Monday, August 13, 2007

For Your Safety

Those of you who have flown with young kids know that you usually put just as much time and effort into packing for the plane ride as you do packing for the entire trip. No one wants to be the person whose bored kid is screaming or kicking the seat in front of them. I've flown solo with Ella at least a dozen times by now, and with both girls by myself a couple of times, as well. I should be a pro by now, but there are some lessons you never learn. Like no matter what you pack, they're going to play with something else.

I brought Addison her favorite blankie which is covered with tags that she likes to put in her mouth; her baby, whose hair is made out of ribbons that she likes to put in her mouth; a book with vinyl pages that won't get ruined when she puts them in her mouth; and a teething ring, for the express purpose of putting in her mouth. All of these things went by the wayside, though, when the flight attendant passed by with her magic cart. One of the snacks they gave us on the plane was a small package of Milanos. Inside the package is a little plastic nest that the cookies rest in so they don't get smashed. Addison played with the Milano packaging for two of the two and a half hours we spent on the plane on the way there, and the entire time she wasn't sleeping or pulling a stranger's hair on the way back.

I thought packing for Ella was a no-brainer. I had a DVD player for when we were in the air, and an assortment of what I thought were carefully chosen books for take-off and landing. As the plane started rumbling down the runway, I pulled out one of those books where you have to find things in the pictures (like "Where's Waldo?"). The pages of this particular book were chock full of things to find, so I thought it would keep her occupied for a while. In the end what she went for was the safety information card that was in the seat pocket in front of us. Rather than find the chilled asparagus from the feast scene in "Beauty and the Beast," she challenged me to find a little boy on the card. I pointed to a young chap who was getting assistance putting on his air mask. They must have lost cabin pressure. "No, not that little boy," she corrected, "the one in the water!" I flipped over the card and found the same boy floating in water with a life jacket secured around his neck. Wow--first loss of cabin pressure and now this? I felt bad for the kid and hoped he at least got his complimentary apple juice from the drink cart before calamity struck. Next she asked me to find the baby in the water. Poor kid--his little head and hands were the only things that could be seen sticking through his enormous life vest as he bobbed along in the sea.

"Where's the fire?" she asked. It was emanating from the cloud of smoke that was rising from what looked like shards of plane that must have been born from an explosion of some sort. Beside the picture of the fire, smoke, and shards of plane was a picture of a woman in a green dress looking out one of the windows. According to the card, she was supposed to "assess the outside conditions before opening the exits." I hoped she could see the part of the plane that had exploded before she opened the emergency door that had had a big no sign over it.

"Where's the letter A?" Why, there it was, labeling the plane's front emergency exit!

"Where's the plane in the grass?" I found it crashing, landing gear down, in a picture in the corner.

"Where's the plane in the water?" There it was, crashing beside the one in the grass.

"Mommy, what's that baby doing?" "Well, honey, she's being smothered by a woman in a green dress who is assuming one of the proper bracing positions." And then the plane landed. Safely.

"WOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAA!" Ella yelled as we rolled down the runway. "I have my safety! I have my safety!" she assured the entire plane, waving her pamphlet.

"Excuse me, can I bring this safety newspaper to my house with me?" she asked the flight attendant as we got off the plane, and was elated when the attendant said yes. When we got to the terminal Ella climbed up on the arm rest of one of the chairs and started yelling, "Look at my safety, look at my safety!" to passers-by. I pulled her down off the chair before she could fall while showing off her "safety," slung my backpack full of discarded distractions over my shoulder and, with Ella clutching her "safety" and Addison happily chewing on her packaging, headed home a little wiser. Forget the toys, books and movies--next time I'll pack the instruction manual to the fridge and a used tissue.

Just Barely surviving the flight home,

Great for on the plane if snack packaging or safety information cards are not available:
For Babies
Taggie Blanket Washable baby that's fun to chew on
Books with vinyl pages Other chewables
For Kids
Books that require (quiet) contemplation Portable DVD player

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  1. This is toooooooo funny! Makes me wanna fly somewhere and get my own safety! Glad you made it home-safely.

  2. Sew some little taggies on the other safety and the baby will love it, too!

  3. I always over pack! Especially for those long delays and such!