How To Get Through An Airport With A Three-Year Old

I don’t usually give unsolicited advice, unless I think your life is in shambles, in which case I’ll probably still wait for you to ask for my sage advice I am in Alanon, after all. This is a “no codependence” zone.

But.

There are some exceptions. I learned a few things walking through an airport with my little lady, and it would be selfish and wrong not to share my knowledge.

1. Get her a kiddie suitcase so she can pull her own crap through O’Hare. Bonus points awarded if you get a garishly-colored suitcase that belongs on the set of Scooby Doo. (Note: Don’t trust her to pack it herself, because she will put a bunch of stupid stuff in there like a Rousseau treatise, a wool scarf, and a tea set. Try to explain what she should pack in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.)

2. Obey the airport signs regarding where you can and cannot take that cart you paid 35.00 in quarters for. Hint: you can’t take them on the shuttle train or the escalator.

3. She will have to pee when you are the farthest point away from a restroom. Even if you begged her to try 7 minutes earlier, when you were standing right next to the Family Restroom. Be ready at any moment to sprint to the nearest potty. Don’t forget, there will be a long line.

4. She will touch everything everywhere. She will knock over a display of Gretchen Rubin’s new Happiness Book. She will put her hands on the trash can. She may luck the elevator door. You gotta be ready for anything.

5. Some airports have those cool hand sanitizer dispensers that emit the sanitizing liquid in a misty burst. Your three-year old may want to try this, but also? She will look up as the mist is spraying down and she will be temporarily blinded. You will be temporarily deafened from the sound of her wails. Supervise this exercise closely to minimize pain.

6. Most importantly, you must know that she is 100% incapable of watching where she’s going. You will tell her every three steps to “watch it” or ” keep her eyes focused on where you’re going.” She won’t. She can’t. She also can’t steer her Woodstock-era suitcase in anything approximating a straight line. That skill comes way later in life.

So keep these in mind, don’t forget the snacks, and if all else fails, pretend you don’t know her.

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26 thoughts on “How To Get Through An Airport With A Three-Year Old

  1. If you can’t see the simple genius of traveling Rousseau, scarf, and tea set, then I don’t know what to do with you. Discomfort both sought and feared, remedied by physical and emotional comfort.

    What did you hope for? Clothes and snacks?
    Philistine.

  2. Hahahahahaha! SO funny! I always tell the kids, “Your head needs to be pointed in the direction your body is moving.” (not that it actually helps)
    What I love is that all of this happened before even getting on the plane…and we all know how fun THAT portion of any trip is!! –Lisa

  3. First of all, I love that picture! What an adorable pumpkin!

    When I was a nanny, I traveled a lot with the last family I worked for. One of my favorite things was to see what the boys would pack in their carryon suitcases before their mom or I would have time to check them. A random train car, a few pieces of a board game, a pair of gloves in the summer…it was hysterical.

  4. Well, she looks too adorable to pretend you don’t know her! I can say this, because I don’t have to pull her through an airport. I have been there. 🙂

  5. haha! I can only imagine! I didn’t travel with my son until he was 10. But my sister travels all the time with her daughters (3 under the age of 5) and I can just see all of this happening!

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