I just got back on Wednesday from Arizona. I flew alone with Alex both directions. Now that I have been on eight separate airplanes with Alex over the last four months, I feel like I am an expert at flying with a newborn. My newborn, at least. I will also make sweeping generalizations because I do what I want.
There are three types of looks I get from people when walking on an airplane:
1. No eye contact - Those who don't look up at all because they are already reading their magazines.
2. Quizzical - Those who judge you for flying with a baby and are convinced he will scream the entire flight.
3. Interested - Those who smile and think he is cute even though they are convinced he will scream the entire flight.
I do not have any experience of flying with a bad baby. Alex was perfect the entire time. He slept most of all of the flights. I also had an empty seat next to me on three of the eight flights. He never screamed while landing like many babies do. I sat next to a pilot on one of the flights and he told me how to avoid having a crying baby. He said that if they are asleep then you don't need to worry about anything. However, if the baby is awake then stand him/her up. Being vertical helps their ears clear. Nursing or using a pacifier will also help them to clear their ears.
While going through airport security on my way from Ithaca to Phoenix, they did not even make me take Alex out of the front carrier. It was so nice. On the way back from Phoenix to Ithaca, they made me take him out of the carrier and remove his shoes! Baby shoes are all cloth. What is in their diapers is more dangerous than what is in their shoes. It was ridiculous. I think the airport security lady did not know, well, anything about babies.
While I was trying to get Alex back in the carrier, I set him in those boxes you put your purse in to go through the x-ray machine. A security guy came up and I said, "I just put him through the machine. That's okay, right?" He started laughing and said, "You would be surprised. Parents come up with their kids in the carseats and if they are sleeping they say, 'He is sleeping. I would really rather not take him out. Can we just put him through the machine?'" I was dumbfounded. Some parents struggle.
The flight back from Phoenix was Alex's first daytime flight. During takeoff he was looking out the window and doing his usual dance. Then he squealed, made an "ooooohhhh!" sound, and grinned. I think he likes flying.
I had just boarded the plane for one of the flights and I hadn't taken Alex out of the front carrier yet. A flight attendant walked by and told me I had to remove him for the carrier so that "in the event of an emergency, he could be passed off." I thought that was stupid but I did it anyway. A few minutes later I noticed I had been singing the Dixie Chicks song "If I Fall You're Going Down With Me" in Alex's ear.
Without fail, every time we landed, the people around me would comment on how good of a baby he was. I know I am lucky. And I am grateful for it.
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