A million years ago I was a nanny. I traveled quite a bit with the family, but the trip that stands out in my mind was the time the Dad and I took the two boys by ourselves, while Mom stayed home with the new baby.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the Mom, the Housekeeper, the Laundress, and myself, we were extremely well-prepared. We shipped the bags and car seats ahead of time so that we didn't have any pesky luggage to worry about. We had a carefully planned itinerary to stick to. The travel agent had coordinated our car service and other logistical details - all we had to do was show up. It should have been the least stressful trip in the world.
Unfortunately, we ran into some bad weather at the airport and were stuck out on the runway for about 90 minutes, waiting for our turn to take off. In the meantime, the younger brother (age 2 and a few months) threw a tantrum. Like, the entire time. Like, the loudest and most enthusiastic tantrum I'd ever seen.
We were in the first row of first class, just a few feet from a stern and eagle-eyed flight attendant. All the little mister wanted was for us to unbuckle his seatbelt. I tried to stealthily unlatch it while the mean lady was looking the other way, but she noticed immediately (probably because the crying/screaming/wailing/kicking suddenly stopped). She then proceeded to remind us in a nasally monotone about FAA regulation blah-blah-blah which states blah-blah-blah... basically, he had to wear the seatbelt. No exceptions. Buckle up or get off the aircraft. Then she stood guard for the duration of our wait to make sure that we complied. I know she was just doing her job but it was hard to remember that, what with all the screeching and hollering.
It probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was extremely stressful. Upsetting. And mortifying.
Ever since that incident I've always said I'd never fly anywhere with my children until the youngest was at least three. Until then, car trips would be good enough for us.
Except for the fact that my cousin got married and is having the reception in August. In Alaska. Have you ever driven the Al-Can Highway? With a toddler? For one thing, it would take us a week to get there and back.
I decided I just wouldn't go to the reception, especially since Penn has to work and I'd be traveling with Nicknack all by myself. Oh, and six months pregnant.
But I can't shake off the nagging feeling that I absolutely need to go. I don't want to miss it! And I can't leave Nicknack at home, so he has to come along.
So now the great debate has begun. I've been waffling back and forth all day. Should I book our seats in coach and just hope and pray that 24 hours before each flight I'll be able do web check-in and pay the extra $200 (each way) to upgrade us to first class? Or should I bite the bullet and pay the $1000 (!) extra to just book us in first class now, so I don't have to worry about it until August. Or we could just deal with coach.
I just can't imagine my big-fat-pregnant bee-hind squeezed into a middle seat. And if Nicknack is in his giant carseat in the aisle seat, what a pain for the person in the window seat to get in and out. On the other hand, if Nicknack is in the window seat, what if he needs to get up and go potty or wants to walk up and down the aisle? Either way the third person in our row will be disturbed.
Worst of all, what if Nicknack throws a huge fit and the that random person sitting next to us gets upset? The flights to Alaska are packed in the summer, so we are sure to have a neighbor.
Of course, if we're in coach there are likely to be a more families/children so there might be other kids misbehaving and the other travelers might be more sympathetic to an unruly little person.
What do you think? Have you traveled with a toddler before? Do you have any advice? Do you think I need the extra space/privacy of first class so as not to annoy the heck out of an unsuspecting stranger? Can I risk the fact that we might get stuck in coach if I don't cough up the extra money now? I hate to waste money? And if we don't, should we sit in the aisle/middle or window/middle?
Did I mention that Nicknack will be the exact same age as that little boy was when he threw that big fit?