When I took my 8-week-old baby on her first flight, I thought, "What are all these moms even complaining about?" She slept the whole way and if she fussed, I stuck a boob in her mouth. Problem solved. Silly, silly me. About the time my daughter turned 1, she become an absolute terror in the air. Increasingly manipulative and egocentric, she craves independence but doesn't have the skills to manage it. So, these days, there's a whole slew of things I'd rather do than fly with my toddler.
We're a military family, so we move every few years. We have friends and family all over the country, and we like to, you know, go see them. Since my daughter's first birthday, we've flown to Tennessee, Florida, Georgia and Washington (twice). Most recently, we met my deployed husband in Europe for his two weeks of rest and relaxation. It was 10 hours the first leg to London, then another two hours to Munich. This is a long time for anyone, but for a toddler it's an eternity. You better believe she let me know about it.
I realize that air travel is a privilege. Having to fly with young children is the first worldliest of first world problems. I choose to take trips, so yeah, I signed up for this. It's easy to recognize all that after the fact, but it's a little harder when you have a kicking, screaming, mini-you strapped to your waist while you're both stuck in a giant flying aluminum can with no escape. So, yes, the list of things I'd rather do than fly with a toddler is long, and definitely includes the following: