Lots of people hate turbulence. Lots of people hate flying with a toddler. Neither are pleasant situations, and perhaps the thought of combining the two of them has you thinking that you’re better off staying at home than jetting off to that beach vacation. Well, would you be surprised to learn that I’ve discovered that flying with my toddler has a given me more positive attitude toward turbulence? Let me explain…
I have unfortunately become the kind of flyer who really dislikes the run-of-the-mill “fasten your seatbelt” turbulence that happens during almost every flight. Turbulence makes me nervous even when I know that it is par for the course, absolutely routine and all that stuff that people who are cool about turbulence will tell you.
And I knew last week (and the week prior) that when I flew from NYC to Sarasota and back again with my 15-month-old completely alone (except for 100+ other passengers and the flight crew), I would definitely experience some turbulence. While New York and Florida were enjoying great weather, there were plenty of storms in between to provide “potholes in the air” as my friendly Jet Blue captain put it.
There was some degree of turbulence for the entirety of both flights. Hardly ever a break from it and that was not my idea of fun. I had planned to walk around the plane with my toddler to give him a break from sitting in his carseat but I’m not one to get up when the “fasten your seatbelt” sign is lit, and especially not when they make an announcement about “having to suspend beverage service temporarily.” Safety first, thank you very much.
Naturally, my toddler did not appreciate my commitment to safety insofar as it meant that he was stuck in his carseat. And he was quite vocal about his displeasure at times, making me everyone’s least favorite passenger on the plane. (Because they can’t hate the baby, right?) It’s interesting to note that on European airlines, they don’t recognize carseats as being safer, which means that during turbulence, takeoff and landing, the parent is required to take the baby out of the carseat and attach him to your seatbelt with a special baby seatbelt that does not exist on American airlines.
On both of my flights, I noticed that whenever the turbulence would get worse, my son would get calmer. Just as the turbulence reached its peak — and I reached the peak of my stress — my son drifted off to sleep. That’s right — the same motion that I found so nerve-wracking, he found soothing. And it makes perfect sense, seeing as I still have to rock him in a stroller to take naps. (But that’s a whole other post.)
So after experiencing an unhappy toddler and moderate turbulence, I was now experiencing a sleeping toddler and moderate turbulence. The situation was much improved — thank you, turbulence! This being Jet Blue, I decided to relax by watching Bravo and sitcom reruns while my son napped for about 45 minutes each time. I’m relieved that he’s making me almost appreciate turbulence, because the last thing I want to do is give him a negative attitude toward turbulence or flying. I’ve got big travel plans for him and I want him to see the magic in flying through the air in a big metal bird.
So why has flying with a toddler made me like turbulence? Because it puts him to sleep. Yeah, I guess this could have just been a six-word-long post.