Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Activities and Ideas to entertain toddlers during plan trips

Since my last blog, we visited the lovely state of North Carolina.  Just in case you where wondering if I was  crazy enough to bring our now 20 month "Chickpea" in tow, the answer is YES.  Now I have to admit the easy thing to do was to just call up Nana and Popi (aka the Grandparents) in South Florida, and tell them that Chickpea was coming for a visit, while the hubby and I ventured off to North Carolina.  No, not me, I must love the pain as they say.  Rather, I think I love the challenge of trying to successfully travel with a toddler.

Now, I may love a challenge, but this momma was not raised by a fool, so I did some homework to find some great ideas to entertain Chickpea during the flight (I guess I still have that fear of being asked to parachute out of a plane mid flight with my 20 month old because of her disruptive behavior, you think they have therapy that can help me with this).  So I turned to my trusted laptop and fired up the internet search engine.

So first I would like to give credit where it is due, thank you to Debbie at and the wonderful ideas she shared on entertaining our "little one's" during plane trips.  So in true David Letterman fashion here is her TOP 10 List of ideas.

1. Pipe cleaners- easy to pack, should not be a problem with securty and keep little hands and minds occupied (and quiet too!)

2. Books- small cardboard sytle books are great.  They are small and durable, just be sure to pick some that have fun bright illustrations to keep toddlers attention ( I personally recommend Sandra Boyton, her books

3.MP3 Players- be sure to download some kid friendly tunes (Unless your little one's are like Chickpea and love jam to Lady Gaga)

4.Washable crayons and a small spiral binder- easy to pack, no security issues, and encourages endless creativity

5. Catalogs/ magazines- especially ones that have pictures of babies and toddlers (Chickpea is a personal fan of Pottery Barn Kids, and Parenting magazine)

6. Scarves/ Pashminas- great for games of Peek-a-boo

7. Empty water bottle- kids love to screw and unscrew the caps, airline staff should be happy to share and empty bottle if you dont' have one (Caution: small caps can become a choking hazard be sure to watch your kids closely with this one)

8. Seatbelts- kids can practice fastening and unfastening the seatbelts, as well as with playing with zippers, buttons or snaps on a jacket or small carry-on bag.

9. Finger Rhymes-  Where is Thumpkin? Anyone (FYI, there is actually a book Finger Rhymes by Marc Brown)

10. Last but not least for when you are truely desperate. Barf Bag Puppets (Fun for the whole family)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So they weren't just making this stuff up.

So this past weekend we found ourselves on the road again. Our daughter, Chickpea seems to have quite socail calendar at the ripe age of 19 months, and was invited to a birthday party in St. Pete. So there we where, getting ready Saturday morning (and might I add the coldest morning Orlando had seen in a long time). So after getting everything together and checking for a second and third time, me, hubby and Chickpea found ourselves St. Pete bound for cake, ice cream, fun and friends.

At least that what I thought. It had to be only about 20 minutes into the drive, and Chickpea was not having it as she starting to buck in her car seat like a prized rodeo bronco. I had to think fast as to how I was going to remedy a potentially painful drive to St. Pete. After trying literally everything in my bag of tricks with no results. I found myself beginning to fantasize about Edward Cullen (for all you Twilight moms), and the perfect dirty martini, and then it came to me. A solution that is.

Something so simple(I thought this couldn't possible work), but I was desperate so what the hell. So you are probably wondering what is this simple miracle that I was praying would work. No, not a large dose on Benadryl, but rather warm milk. Now don't tell me that your mother or grandmother never offered this remedy to you as a child, or even as an adult when you just simply could not relax or worse fall asleep.

So I gave it a try, and hooked Chickpea up with a sippy cup of warm milk. And you know what? IT WORKED!!! Shortly thereafter Chickpea calmed down and drifted off to sleep for the rest of drive to St. Pete. So just in case you missed the tip, here it is again. WARM MILK WORKS!

And just in case you are like myself, and have to know why or how something works here it goes. It turns out that warm formula, breastmilk and cows milk all contain an amino acid called Tryptophan (pronounced Trip-toe-fan) that aides in relaxation and sleep. In addition Tryptophan is a precursor to nuerochemicals like, serotonin and melatonin which are important for sleep. So the next time you have a little one that is having trouble calming down or sleeping during your next trip give the old standard a try (aka. warm milk )and see if it works for you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There has got to be a better way.

This all started after reading an article regarding screaming kids and airplanes. I'll begin with a little background on myself. My name is Anika, I am a thirty-something year old married to a forty-something year old, and together after getting married thought it would be wonderful to have a baby. So we did, and I have to admit she is a lovely little girl who we affectionately nicknamed Chickpea (don't ask me why it just seemed cute at the time, and it stuck). My husband and I have many loves that we share, one of which is traveling. We promised ourselves that even with a small child in our lives we would continue what we loved so much (traveling that is).

So back to this article. I am reading this woman's perspective regarding her experience on an airplane where and woman and her 2-year old son where literally booted off the flight because of her son's disruptive behavior. The author goes on to share her disgust and frustration of misbehaved children on airplanes. She goes on to state, "These children aren't just bothering us; they are stealing from us. They are stealing our attention, our time and our peace of mind". Now I have to come clean, back in the day when I worked for corporate America, and was required to do extensive travel, and did not have children I would have shared the same sentiment. But now the situation has changed, and I do have a small child.

While I don't share the same extreme point of view of the author, I do feel that there has got to be a better way that families with small children can continue to travel in peace, and without having people roll there eyes as they board airplanes, or better yet being asked to get off a plane all together. So the idea of this blog was conceived (for lack of better words). It is my goal to share personal travel experiences with Chickpea, as well as to research and share other practical/ insightful advice to make traveling easier for everyone (even those that cringe at the site of a child boarding "their" aircraft).

So here it goes. Helpful tip #1: Children are comforted by familiarity. Keep this in mind the next time you are planning a trip that requires you to take a plane. I understand that most airline policies allow you to hold your small child on your lap free of charge until the age of 2. While during these tough economic times this seems like the best option. DON'T DO IT. Bite the bullet, and purchase a seat for your little one. On the day of your flight bring your child's car seat. Hopefully by having the car seat this should help your child understand that like in a car he or she can't scream and run around. The familiarity of your child's car seat coupled with an old familiar lovey (aka stuffed animal, pacifier, etc.) should work like a charm. In addition it leaves you some space of your own, rather than having a cranky child on your lap the entire trip.

As I sign off, I just ask that we all consider that at one point in time we where all that small child having a meltdown, maybe not on an airplane, but maybe in a restaurant, a grocery store, or at the mall. So the next time you find yourself getting angry and frustrated, stop and think what is worse than being on a plane with a child having a full thermonuclear meltdown? I'll tell you with personal experience, it is being the parent of that child.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby it's Cold Outside...

Baby it's cold out side, but with On the Fly Bottle Warmer your baby and/or toddler can have the perfect warm bottle within minutes, anywhere at anytime. Thanks On the Fly, for making life with baby on the go that much easier. Order yours today at