I was a bit of a nervous flyer when the kids were younger. My anxiety had nothing to do with when to don an oxygen mask or how to prepare for a water landing though, but instead was brought on by a fear of what annoying things my kids might do once we were in the air. Would ear pain cause my son to scream bloody murder on both take off and landing? Would my daughter be the child that insists on enthusiastically demonstrating her sense of rhythm by kicking the seat back of the passenger in front of her the entire length of the trip? And I had never realized that in-flight vomiting all over the stranger in the seat next to us was in the arsenal of disgusting and embarrassing things my son could do until it happened one fateful toddler trip.
Trust me, I'd happily have removed a lot more than my shoes if the TSA agent could have warned me that my baby was planning a full-scale diaper blow-out. I've discovered, more than once, that it is not easy to give anyone (including myself) a head-to-toe bath in the tiny airplane sink.
Flying with older kids, though, as I did on our annual vacation last week, is a world apart. First, no one cries or throws up any more. And I'm pretty sure my children aren't too much of a nuisance to any of the adults on board, with the possible exception of the flight attendant when asking for a second bag of pretzels. But the best part, I've discovered, of air travel with teens and tweens is their unexpected ability to get along with each other -- at least for the duration of the flight.
While at the gate, my kids will bicker about anything and everything: What flavor of gum to buy, who gets to board first, who has to take the middle seat. But somehow as soon as the carry-on bags are safely stowed overhead, the rivalries and tensions seem to melt away. Like clockwork, all three of them will immediately pick up their individual issues of "SkyMall" and discuss the merits of owning a Lord of the Rings-inspired jewelry collection, ultraviolet shoe deodorizers, and elevated pool-side dog beds. They will spend hours discussing the likelihood that a passenger has ever been inspired to purchase a full sized replica of "The Peeing Boy of Brussels" fountain while cruising at 35,000 feet. They'll play cards, share sips of their sodas, discuss vacation plans, and even agree on which movie to collectively watch on the iPod using a set of headphone splitters.
This year our family went to California, a fairly long flight. And my husband and I relished the opportunity to sit three rows away from our offspring for four full hours pretending to be a much older version of the incredibly relaxed, purposefully child-free, couple on the cover of Time Magazine a few weeks back.
The serenity was, of course, short-lived. Because the minute we touched down, my oldest, perhaps by accident, perhaps on purpose, dropped a suitcase on my daughter's head while taking it out from the overhead bin.
Yes, we had been warned, that the contents might shift in flight. Carry-ons are notoriously unstable, much like my children's attitudes toward one an other.
But I will take this moment, nonetheless, to say thank you to the Wright Brothers for at least giving the mother of the Judge Brothers (and sister) the time to quietly enjoy her own SkyMall.
I am seriously considering purchasing the Guardian Angel of Peace statue. Something tells me I am going to need all the in-between-flight serenity help I can get.comments powered by Disqus
New Year's resolutions are hard to keep. In fact, something around 90% of people fail every year! But one way that you can increase your odds of victory is to get other people involved.
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If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.
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On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.
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"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
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I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
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