We recently travelled to Toronto, our first flight with Meebs. As a very active 15 month old we weren’t really sure what we were getting in to.

Our outgoing flight left at 6:45am. We thought that by aiming to leave home at 4am we’d have plenty of time to make the 45 minute drive to the airport, check in, and have a snack before our flight. What were we thinking? Despite waking up at 3am we didn’t get out the door until 4:30am; packing all the final items and getting out the door with a toddler took much longer than “scheduled”. We ended up being that frantic family racing to the gate, our names impatiently being called over the intercom. We were the last to board, sweaty and out of breath.

The bright side? Meebs was so tired from our early awakening that about an hour into our 5 hour flight she zonked out for nearly 2 hours. She cried for 8 minutes (yes, I kept track) before falling asleep; she was overtired and over-stimulated, and sometimes a meltdown is the only way she can calm down. The flight wasn’t full so we had an extra seat in our row, which worked out perfectly, giving Meebs room to play with her toys and watch cartoons. She was a fantastic little flyer!

The return flight went a little differently.

We arrived at Pearson International with plenty of time to spare. Meebs was full of mischievous energy, so we strapped on her puppy harness and let her run around the airport for over an hour, hoping to exhaust her. Instead, we exhausted ourselves. Tired and irritable we boarded our return flight with a feeling of dread.

The flight was full. There were three adults plus Meebs jammed into a three-seat row. I felt sorry for the lady beside me, caged between us and the window. Meebs never stopped wiggling and whining, other than during her short mid-flight nap. This was exceedingly stressful for us, and MeebsDad didn’t handle it quite as well as I did. He hates flying to begin with and tends to get frustrated easily (a trait Meebs shares and I often laugh at how similar they are). So, he was getting annoyed when Meebs wouldn’t sit still and tried grabbing at everything. At one point MeebsDad yelled under his breath, “that’s it, when we get home I’m having a vasectomy; and we’re never traveling again.” I smiled (on the inside), thinking how comical this situation would be in a sitcom.

From our perspective the flight was a nightmare, trying to contain and occupy Meebs was exhausting. Though after the flight landed some ladies commented to me that they thought she did great, very well behaved. It was definitely nice to hear that we hadn’t disturbed the majority of passengers.

Looking back, it wasn’t so bad. Or was it? I think flying with a toddler is a lot like labour—it’s agony while it’s happening, but over time you forget how painful it was, of course until you do it all again. Though at least with labour you can opt for pain management medication; perhaps something for airlines to consider offering to passengers with small children!