Saturday, January 3, 2009

Seasoned travelers

We just returned back to Switzerland after spending the Holidays in the US. As I was sorting through my mail today I opened a notification for an airline "Elite" member Status. Not unusual mail for me as I travel often, except that the notification was for Dash, my 4 year old!

Before I had kids I used to grimace at the sight of young children on a plane, especially on a long flight, but now I understand and cast an understanding look of compassion to parents traveling with kids. Managing kids on the plane is only half the battle, the exhausting part is getting everyone packed, organized and to the airport on time to make the flight. By the time I get on the plane I am so exhausted that I could sleep through a rock concert, unfortunately I usually only get a few nods of sleep as I try to keep an eye on my two boys.

My kids are turning into seasoned travelers at a very young age, especially now that we are living in Switzerland. Dash comfortably navigates airport security lines and train stations. He handles himself like a little trooper, lugging his most prized toys and stuffed animals in his backpack. Even on the long flight over the Atlantic he manages to behave really well, occupying himself with movies when he's not sleeping. Jack-Jack seems to be following in his footsteps, sleeping and eating the whole way with hardly a whimper. They almost always manage to make me proud of them.

Sure they have their lapses, they are kids after all. On one flight my son's bear got launched across the business class cabin into the face of an unsuspecting gentleman. Another time he walked out of the bathroom with his pants and underwear at his ankles calling for me to help him. Everyone that caught sight thought it was very entertaining and my son loves to be an entertainer. That resulted in him pulling the same stunt on the next flight that day. Since then we've had a long talk about pulling his pants up BEFORE he leaves the bathroom!

Hopefully they continue to make me proud as we travel from place to place. They are gaining experiences that I never had at their age. My first flight wasn't till I was about 11 for a family trip to Disney world. The world is different now though, and hopefully this is one way I can help prepare them for their future. To my kids, getting on a plane is as normal as getting on a bus. They will grow up being comfortable with many things that I didn't experience well into my adulthood. Hopefully, along the way, they wont make too many seasoned travelers grimace when they board the airplane and make many more smile when the flight ends and they behaved liked seasoned travelers.

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