Everybody loves a 1-year-old, unless of course they’re on an airplane with one. I remember my mother’s group leader telling us that from age 1 to 2½, we should make all faraway friends and relatives come to us and avoid flying altogether. So when the invitation arrived for a family wedding 3,000 kilometres away, and my youngest daughter was still in that age range, I knew I was screwed.
But luckily, my 19-month-old toddler surprised me and was a perfect angel who slept the entire time. Kidding! (And wouldn’t you hate me if I wasn’t?) No, flying with her was pure hell in the skies, because here’s what she and — let’s face it — all 1-year-olds really do when you dare to fly with them:
1. Repeatedly kick the seat back in front of you, earning you glares and seething hatred from the affected passenger who is now your mortal enemy and probably creating a brand new Twitter account just to complain about you more publicly.
2. Demand to get “Uhhhhpp!” just as the captain puts the fasten seatbelt light on. Nothing will stop their screaming. All the things that work at home, like getting some fresh air outside or eating ice cream are totally unavailable to you now. Ha ha.
3. Cruise up and down the aisle using strangers’ inner thighs as convenient handrails. This will be far more embarrassing for you than for them.
4. Drop their crackers on the floor and eat them, digesting a mélange of airplane germs, which will incubate for 24 to 48 hours before giving your 1-year-old, and thus your entire family, a nasty virus right in the middle of your holiday.
5. Blow dry their nappies– especially if the plane has no changing table. So then you’re forced to change them on your own lap. Hope you brought a big plastic tarp! You didn’t? That’s okay, your white pants will do nicely.
6. Race up to the first class cabin to find the source of that fresh-baked cake smell. You’ll be left standing there in cattle class, wondering whether it’s worse to enter the Forbidden Zone to reclaim your child or simply look the other way while you enjoy 60 seconds of alone time.
7. Get airsick. Luckily, you always pack spare clothes for your minis. Unluckily, they almost always spray chunks on their mum. Get used to the smell; you’ll be living with it for a few time zones.
8. Attempt to play peek-a-boo with the passengers one row back, who will think your 1-year-old is adorable and play along for approximately two minutes. The next time you see them, they will be wearing eye masks and noise cancelling headphones.
9. Scream for no reason, making you wish you were commuting, on jury duty, in jail — anywhere but where you are.
10. Refuse to nap the entire flight, no matter how much rocking, singing, or breastfeeding you offer. But they will fall fast asleep during landing, just to f*ck with you.
11. Drop their lovies somewhere on the plane, which you will not notice until hours later in your hotel room, when you are praying desperately for the sweet release of sleep, which is now denied to you, possibly forever.