I would like to check one bag and one child please.

We’re getting ready to remove ourselves to our holiday residence at my in-law’s house. On the way, I’ll be stopping briefly in Chicago. I’m very excited! There’s a lot to do before we leave. My daughter and I head out on Friday, my husband the 18th, and the cat, sadly, has to stay home this year. Poor cat.

I didn’t bother decorating since we’re leaving so soon, but I did put up some christmas lights. A certain kid loves them, asks me to turn them on a lot. I usually ask her to do something for me and then I’ll turn them on. That’s where we are these days, EVERYTHING is a negotiation.

I’m worried about the airports and the cars, the new beds and the restaurants. She’s a different kid since we last went anywhere else, she understands more, but her patience is maybe a bit less and she’s far less containable. I’ve been so very lucky with her on airplanes that I’m starting to fear that the other shoe is about to drop. Will this be the trip where TSA has to pry my 2 year old from a plastic tub? Will the passengers on this flight be staring at me with the “oh god, make it stop” faces? Will this be the trip where my ipad battery dies the moment we get into the car?

All these very real fears of parents all over haunt me.

As much as non-parents like to believe that a) travel is just for them and b) all children can be brought down from the throes of meltdown, I have some bad news for them. Kids go places. Especially on the holidays. They have every right to be on the plane as any other ticket holder. (The logic that some adults have that adults are worth more than kids baffles me.) Kids have complex and shaky emotional scaffolds, they haven’t learn to repress, delude, and compensate through years of turmoil and boredom like adults have. If one prefers to see it in a positive light, they are more honest. Loudly honest. So, not all bad behavior by kids on planes can be stopped with any simple procedure. If the parent isn’t even trying, that’s one thing, but we like to hear our kids scream even LESS than strangers do. Trust me.

Anyway, I’m hoping I can negotiate my way from here to there with my 2 year old. I have an arsenal of stickers, apps, videos, and snacks with which to bargain. And if all else fails, I suppose I could tell her Santa’s watching…

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