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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Crying Kid

I'm guessing that everyone who travels has been on at least one flight where there's that poor kid who screams just about the entire time. And just when you notice a lull and you think "Thank goodness,The Crying Kid must have finally fallen asleep..." it starts all over again. I always felt bad for everyone involved. I figured the kid must be miserable to be crying so much, whether it be tiredness, or sickness, or ear pain, or just big feelings that they can't express any other way... and I figured the parents are probably doing their best to calm the kid down so they must be frustrated... and I figured all the other passengers are probably sick of hearing the crying. Nobody is happy about having The Crying Kid on their flight.

Well, on our flight home from Georgia, The Crying Kid was Calvin.

Here he is, having finally worn himself out - temporarily. He is holding my hair. 
Getting to the airport for our flight out to Georgia had been crazy and stressful. But the flight that time hadn't been bad. Henry was an angel. At 3 months old, he is easy to take on a plane - he just sleeps and eats, and he's tiny! Calvin was a little restless, but James let him walk up and down the aisles a bit and around the galley in the back to stretch his legs and his wandering didn't seem to bother anyone too much. He did fuss and cry when he got tired and was having a hard time falling asleep, but I held him and rocked him and after he slept for a while he was awake and happy again. We entertained him with toys and books and he was fine.

For our flight home, we had help from Granny and Grandpa in the morning, so we got out the door and to the airport with time to spare. The only hiccup we encountered getting to our gate was that I had to be patted down by TSA because apparently squeeze pouches of baby food are a potential threat to national security.

Threat Level: Raspberry

At the gate, Calvin walked around a bit and looked out the window at the planes and the airport service vehicles. Henry slept in the Ergo with James. They both seemed fine.

We boarded and it turned out that there was an empty seat next to one of ours so Calvin was able to have his own seat.

Calvin is reviewing the safety procedures. 
Once again, Henry was totally fine the entire flight. Not a peep. Ate, slept, and was adorable. There was even a changing table this time.

Calvin, on the other hand, had a very tough time on the flight :( Poor kid had had a rough night to begin with. We had stayed out past his bedtime visiting friends, and he hadn't been fussy or irritable there at all, in fact he was happy and friendly the entire time. When we finally did go home, he went right to sleep and all seemed fine. But then he woke up several times during the night and cried and yelled angrily. He ended up sleeping with his Granny instead of in his crib.

So on the flight, even though he'd been in a good mood that morning, he was tired and badly needed a nice long nap. Unfortunately, on the plane it was very hard for him to fall asleep and stay asleep. So the poor kid would play for a short time until he was fussy, then one of us would hold him and he just cried and cried trying to fall asleep. It may seem weird if you don't have a toddler, because I know it seems like if he was so tired he would just nod off... I think it has to do with stress built up from chronic tiredness. The whole weekend had been a lot of new experiences, and a lot of shifts in his sleep schedule because of the time difference and visiting people.

Calvin is 18 months old, and we've already weaned him off of bottles and pacifiers. I can't just stick something in his mouth to magically soothe him. The only way we could finally get him to sleep was for me to hold him tight, rock him, and sing our usual lullabies into his ear. Then finally (and slowly) the yelling would subside into whimpering and he'd finally nod off. But he couldn't stay asleep for that long, so he'd wake up and the cycle would begin again. I would guess he spent at least half the 5 hour flight fussing and crying. During those precious moments when he was asleep, I did all I could to keep him comfy and sleeping!

The absolute worst part was when he woke up after landing. He was not well rested and he was not happy to have been woken up, so of course he resumed screaming and crying. Only now the plane was parked at the gate so we didn't have the white noise of the engines to soften his yells and everyone was standing or sitting around waiting to de-plane and awkwardly trying not to stare at The Crying Kid. Meanwhile, I am struggling to hold and soothe Calvin who is not only screaming and crying, but also writhing and fighting me. I tried putting him down and he just cried harder. I tried offering him food and toys, but of course I couldn't give him what he needed which was more sleep.

As we finally walked down the aisle to get off the plane, another passenger muttered something about "Benadryl" and I wanted to punch him in the face. James explained that the man was actually trying to make a helpful suggestion by reporting that he'd heard Benadryl could  help with ear pain during the flight. I had thought he was just suggesting that I drug my baby to make him sleep.

Being the mom of The Crying Kid was tough. As we walked through SFO I felt like total crap. I felt like I had singlehandedly made my own sweet baby completely miserable and all the passengers around us irritated and uncomfortable. I felt like it was my fault and James' fault for being lax about Calvin's bed time the night before. But there was nothing to do but to shake it off and move on. Calvin cheered up a bit as we moved through the airport and collected our baggage. And he went to bed very early that night!

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