Do you recall our trip to Ohio and the bad behavior that came with it? Well, when we returned home from that trip we had to seriously discuss our impending trip to New Jersey that was a mere month away. We honestly thought about canceling it. Knowing how disappointed Adam’s family would be, we decided instead to make a plan. A plan on changes and tweaks. Here is what we did differently:
Blah! The word airplane these days gives me a tick. Our planes rides with the boys thus far have been nothing short of comical disaster that should have had reality TV cameras near by. This time around, however, we decided to separate the boys. And I don’t mean across the aisle, no no, that turns into a game of musical chairs and musical parents. I’m talking, rows and rows away from each other. It worked like a charm. I took Grayson, Adam took Greer (ha ha sucker!) Besides them shouting “Guga” (what they call each other) across the plane, to which the other twin would respond “what?”, sending the rest of our friendly passengers into a giggling fit, they were great.
I took a tip from my childhood, that my mom did, and stuffed their backpacks with toys, books and activities that were new to them, things they haven’t seen before. So it kept them entertained most of the time, going through one thing at a time. Now, with that said, we’ve also learned our maximum flight time is two hours, tops! So friends and family on the west coast, we’re sorry but we’ll visit you when the boys are sixteen.
Divide and conquer.
There is much much much to do when you arrive at your destinations airport. Exiting the plane, finding car seats and/or stroller, getting to baggage claim, potty breaks, hungry tummies, finding your luggage, picking up rental car, hide your child your find peeing in the flower bed outside baggage claim …wait, is that just mine?
We found it easiest to send Adam to get the rental car, while the boys and I waited for the luggage. I made them my “helpers” , having them help me look for the luggage and “help” me pull it off the belt, and even having them wheel the lighter suitcases out to the curb to wait for daddy. This gives them a task and an activity to do while one parent grabs the rental that is a mile away by bus.
*and in full disclosure, the peeing in the flower bed really happened this trip. I asked both boys if they had to do,they told me “No mommy, I tell me” (which means they’ll tell ME) and sure has shit, we get all the luggage out to the curb I hear Greer giggling to turn around and see Grayson, dropping trow and peeing in the airports flower beds. I sent this picture to my husband who was still on the bus to the rental car location with “Welcome to Philly!”:
Planning travel around sleep.
And by travel, I actually don’t mean the airplane, not really. We’ve tried in the past to plan flight times at sleeping times, which totally backfired on us. Now, I know there are lots of littles that can sleep on planes, but if yours doesn’t, like ours, book them before sleep. We decided to take the earliest (and nonstop) flight out before nap time, knowing we had about an hour or so drive to the shore. Our boys instantly fall asleep in the car so planning “travel time” (not flight time) at nap time totally worked for us this trip. It was perfect. They got a catnap (an hour) in before we arrived to see family, and they were in great moods to greet our loved ones. We also did this on the drive from the shore to Hoboken and the drive from Hoboken to the Philadelphia airport (Hour and a half) and it seriously worked for us. So, if your nuggets don’t sleep on planes, plan for their nap time to be the travel time after the flight.
I truly think this was our biggest issue in Ohio. Naps were skipped and sleeping arrangements weren’t typical nor with the bedtimes. We have learned and know that our boys do so much better in a room with only the two of them in it. Hotels with us in the next bed or one in each with them, just doesn’t work. They know when they are in a bed in a room, sound machine on and door closed, that it’s time to sleep.
My mother in love’s cousins let us crash at their gorgeous home, and had a room with twin beds. Done, I thought, that’s where the boys will sleep. We decided that no matter what, they were going to go down for their nap every afternoon and some what on time for their bedtime. This went perfectly. They napped every afternoon and woke up refreshed and ready to take on the evening.
Same went with bedtime. Every night they got a bath, put their jammies on, brushed their teeth and went to bed. And all but one night (the first night) slept through until the next morning.
I’ve learned through traveling with toddlers this summer, that new places are confusing and overwhelming. We talked to the boys about the “cool big boy room” that Aunt Meg and Uncle Bill had at their house for them and really talked up the trip and told them what to expect.
Find things to do where you are going. Parks, beaches, libraries with toddler times, pools, children’s museums whatever you can find that will let the kids burn off energy and have fun. Burning off that energy that they have from travel and the anxiety of being in a new place, certainly helps with naps and night time too. Our little’s couldn’t get enough of the beach on the shore and all the fun things that come with city living in Hoboken (ie: a putt putt course set up on a pier over looking the city, swoon!)
Hope our experiences help any of you getting ready to travel! Here are some more pictures from our NJ adventure: