Flying with kids = Torture

Stefism #27 Want to know what's really fun? Flying on an airplane with 5 kids by yourself. Want to know what's even more fun? Having your 2-year-old get a bloody nose on the plane and watching the blood splatter all over yourself, the person next to you, and the flight attendant as she thrashes her head around. 

Yes, this actually happened. But the story gets even better. I needed to be out West for my sister’s wedding and a family reunion. My husband couldn’t get off work, so I decided to brave the trip myself – at the time I only had two kids – my daughter who was 2 and my son who was 1. (They are 14 months apart. I know. That’s fodder for another blog post.) Everything was fine and dandy until about halfway through the reunion when my son started coughing up a croupy lung. We missed all the fun activities, but whatever.

The reunion ended, and I was scheduled to fly out the next day. The rest of my family hopped on earlier flights, so a good friend was going to pick me up from the hotel and drive me the airport. Simple enough.

That night, my daughter came down with croup. We’re on our way to the airport and she’s wheezing and out of breath. I called the pediatrician who advised me to avoid the plane and skedaddle over to the ER. A few steroid treatments and a take home inhaler-like contraption later, they said my daughter could fly the next day. Fabulous.

The same friend (bless her) dropped us off at a hotel near the airport, before she had to head out of town. The next morning I took the shuttle to the airport – me, a 1 year old, a very sick and cranky 2 year old, a double stroller, two car seats, a backpack, and a suitcase. I’ll leave the image of me getting on and off the shuttle with all that stuff to your imagination. Feel free to make it crazy – you are probably getting close.

Finally it was time to board the plane, and I got in line. At this point, my daughter was sprawled on the floor kicking and screaming. The agent looked me in the eye and told me the timeslot for family boarding was over and I had to go to the back of the line. Seriously? I’m pretty sure there was a string of swear words going through my head at this point. I’m also pretty sure I was on the verge of tears, but I am not a confrontational person, so I dragged my screaming kids to the back of the line.

Finally, we boarded the plane. I strapped my daughter in her car seat and held my son on my lap. I took a deep breath and prayed with all my might they would fall asleep during take off.

Ha, what a joke. Once we were in the air my daughter started crying that she didn’t feel good and insisted on sitting on my lap. Switcheroo. I put her brother in the car seat and held my daughter on my lap. A few minutes later, her nose started bleeding. I tried to stop it with a wipe, but the swiping and the red blood freaked her out and she started thrashing her head around.

Blood flew. Like spaghetti sauce flung from a spoon. It was coming fast and soon covered her mouth, chin, her shirt, my pants, my arms, my shirt, the seats in front of me. Seriously, it was everywhere. The flight attendant rushed over with napkins, but my daughter was freaking out so much there wasn’t much she could do to help. When my daughter finally calmed down, I was able to change her clothes and wipe up the blood from the seats, but I didn’t have any clothes for myself. I flew the rest of the way home in blood-stained clothes.

Yeah, I didn’t travel by myself with kids for a very long time after that trip. A very, very long time.

But the next time I did, I had 5 kids. That’s right, five. I’ll save those stories for another day.

The moral of this story: if you are planning on flying on a plane by yourself with your kids, forget everything I just said and good luck! I’m sure it will be an awesome experience.

Also, five kids later, I am an expert at stopping bloody noses. Squeeze the nostrils and hang on for dear life.