Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Floating and Flying; Tips on Flying with Preschoolers March 19, 2014

We recently were on an airplane, and without fail, the boys have to go right about the time the seatbelt sign comes on to signal the final descent. If they really have to, Patrick takes them, because I think there’s just something about a man taking a child that the flight attendants don’t quibble with, but when I take them, they always harass me, like I can do something about the inner workings of my child. This irritates me to no end, but I’m not going to get into a thing and get thrown off the airplane. If we think they can wait, I hoist them above my head and run for the back lav when the plane is parked at the gate. They’re pretty good on the plane.

Ideas if you want to avoid electronic devices on the plane:

1. Spend a lot of time talking about what you will choose to drink. Look at the menu for a while.

2. Dry erase marker boards. The boys love these and will play on them for hours.

3. A book for mazes or connect the dots.

4. Get out the Sky Mall and look at it until they start bugging you. There are always pictures of dogs in there to distract them.

5. Spend a lot of time on take off and landing looking out the window and pointing things out.

6. When the drinks come, count the peanuts or pretzels.

For us, these activities usually occupy the 1-1.5 hours that we’re in the air. Some airports have children’s play areas. These are great. Even better when the airport sells fancy craft beer that you can take in a plastic cup to the children’s play area.

They had a lovely week for spring break before the snow settled back in on Monday, St. Patty’s day. They rode a boat down the creek, got stuck on a tree, listened to directions, and avoided catastrophe. It was quite the thrill for the boys who want to do everything the world has to offer. The weather was fantastic. Although, the winter has not wiped out the ticks. One of the activities on Seamus’s marker board is “Name three animals that begin with T” He said, “Ticks, Termites, and Turtles.” Yuck.

We are looking forward to our trip to New Orleans in April! In the hand-me-downs for Seamus, I found an alligator shirt that says New Orleans on it. My friend is getting married, and we are going to ride the streetcar, venture to Cafe du Monde and generally laissez les bons temps rouler.

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