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.