Advice from the M.o.M.

I love to travel. I love to pack bags, hang out in airports, fly on airplanes and see new places. Even so, I was absolutely panicked at the thought of flying with a toddler. I had no sooner booked our tickets for our flight to KY, that my stomach was turning flips. In desperation, I tried to do what I do best - unending research. That led to a major guilt trip for not booking my child his own seat. Once I recovered from that, I started stumbling across articles like this one on cnn.com. The actual article was mostly unhelpful, but it was the reader comments that were truly horrifying. One child-hater goes so far as to suggest that the best place for a child on an airplane is the cargo hold. By now, I had moved from slightly nauseated at the thought of taking to the skies with a little one to white-knuckled terror.

So, I turned to the only people who could advise me on how to handle this dilemma . . . other mothers. These wise women make up my own personal Ministry of Motherhood. And, as always, they did not disappoint me. One request and my inbox overflowed with helpful tips and reassurance. So, just in case you ever find yourself in this quandary, here is a synopsis of what the MoM had to say.


  • Because of the restrictions related to liquids, play it safe and just take an empty sippy cup through security. You can get get water or juice in the terminal.

  • Pack the least amount of carry-on items. This was from my most pragmatic friend. In her words, "Travel light. You're never too far from a walmart. What's the worst case scenario? Buy some new outfits and diapers?"

  • Take your stroller through security. You will be asked to collapse it and place it on the belt to get through security and you will need to check it at the gate, but it is indispensable for getting around within the terminal.

  • If the child can walk, they generally want them to walk through security on their own. The best case scenario is to send someone else in your party through the metal detector first and then have your child go to them while you follow behind.


  • Pack your child their own bag of special things. This might include small toys that they haven't seen before or special snack treats.

  • Beware of too many toys because children really like to throw them, and once they are under your feet, they are pretty much lost until you deplane.

  • Utilize all members of your own travel party. Let kids move from lap to lap so that they can see new perspectives.

  • To help kids who are too young to chew gum with their ears (my biggest concern), make sure they are eating and drinking during take-off and landing.

  • In fact, the biggest piece of advice was to load him up on snacks. It helps with their ears, keeps them busy, and ensures that they never go hungry.

  • If you really want to ensure that they are swallowing and entertained, try lollipops. It can take a young child up to 30 minutes to eat one. The end result is a happy kid and a minimized sugar consumption. Take lots of wipes too.

In the end, Jackson did AWESOME! He had a smile for everyone and truly loved the new experience. I packed entirely too much and definitely stressed too much. Lesson learned.


The Pool Boy

Our trip to KY included a first . . . a pretty long overdue first. Jackson's first time in a full-size pool!

With wheels

And without

Home again, Home again

Jackson and I are home from a little visit to the lovely state of Kentucky. We got to see lots of family - some of whom had never even seen Little J. He was in finest form.

First, he helped me pack.

Then he tested the audio equipment on the plane.

Later, he went for a little test drive of the latest in inflatable watercraft.

He made time for a meeting of the minds with Great-Grands #3 and #6.

Then, all too soon, it was time to help the flight crew fly home.

We had lots of fun, and we can't wait for our next little adventure. We would like to request something tropical . . . Did everyone hear that? Anyone? Daddy?


Sweet but Sticky

Jackson had a sweet with a side of sticky kind of day today.

Sweet because . . .even though he asserts his independence at every turn, he still reaches for my hand for long walks . . . like the one around the air conditioner and past the barking neighbor dogs to the front yard.

Sticky because . . .as we were driving home from church I turned around at a stoplight to see that he had peeled the name tag sticker off of his sippie cup . . . and he was EATING it! In some quirk of traffic, there was never again another stoplight long enough for me to extract the sticker from him. I did manage to get small bits off of his fingers, but then the bits stuck to my fingers. It was a lost cause so I am considering it a fiber source.

Sweet because . . . He was so excited to show off his stair mastering. Jackson doesn't get many opportunities to practice stair climbing in our one-story house. So when an opportunity presents itself, he goes for it with gusto. Such was the case when he veered off course on the way out of church this morning to race up the stairs. Once he got up, he gained speed and just kept going. He was halfway to another set of stairs by the time I caught him. He was delighted with himself!

Sticky because . . . Mom still has not achieved the perfect balance of PB to J. Thus, after eating a mom-made sandwich, there is cleaning of the face, hands, arms, bib, shirt, and highchair. To further complicate things, I fed him fresh pineapple with dinner. A bath was required.

Sweet because . . . while I was busy packing for our upcoming trip, Jackson crawled in his rocker with one of his books. He sat there by himself "reading" all about dogs and trucks for quite awhile. So sweet.

Sticky because . . . it was unbearably hot and humid today. I was wilting.

Sweet because . . . My little boy sees a trip to Linens and Things as akin to a trip to Disney World. A little explanation - we were trying to make a speedy trip through LNT so I passed on the cart. Unfortunately, I didn't know where to find what I was looking for. So about halfway through my lap around the store, my little bundle of joy was getting heavy. I put him down so that we could get adjusted, thinking that I had mere seconds before he took off. To my surprise, he stayed right where I put him down and he said, "Whoo Hoo". I turned around to see a display of three shiny new vacuum cleaners. Jackson LOVES vacuum cleaners. A close second place for Mr. Clean is the duster. And what do you know, there was a whole wall of dust removal items for him to admire. We stood there for awhile while he pointed to each cleaning solution until I named it for him. The whole thing was pretty comical.

Mr. Clean goes to work

We are so glad for every moment of sweet, sticky fun that our little boy brings into our lives. May they be numerous in the days to come.


Dining with Dependants: Build Your Own Burrito

One of the side effects of our fast-paced lifestyle is that we rarely eat at home. In fact, Jackson has played with my pots and pans more in the last 6 months than I have. We are aided in this gastronomic adventure by the fact that the area in which we live has more restaurants than people. I could eat somewhere different every day for years. All this was well and good until I became a mom and realized that variety and plentitude might not be the biggest priorities any more. It's figuring out what my tiny diner will actually eat.

Chipotle - Enormous burritos with 2 bean options and fiery salsa; this sounds like a recipe for a toddler stomach bomb! Never fear, our friends at Chipotle will make a cheese quesadilla with the smallest tortilla. And the best feature? The wee quesadilla is a mere 60 cents.

Qdoba - Same story here - amazing adult food that would make a toddler cry. You can also get the quesadilla here . . . but these people have figured their smallest patrons out . . . and brought forth the dreaded Kid's Meal. The quesadilla is twice as big, but even after subtracting out the chips and kid's drink, it's over three times as much dough ($2.00+).

The verdict: Chipotle still holds the key to our hearts . . . even if sometimes we leave 50 cents worth of our dinner on the floor.

Wisdom for those who are hungry: