at least! (I.e. a lifetime in mummy world). Tubes of awesomeness, I tells ya! Another tip I have is “plane presents”. I got this advice online. You go to a toystore or Spotlight or Crazy Clarks and buy a bunch of $2 trinkety things, then wrap them up in newspaper. Then you make the rule that you can only open one “plane present” every hour. (Or half-hour if you want, since the trip to Melbourne is really A JOKE compared to what I had to do! Seriously, Rach! 3 hours!). That breaks the flight down into manageable chunks. Zoe particularly loved the plane present (which was reserved until the very end of the flight) of a little handheld kids’ makeup thing, which she proceeded to plaster all over her face using the iPad camera as a mirror. A bit messy, but we just wiped it off with wet wipes. And another present was a packet of Wiggles bandaids which she plastered all over herself, us, the back of the seat in front of us, her teddy. But for kids’ fingers, each bandaid requires dexterity and wiles beautiful minutes away! Also, the iPad for the flight home – which I didn’t have on the way over to Oz – was like all of our Christmases coming at once in terms of kids’ apps and entertainment. An iPhone would work too. Finally I would say invest in a crappy pram that is easy to transport (nothing big and bulky), and/or a Baby Bjorn type carrier to get around with. Take some squeezy food packs for her to eat (if it’s sealed they will allow that stuff through security) because Zoe ate zero plane food. And USE THE BABY to get yourself through long queues at airports! Expect the worst and you will be pleasantly surprised how it actually is. Good luck! xx

    • Rachel Wiley

      Thanks Bec. Love the idea of plane presents, and it will probably come in handy for longer flights. Like you said, 3 hours is really nothing. I plan to exploit the baby as much as I can to skip the queues, too. Brilliant idea. x

  2. caitlinjm

    OOOh well, I know I like valium at the airport and on air plains (mostly cause going through customs freaks me out) … but I’ve never traveled with a child so I am actually not helpful. On another note, I like that you provide links to music you’re listening to, it’s hooking me up with new musicians! I have been listening to a lot of Iron & Wine, am reading ‘ Toby’s Room
    by Pat Barker’, and dreaming of traveling to places warmer than here as autumn is definitely wrapping her tendrils around us. x

    • Rachel Wiley

      I panic going through customs too! I always feel guilty even though I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ll check out Iron & Wine on youtube…I’m always after new good music. Thanks love x

      • caitlinjm

        Yes exactly!! And they have this crazy show here in NZ called ‘Border Control’ where they just wait with camera’s in customs, for someone to totally trip up then record the whole desperate debacle and put it on the telly. WORST NIGHTMARE!
        Yes look up Iron & Wine, I think you’ll love them, my favorite album is ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’ just beauuuutiful! x

  3. Taryn

    Arggh, damn Chinese internet that wont let me access your blog outside of my RSS reader! If I know one thing well, it’s how to travel with babies (we stopped keeping track of the number of Charlotte’s flights when we hit around 20), wish I could’ve been able to help. Glad to hear you survived, and that you realized the most important thing about baby flying: it’s never (ok, rarely) as bad as you think it will be!

    • Rachel Wiley

      Hey Taryn! I’ve heard the Chinese internet security is a little strict. Too bad you couldn’t give me any advice earlier, but it turned out fine in the end. We just got back from a trip flying 5 hours each way which was a little harder but I saw a mum travelling on her own with three very cranky kids and realized how easy I had it. I kept flashing her smiles and bringing her kids my kid to play with. Flights are tough on your own.


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