Everything was going okay, until after we had our first meal. Usually after the first meal, the plane shuts off the lights so everyone can sleep, but Naima decided she was not ready to enter the chambers of slumber. The first thing she wanted to do was take off her shoes and socks. After she removed her socks, she proceeded to throw them at her sister, and then the magic began. She unbuckled her seatbelt, started jumping up and down, and singing her ABCs like she was performing at the Apollo Theater. Then she stood up and stuck her head over the seat, entering the personal zone of the passengers behind us. I’d take her to the bathroom and let her walk around from time to time, but I couldn’t do it too often or she’d be running like a crazy child up and down the aisles. She kept yelling, “Mommy, Potty! Potty!” She didn’t have to go to the bathroom, it was just one of her many escape plans. It became extremely difficult when the seat belt sign came on because we all know that is the time when you’re not allowed to get up at all. She’s only 2 so she couldn’t understand, “No, you can’t get up right now, it’s not safe!” so she’d get frustrated, start having a hissy fit by trying to climb out of her seatbelt and kicking the seat in front of her. She’d find her way to the floor and lay there. I’d try to get her up off the floor, and she’d toddler me out of protest. I have to say these times were stressful.
On many international flights, wine and beer are complimentary, so Leonard and I decided to have a few miniature bottles of wine to relax and ease the stress of flying. Several hours into the flight, I told Leonard I was tired and that I was ready to go to sleep. I had Anaya and Naima switch seats so Naima could sit closer to Leonard. I dose off, and then something awakens me. I hear the sounds of a child laughing hysterically and bolting out tunes so loudly I can no longer keep my eyes closed. I turn to my left, and I realize it’s MY CHILD. I look next to her, and Leonard is knocked out! I’m like who is watching her! I said NO! This has to END NOW, I’m TOO TIRED!
Five hours into the flight, with another six hours to go, I was so drained, I tried to put Naima to sleep, but she was still going strong. The flight to and from Korea is a very long flight to endure with a toddler, and although I held out as long as I could, I resorted to the only thing that could to keep my sanity: Benadryl. I don’t condone drugging your children, and I would never do it in any other circumstance. You can judge me if you want to, but when you’ve tried everything to resolve the situation, you become desperate! I had exhausted all of my options!! I used plans A, B, C, and D! Expecting a toddler to sit still in a tiny section of an enclosed space with no room to run around for 11 hours is complete torture. I always said to myself, “I never want to be that person; the person whose child is raising hell 35,000 feet in the air!” Flying back to Korea with Naima by myself, I had to mentally prepare myself. You can never be fully prepared when traveling with a toddler; the road may be long and tiring, but you get through it! It gets better as they get older. Anaya is so used to flying now; she just sat there with her tablet and didn’t bother me at all!
The next day we caught the 9 am bus back to Daejeon. We get home, and as I’m unpacking, I’m looking through all the bags, and I can’t find the tablet. Then I remembered Naima was looking at it on the bus, and I didn’t remember seeing it after that. I was like, aww man! We left the tablet on the bus! I was frantic! We looked up the phone number to the bus terminal; luckily we had someone to translate: Anaya! They told us they would call the bus driver and then call us back. They called back and told us it wasn’t there. I was so devastated, I couldn’t believe it! Then an hour later, we get another call telling us they had found it! I had Leonard take Anaya and Naima to pick it up because at that point, I definitely needed a break!
Despite all the crazy mishaps, we had an awesome time. After traveling to 7 cities and enduring 10 flights in less than two weeks, I’ve realized I will never travel this extensively with a toddler again!