Guess what? My wife has decided that I get to write this next blog post because I need to let you know about the challenges of a solo parent flying with an infant! (just let that soak in for a second)…
#TheGreatScoutdoors is a challenge with both of us flying! When it was my turn to fly, on my own, on a plane, with an infant-to be honest, I was feeling overwhelmed. I mean, what could go wrong? A single dad on a plane with a baby at 5am, honestly, I was nervous-I mean I’ve heard stories about how bad it can be…
Even though this will annoy my wife, IT WAS SUPER EASY! (Disclaimer-I am not a professional writer by any means so please forgive my lack of writerly skills, there will probably be some mis-spellings even though I have read all of the Grammar Girl’s books I still do not understand where and when to properly use an ellipse and or semi-colon; here?)
I took #TheGreatScoutdoors (from here on known as TGS) on a two-legged flight which we had not done before, which mean she would have to be awake for most or part of the flight. Hence my nerves. We started off our day at 4:00am to get to the airport with enough time to check in and make our flight. My sister-in-law was awesome and offered to take us to the airport and was helpful getting us on our way. TGS was semi-awake as we tackled the local TSA. Pre-#TheGreatScoutdoors, TSA was a snap-we have pre-check and my wife & I would race to try and beat our record of 114 seconds (Note-I hold that record-not the wife) from the door of the airport through TSA. With a small child, it gets complicated. Things to know-breast milk has to be packed in a very specific manner, you have to remove the (hopefully) sleeping baby from the car seat so TSA can turn the car seat upside down to check for security issues. You and the child go through the checkpoint-repack everything, put them back into the car seat, all in hopes they remain asleep! TGS DID sleep through all of this-so I was stoked!
We found our gate, TGS was still asleep (score) and we prepared to board. It was odd because as a guy I find I often am helping others to lift heavy luggage overhead, get seated, etc. But when boarding with a baby, I found I was the one requiring assistance! But people were great to me & I will never look at another person travelling with a child the same way again. No one has ever asked to “help me” but on this flight I had two people to offer help and yes, they were both women. I was so thankful for their assistance. We settled in and amazingly, TGS slept for the duration of flight #1. After a layover, we boarded flight #2. Flight #2 was a different story as The Great Scoutdoors was WIDE awake and proceeded to cry on and off for 2 ½ hours as we made our way from Phoenix to Minneapolis. Luckily I was sat next to an off duty flight attendant who was a whiz with a crying baby, so once again, the kindness of strangers was not lost upon me! I discovered that walking up and down the row of the plane and rocking Scout helped her to stop crying and to fall asleep. When I attempted to place her back in her car seat-she would wake up and cry once again. We repeated this process 10-12 times to no avail. Finally the amazing flight crew just had me stand in the back galley and rock her for the rest of the flight. And I had great conversation with this American Airlines crew as they offered not only baby flying tips but also the latest on airline business information as well (they were very knowledgeable!).
Mom was waiting for us at the gate and I was more than happy to hand off a now hungry TGS to her mom (as we ran out of breast milk during flight #2).
Things I learned:
People will always help a single Dad. I hope they help the single Moms as well.
I’ve often seen single Moms receive the stink eye from fellow travellers if their child or children create any commotion. I wish Moms would receive the same luxury I received on travel day.
All in all, an entire day of travelling with TGS went pretty easy. I was relieved and believe I am ready for the next trip. I’m looking forward to the Wife’s stories when she travels alone with TGS to see if her experience matches-up with mine.