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I thought I had it all figured out. Traveling with one child had become a piece of cake after two big league seasons in the books.
We waited until we knew I could handle traveling with two kids before we considered attempting to add to our family. We wanted our oldest, Blake, to be completely capable of handling traveling with me and a new baby. 4 years age difference seemed perfect.
We walked into our first ultrasound about 4 weeks after seeing the word "pregnant" on the test stick. At first, I thought there wasn't a heartbeat.... why else would the ultrasound tech be looking around so much and acting so fidgety when checking things out.
Then she said "Well, it looks like congratulations are in order, you're expecting twins!"
What the WHAT?! "She must be joking", I thought.
"There's two babies in your belly?!" exclaimed Blake.
Elliot started crying tears of joy, I started crying tears of overwhelming fear.
I didn't adjust well to the thought of twins. Even to this day, even though I love them so much, there aren't times that I don't think about how much easier life, especially baseball life, would have been had we had them one at a time.
Sure, I wanted 3 kids.... eventually. Never in a million years did I expect to go from a family of 3 to a family of 5 over the period of 2 minutes during a c-section.
But that's the way it went, whether I had planned it that way, or not. The next thing I knew, I couldn't fly to see my husband without an entourage.
Last week, I finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to fly by myself with all 3 of the kids. My sister had her bridal shower happening in my home town, and I wanted to be there. My mom offered to fly down and fly with me, but that seemed like so much work.
The flight there was rough. The flight home was much easier. Here's what I learned flying solo with my 3 kids:
1. First things first: Flying with kids makes you a hero. From the moment the first couple that was flying with their one baby saw me, I could see the look of awe in everyone's eyes. I definitely got bonus points when I assured the agent at the ticket counter that I was only checking one bag. "You're a soldier!" She told me. I told her I was going for sainthood. I was doing the exact same thing at the airport I would do on any given Saturday at the Children's Museum, but nobody else there was doing it, so I deserved a gold medal.
2. Nothing, no training whatsoever, can prepare you for the moments before the plane takes off. Talk about two toddlers losing their $hit. Those moments before the air fully kicks on, when you're being told to get their seat belts on, are the longest moments of your life. Seriously, take one screaming kid in a hot enclosed place, and multiply it by 2.
3. Be friendly. Nobody wants to help out a miss grouchy pants. Saying "Thank you so much!" goes such a long way. From the TSA agent to the flight attendant. Take your baseball wife skills and put them in action.
4. Don't be above bribery. Candy, toys, I don't care what you have to give them. Have plenty of it, so when they get bored with whatever you bribed them with, you have a newer, shinier, tastier bribe ready.
5. Bring electronics. Maybe you're that mom that doesn't let your kids play on your phone. Good for you, and good luck to you on the plane. My twins fought over my phone and ipad the entire flight to Indiana. Thank the Lord the flight was only 1.5 hours and it wasn't full. I learned from this and actually asked my family members if they had any old iphones I could have. My sister and mom offered up some old 4s iphones they weren't using anymore. I cleared them out, added toddler apps, and the flight back to Raleigh was a much quieter, and happier, flight.
6. Fly direct whenever possible. I knew that attempting to change planes wasn't going to work out for us. I opted to fly nonstop into Indianapolis (2 hours from my parents house) and drive there rather than connect somewhere and fly into Fort Wayne. Our drive into Fort Wayne was late at night and all the kids slept. Our drive back to Indy was super early in the morning, and all the kids slept again.
7. Take your time and be early. When I got to the gates, the agents took one look at me and told me to wait there so I could board first. I was also one of the last people on the plane after everyone got off. The flight attendants were extra helpful because I wasn't trying to bust through with my 3 crazy kids while they were trying to assist other people on and off the plane.
8. Apologize, but don't be overly apologetic. When your kids are being jerks, feel free to apologize to those around you. "I'm so sorry Skylar kicked your seat," and "Hazel, please stop standing up and screaming in the direction of the people in the seats behind us," are times that you should apologize. Having kids on a plane that are behaving pretty good for being kids is not. Airplanes are for everyone. You don't need to hand out ear plugs to every single person on the plane, especially if you're not flying at the peak times that business travelers fly. My flights were late at night on a Tuesday and in the middle of the day on a Sunday, not exactly "business express" times. There were plenty of other kids on our flights, making it easier for me to not be uptight about every peep they made.
9. Have patience and understand that this is out of routine for your kids just as much as it's out of routine for you. You're all learning. Use what you learn on the first leg of a trip for the return flight. Figure out what you need to get through the airport and the flight with as few issues as possible.
10. Again: You are a hero. A #Boss. If you fly solo with one or more kids, you're already doing something that the majority of people know they are incapable of. As you walk through the airport pushing a stroller or baby wearing, remind yourself that you're awesome-sauce, and people are only staring because they know they could never travel with an entourage of little people while looking as cool as you do.