How to fly with multiple small children without killing yourself or others

air travel with two small kids

Flying with Small Children

Ok I’m a couple days off of a flight with a six month old and a 2 year old. Flying with small children is scary. I was really nervous about taking this flight but I had to do it alone. My mother or John couldn’t come down with me so I had to do it solo. It was a short notice flight so I didn’t have much time to prepare but here are the tips that I have for you to make travel with multiple small children easier… and avoid suicide… or homicide.

Give Fair Warning

Let your kids know exactly what to expect and when.

I didn’t have much advance notice about this trip, but once I knew, I started notifying Rohan.  I let him know we were going on a plane, where we were going, who we would see, and how the travel day would go. I kept it light and fun so he could get excited about going to “Frorduh.” A couple times a day we would talk about the upcoming trip so no surprises and no toddler meltdown.

baby on board

Time It Right

Don’t book a flight that conflicts with your children’s nap times or usual cranky times (tired/hungry/hyper) if you can help it.

I took a 6am flight. I knew there was a high chance Kaya would sleep most of the way (she didn’t) and Roey would be calm and relaxed (he wasn’t) Luckily Roey woke up on the right side of the toddler bed that morning and was sweet, even though full of energy. Kaya was a squirmy energizer bunny, but she’s still small enough to contain fairly easily.

Distractions Are Key

Have a lot of tricks up your sleeve, toys/activities/games, and backup tricks/toys/activities/games.

Redirecting Roey’s energy when he’s in a good (or decent) mood is fairly easy. I can just do a loud exaggerated gasp, and he’ll look at me expectantly….while I quick think up something to say to get his mind off of whatever loop it was on before. Sometimes my brain stalls out on me and I come up with like “GASP!!….where is your nose?” But hey, it works. When he’s in antsy mode, or weird energy mode like he was for a part of this flight, it’s a bit harder, I had to have a lot more than just a gasp on hand.

flying with babies

In my carry-on was:

  • tons of snacks
  • books (including his favorite)
  • elmo of course
  • many, many vehicles (given one at a time over the course of the journey)
  • 3 different earphones (because one of them had to be the “right” ones)
  • sunglasses (because he’s obsessed right now)
  • a blanket (for our tent city game)
  • kindle (for me)
  • 2 sippy cups (because “i dont want water, i want milk, i don’t want milk, I want water” happens too often)

When Ro got too fidgety, or seemed bored or annoyed we tried toys, but we ended up playing games more often. Word games, and “can you fix this?” were the most popular. Having a bag of tricks kept Roey out of crank-mode, and kept me feeling somewhat sane.

For Kaya I had a bottle with cereal mixed in, teething toys, her soft dolly, a blanket so she could come to tent city too, and a million bibs.

toddler on the plane

Pack Some Patience & A Good Attitude

Air travel is annoying for adults and children alike. A good attitude helps to make it go down easy.

I tried to have a woo sah experience. Focusing my energy on managing Roey’s happiness was a good way to keep my attitude in check. He took the most deliberate, slow, tiny steps, stopping at almost every row to look back at me for no reason, aaaallll the way down the aisle to our seat (far toward the back, sadly) while mama is behind him with a heavy carryon, and a baby strapped to her. It would’ve been nice to just pick him up and throw him to 23A, but I just had to take a deep breath and gently encourage him to hurry his ass up.

Kaya deciding to wait until I changed her mid-flight, to take the most massive poop ever taken, could have pissed me off…. Okay, it did piss me off, but what could I do but change her again (while Roey said “Kaya poopoop that’s gross ha ha” on a loop the entire time) and keep it movin.

Oh, and this happened intermittently throughout the entire flight. Gee, I wonder if he was tired…..

Don’t Forget About You

Eat and Drink something! Healthy Mommy = Happy Kids  Caffeinated Mommy = Unmurdered Kids

OK that’s dramatic, but I did notice a larger bandwidth for annoyance after I had that 3rd cup of coffee (#judgemeifyawanna) and finished my muffin. I also chugged two bottles of water, and although I had to pee like the dickens, I felt much more capable of making it through the flight alive. Also, I had my kindle on hand in the event the kids slept, so I could catch up on some reading (if I didn’t end up sleeping myself.)

Get Lucky

And pray. Pray they both don’t have a meltdown at the same time. 

Gotta say, I was internally beaming at the end of the flight when people were saying how “good” the kids were…. I know what they really meant was “quiet.”  Even though, at one point Rohan screamed “WE ARE NOT FINISHED FLYING YET!” (I cringed and was waiting for someone to jump bad so I could check them…) but a few people just chuckled.  I was lucky to have a nice group of people nearby. The dude near us said “He’s right. We’re not finished.” I was also lucky to not have a passenger in the seat in front of Ro, because opening, closing and “fixing” the tray table was big fun for a good 25 minutes.

After staying up the whole flight, we get into the truck and immediately……

toddler sleeping in car seat

Thank goodness I packed that good attitude ;)

What are your tips for a solo parent traveling with multiple small children?

 

Raising an Artist

Roey finger painting

Listen….Van Gogh ain’t got nuffin’ on my kid!

I already shared Rohan’s garbage truck masterpiece here, but I didn’t really let you know what an art-filled life we lead here in the OKDani household.

The promise of painting is one of the few things that can stop a tantrum immediately. Unfortunately, that leads to “cave art” on my wallswhen Rohan is feeling artistic (or destructive, depending on how you look at it) on a whim, but usually it’s harnessed in a positive way.

We color, or paint or do sidewalk chalk every single day. John and I draw trucks for him to color in, about 7000 to 8000 times a day. He creates dough sculptures daily, and asks to play with his doughall the time.

Recently he learned to use a glue stick….

afternoon art

I took “glue stick day” as an opportunity to introduce Roey to a show called Creative Galaxy from Amazon. It’s by the same people who created Rohan’s #1 favorite show: Super Why!

(Interesting to note, Rohan does not speak to the TV, and answer questions when asked, unless it’s Super Why… but he quickly answered the Creative Galaxy character, Arty, when he asked for help! I was surprised)

Creative Galaxy teaches about art in a really interesting way. It’s an interactive show, and they have the main story line going that your child is “helping” with, but throughout the episode, lots of little offshoot teaching moments are sprinkled in. If you’re a person who watches shows with your kids you’ll appreciate it too, and find lots of opportunities to expand on what the show is sharing.

download

For Roey, this show is perfect. He’s big into the planets, solar system, stars etc and like every toddler he loves to do arts and crafts so it works out well.

I don’t consider myself an artist but I want to be sure to raise my children as artists from early on. I want them to remain creative forever. Right now I’m doing all I can to have Roey create and appreciate art.

Some things John and I are trying:

  • daily creative/artwork as mentioned above: painting, play doh, crayons for drawing and coloring, etch a sketch, artistic learning apps on the ipad, building w/ blocks, sidewalk chalk for outside, etc.
  • bookmark age-appropriate arts n crafts ideas on Pinterest so we can come back to it when we have the right tools
  • play “hidden item” types of games with art pieces, or in things we can view artisticlaly, like a rug with many colors in a design, or in a garden, we’ll find alphabet letters…forcing him to look at things in a new way.
  • watch programs with an artistic theme Ex: I found an episode of a show he likes that was teaching about primary colors
  • making Roey tell us a story and we “illustrate” it on the etch a sketch (his story is always about a vehicle or a lion)

Which reminds me, one thing I loved about Creative Galaxy was that they didn’t “dumb down” the content because it was for pre-schoolers. They explained pointalism! Which led me to teach Roey about stippling, and then led him to stab a million holes in a paper in an attempt to do it on his own… (Why’d I give an inkpen to my 2 year old? I don’t know.)

I recommend Creative Galaxy to anyone with pre-school aged kids, or even a little earlier, if they’re open learners. They’ll get a ton out of it.  Rohan copies John and takes his tools out to “fix” everything. He’ll be working with a screwdriver on the side of a chair for example and will say “Ohhh I see the problem, I will FIX IT!!!” very excitedly.  Since watching Creative Galaxy, he now says. “Oh I see the problem…I will fix it… WITH ART!!!” like Arty does….but he still uses his screwdriver lol.

 How do you add art into your kids’ day?

Any pointers for me?!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

3 – 4 Months of Kaya

kaya-okdani-blog

OK…I started writing this post the day before Kaya turned 3 months to make a 3 month update. Now…we’re 2 days away from her turning 4 months!! #procrastinatemuch? At least I’m gettin’ to it! Right? Here is my 3 month baby update and 4 month baby update of Rohan for comparison.

Next survey update will be 6 months. I can’t believe 4 months have already passed since Kayabean’s birth. She is the best little girl I could’ve asked for.  I’m so grateful!  She’s such a big girl. and has changed so very much since her colicky beginning.  She’s so chill and only cries when she’s ready to sleep.

Weight Well this lil girl is getting long and heavy. I have to take her to the doctor soon so we’ll get an accurate weight, but when I get on our bathroom scale with her and then without her, there’s a 14.8 lb difference. So that’s a rough estimate for ya. Tho, she seems super light in comparison to Ro.

Clothes She is in 3-6 months and some 6 months! Her tiny lil shoes no longer fit either. She still fits her size 1 shoes. I gotta say, I LOVE baby girl clothes. All baby clothes is adorable just because of the tiny factor, but omg lil baby girl dresses and leggings and bows. ugh! I see why people go overboard with girls. I’m fighting it. (And let my mom go overboard on my behalf)

kaya-on-blanket-okdani-blog

Diapers We have tried a few brands with her so far: Pampers, Honest, Huggies, Love and even Publix. So far, no standouts for either great or awful, so going to try a few more brands and if none stand out will choose her diapers by price. Gotta say, Honest diapers are the cutest things ever!! I love the size 2 girls diapers w/ the strawberries. Honest wipes are my second fave, after Kirkland wipes from Costco.

Eating Kaya eats every 2 to 3 hours. I nurse on demand just like with Rohan. I get so worried now that she’s sleeping long at night that she’s starving. I know it’s irrational and that she’d wake up and cry if she wanted to nurse….but still.  When in Florida she got a bottle for the first time. It took her 3 attempts with a bottle to get used to the nipple. I’m glad she was able to catch on, I am not so tethered to her now. Overall she’s a good eater. There were some latch, and air gulping issues in the first month or so, but that’s over now.

Naps Kaya sleeps so randomly it’s ridiculous. Some days she’s the queen of cat naps, some days it feels like she sleeps for 24 hours, and some days it feels like she downed a bottle of no-doze and is tweaked out and wide awake. I am trying hard to find some sort of pattern, but she is throwing me for a loop. One great thing about her, that never happened with Roey, is that she will fall asleep on her own!

Nighttime Ahhh sweet night time. at about 7 weeks Kaya’s colickiness kicked the bucket and since then she’s been a perfect sleeper!! Before and during our time in Florida she would go down around 9:30/10 and then wake around 4:30 to nurse and pass out while nursing and stay asleep until 8 or 9.  Now, she goes down around 9:30 or 10, then wakes around 6:30 sometimes…and other days doesn’t wake until 8:30 or later! Thank you heavens!!

3-month-old-in-bumbo-seat-okdani-blog

Likes

  • Her brother – she stares and smiles and giggles and coos at him all day long
  • Being upright and walking around – she likes to see everything going on
  • Pulling hair, blankets, earrings, fingers, anything within reach
  • music, being sung to
  • her playmat and her rocker
  • bathtime – kicking and splashing
  • sucking her fingers – I’m happy she can self soothe and fall asleep, but worried she’ll be a longtime sucker

Dislikes

  • being held in one position for too long
  • being in an unmoving car
  • waiting for me to pull my breast out – those 2 seconds are entirely too long when she’s ready to nurse

Milestones

  • Rolling over! I gotta get her on camera, I always just catch her after she’s done the deed.
  • Scooting around
  • Giggling! i gotta get that on camera too
  • Taking her first dip in the pool and first flights

Overall

She’s such a calm baby. She’s so much easier than Roey and Roey wasn’t even that bad! #SOGRATEFUL I think she’s going to have a calmer personality/toddlerhood that Ro, but we’ll see. She may be a lil tornado just like her big bro. She’s already full of personality and makes the best faces! She’s just the softest snuggliest lil thing and I’m so excited to be her mommy.

One Month of Kaya

Check out One Month of Roey for comparison
Kaya is growing so fast! I feel like I’m not getting to spend as much time just loving up on her as I was able to with Rohan and it makes me a little bit sad. Second kid already getting short changed. We didn’t do a newborn photoshoot for her either. Month one of her life was all about survival for me. We made it out alive, and on to month two lol. So far so good.