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Heathrow Airport

Being Mommy, Travel

Flying solo….with the kids

October 18, 2013

From the moment I first found out I was pregnant with the Prince I knew that this day would come. That at some point soon I would be flying solo across the Atlantic with at least two kids.

I have been mentally preparing to make this trip forever. We simply can’t afford to all fly each time so I always knew this would be my reality.

One of my good friends flew from Cork to Vancouver in the Spring by herself with her then 5-year-old and newborn daughters. At the time I remember trying to build up her confidence on how easy it would be. But in my own mind I was still trying to build my own confidence for my inevitable journey from Cork to NY.

Well, this weekend it was time to put all my mental and practical preparation to use. Having flown over all together, the King left Upstate NY 10 days before us to return to work. On Saturday it was our turn.

In hindsight I now know there is actually no way to be prepared for three flights (one overnight, transatlantic) with two kids under 4 in tow. I feel the need to explain that we booked these tickets last-minute and had few options…generally we try to avoid two connecting flights but it wasn’t possible this time.

All started off well enough, despite my extreme edginess in the morning. The thought of leaving home and saying goodbye is always tough on me. Add to this, flying solo with two kids and throw in some side effects of Sudafed in my system and my heart was really racing.

Generally, I hate the way Sudafed makes me feel and stay away from it, but recent bouts of aerosinusitis- which I never even knew was a THING- have left me pretty debilitated in flight. If you’ve ever had it you know what it is and would probably agree that the side affects of Sudafed are far more manageable and certainly more preferable when flying solo with kids.

Anyway, the thing about being a mom is you sometimes just don’t have time to give into emotions much.  As soon as I turned my back on the family I was leaving behind there was no time for tears because two little people were both demanding my attention. 

We were traveling about 18 hours in total door to door.  Like I said there really is no preparation.  All-in-all we made it with only a bit for sweat & tears (mostly mine) but thankfully no blood. 

Aside from the Princess breaking out in hives somewhere over the Atlantic leading me to stay awake staring at her the entire flight while she slept soundly…and a late landing which forced me to sprint through Heathrow airport with the Prince strapped to me pushing the Princess in the stroller & her screaming “excuse me” to a packed terminal….we made it home sans luggage but on time to collapse in Daddy’s arms, shower and sleep.  In that order.

However there were a few lessons I will take with me next time…..

  • I was carrying far too much stuff.  Although it seems the little they are the more gear they require, I wasn’t making life easy on myself.  Sure having two connecting flight increases the likelihood of getting delayed somewhere but seriously when was the last time my son ever went through 17 diapers and four changes of clothes in a day or even two.  Even if we did get delayed I’m pretty sure wherever we were would have at least one store stocking the essentials.
  • Airports and airplanes are really entertaining for a three-year old….I thought the bag of tricks we brought was quite small but turns out it was completely unnecessary.  Aside from the iPad, a colouring book and her blanket she did not even open her bag of tricks so I was lugging it senselessly.  And yes I was lugging it despite my intent to keep it the size & weight a three-year old can manage…we all know how thatgoes.
  • Raisins are no longer enticing.  During one of our previous trips, the Princes once at 6 boxes of raisins and it kept her quite happy.  There isn’t much point into the big stash of treats (ok…bribes) that I was carrying.  Stopping to get an ice cream and some sweets from the shop was all that she needed to tow the line.
  • Avoid Heathrow at all costs.  I have said this before…that place will one day be the death of me for sure….but I keep going back!!  The security checks and biometric screening for everyone (TWICE) to not even leave the airport is ridiculous.  You try telling a three-year old just off an 8 hour overnight flight that she has to stay still and look at a camera for nearly 30 seconds.
  • Do whatever it takes to survive.

Anyone else have any fail proof tips while flying solo with the kids?