Every time I tell people that we went on a trip, everyone's first question is "How did the kids do?" Which I totally understand. I mean, who doesn't want to hear the grueling tale of a five month old inconsolably throwing fits and then sharing righteous anger at comments from other passengers and flight attendants. It's both a Better You Than Me moment as well as an I've Been There moment. I was convinced that my kids would be a challenge on this trip, but they were complete and total angels and not even once was I stressed out about their behavior.
I prepared for the worst. I spent a small fortune on treats and color books and surprises for Lucy's backpack. I made sure I had half a dozen pacifiers and teething toys and two blankies for John. We didn't use half of it. I blame it entirely on the ages of our kids. Lucy just turned 3, so she's able to entertain herself for longer periods, and John is young enough to be happy being held and easy to please (generally speaking).
Lucy spent most of the trip to Chicago enthralled with the window and the headphones she could plug in and control the music channels in her arm rest. We just had to make sure that she didn't put it on the movie channel. They showed Pirates of the Carribean Whatever Number They're On Now and I couldn't prevent her from seeing bits of it on the screens in the aisles, but I didn't want her to get interested with the audio too. So! Headphones! Buttons to push! And then we read some of the books I stocked up on from Goodwill. The a portion of the other flights were eaten up with a Dora no-mess reveal-the-colors type picture book that was also sort of a seek-and-find. Lucy had never seen one of these, so it was pretty magical to see the objects she was looking for "appear" when she colored. She also did some dot-to-dots from an activity book. Things we didn't need: new matchbox car, tiny color book and tiny markers, half of the frillions of snacks, favorite trains.
John is old enough to be interested in playing with toys and young enough not to NEED to be down and moving around on his own. He ate, played with some toys, slept. His favorite thing was ripping the pages out of a magazine and crumpling them. This entertained him for at least 40 minutes. He was so easily taken care of, fussed very minimally as he was going to sleep and then charmed everyone around us with his smiles and coos.
Best part: Lucy singing "Life is a Highway" at regular volume as she looked out the window and then later hearing some guy three rows back whistle it softly and some lady humming it as we were landing.
Worst part: Delays out of Wisconsin on the way back so that instead of sleeping on the plane, John had his nap in the airport. I was so worried for that entire hour and a half that he'd be crabby on the plane and that we'd miss our connection in Chicago. Both ended up being totally fine.
This is why I'm thinking about doing the trip again in a few weeks except without the Bubba. I'm not in love with the idea of having a layover with both kids - in Chicago I was able to run around a little with Lucy while the Bubba took care of John to get some wiggles out - that's definitely something for the "cons" column...