Last Wednesday I did something brave. I flew with my 3 month old daughter. It may not sound like a big feat, but the unknown was pretty huge and looming! I didn't know if the air pressure changes would make her scream for the whole flight or if I would be able to navigate security with one arm or how TSA would handle me walking through with a tiny person. Turns out? It was simple, easy, and fun. For the most part. Flight to NY: Heading through security for the first time I was a little stressed (I don't like the unknown -- I mean really who does?). I apologized to the guy behind me in line as I struggled to take off my shoes without my hands and he was kind enough to tell me to "take my time" and that he has 2 kids that are grown and he understands what it can be like with a baby. After getting our stuff on the conveyor belt I approached the TSA agent by the scanner and asked "how does this work?" and he ushered me through the metal detector with absolutely no fanfare. Easy-peasy. As I was gathering up our stuff on the other side of the scanner another TSA agent walked over and asked me "Who are you flying with?" very seriously. I started to indicate my daughter nervously and the agent smiled and told me that she was impressed with how well I "worked it with one arm" while getting our belongings up on the conveyor belt. She then said there was no reason she couldn't help me on this side and that I didn't need to do it all by myself. It was very sweet and made getting everything put back together so much easier.
We walked from security to our gate and I couldn't help but see the smiles everyone gave my daughter as we passed them. Skylar was very chill for the whole experience. We got to the gate and hung out for a while until Skylar started to complain (re: cried) because she wanted to nurse. Fortunately she fell asleep after nursing on one side. Here she is sleeping at the gate:
A little while later boarding started. I got on the plane pretty easily (Skylar charmed everyone as she passed) and found our seat. We were on the aisle and every person who passed us smiled at Skylar. A little bit later the passenger sitting on the inside of us approached and we stood to make room for her to join us in the row. Skylar smiled at her and they made friends quickly. We soon were taxiing down the run-way and about to take off. I quickly started nursing Skylar on the other side and she nursed until she fell asleep again. This time I cuddled her into the Moby wrap (she's the MOST snuggly and comfortable in that carrier so I thought it would be perfect for "in-fight" wearing) and she curled up against me. Skylar slept practically the whole flight (about an hour and a half) and only started stirring at the end right before we landed.
Here are a few pictures from on the plane:
I met my dad in the Newark Airport (kudos and thanks to my dad for picking us up in Newark and driving us to upstate NY and then driving us back down 5 days later!) and we headed to the baggage claim. The car-seat and our suitcase were some of the first items off the plane. The lady who sat next to me made a point of telling my dad how good Skylar was and how impressed she was with us. It made me feel so good to know that others were, in the very least, not bothered by us during the fight.
See. Here's my thing... I have some basic ideas and rules I try to follow with regarding my child and being in public. One of them is that I try hard not to make others deal with my daughter's crying or fussing or issues. This is because it's MY problem to handle, not theirs. At some point I'll make a post about all my ideas or "rules" regarding this.... Just for posterity's sake. :)
The Return Flight: My parents drove us to the airport and after saying goodbye we approached security. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult when I noticed the the whole line was going through only the metal detector. And the TSA agents were helpful once again with packing up my things. In line the guy behind me was nice-- though not as talkative... we were in NJ after all -- but ultimately everyone was kind and/or helpful. The flight back was pretty simple, but I was surrounded by men. I was only slightly concerned about nursing, but was really touched by the attitude of the man sitting directly across from us (we were in a single row with no one immediately next to us). He seemed to be from somewhere in Africa (I'm not sure which country because I wasn't able to place his accent fully) and he was both encouraging and respectful while we were nursing. It was kinda neat how I felt completely comfortable nursing Skylar with him sitting a mere 3 feet from me and how he didn't act awkward or like it was anything out of the ordinary. He also smiled and talked to Skylar a bit (not while she was nursing -- hah) and she grinned back. It was such a simple, but very sweet interaction. I was very blessed by that man and thanked him for his help (he had picked up a few items I dropped in the aisle for me) when we were exiting the plane.
The flights to and from NY really reminded me that strangers CAN be kind, friendly, and helpful. It gave me some hope for the future of us as society. I know it's much easier to be nice when there's a sweet little baby grinning at you, but ultimately, those who want to be sour and bitter will be regardless of who is smiling at them. I'm so thankful that everyone who crossed paths with us allowed Skylar to brighten their day. Watching my little girl make someone's world happier is a huge blessing to me and one I never tire of observing. And I'm incredibly thankful for those who helped us during our flight adventure. I hope someday I can return the favor.
Till next time,