Leaving on a jet plane

Sam the Anti-Preemie and Irene

Let’s hope they stay this happy on the flight!

Or three…

Next week, the whole clan (grandparents included) are heading out on a grand South American adventure. The trip should be fantastic- as we will get to show Sam off to a multitude of friends and family. For Irene, it will be a great opportunity to speak Spanish as she prepares to start her new bilingual school in the fall. For the rest of us, we will get to eat wonderful food and drink as many pisco sours as our livers will allow while spending time with wonderful people we do not get to see often enough. 

It all sounds so great. Until you realize that to make this trip happen we will have to fly… A lot… With a teenager trapped in a seven year-old’s body and a two and a half year old who has never flown and HATES to be restrained. 

I am so worried about this trip, I have not able to sleep through the night for weeks!  

Irene is a seasoned traveler. She will be fine. Sam, on the other hand, has the hallmarks of a terrible traveler. 

And it’s not like this is a simple and easy flight. In fact, it will be a total of three planes spread out over a day an a half. First, Sam and I are flying by ourselves (gulp) from Oakland to LA. We will meet up with the rest of the crew (who are driving to LA) and have a mini family reunion with my Grandfather.

The next day, all of us head to LAX to start the grand adventure. First we fly for 6.5 hours to Panama City… In a 737… Three across.  Then we get an hour and a half to hang out in the Panama City airport before getting on our next 6.5 hour flight to Santiago. Again three across on a 737… For an overnight flight. Did I mention there were no meals or snacks on any of this flights?

I have thought about making Sam a shirt that says “I have autism, be patient” in both English and Spanish… But I haven’t gotten organized enough to do it. 

When I think about these flights, I  break out in a cold sweet. I am convinced that Sam will scream and fuss the entire time. He hates being restrained. He hates headphones. He hates tv and movies (that don’t feature him or his best friend). There is no reasoning with him when he is upset. And, when he gets screaming all you can do is wait it out. 

Somehow, I don’t think the other passengers will appreciate him the way I do. 

Of course, we have looked at what we can do to keep him calm. I asked his herbalist for suggestions… She told us to test him on Benadryl. In guess there are no homeopathic options for a toddler. 

What ideas do you have?  Should I put him in his car seat or check the car seat and opt for the space?

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  1. Jenny Holbrook says:

    Unless he LOVES his car seat, check it. I bought lots of little things to keep Sloan busy. Tactile stuff from the learning store, all travel sized. Lots of snacks. Lollipops or what ever is his currency to make him behave during take off and landing (that was the hardest part). New books to read. A wrapped present to open if he is into that. A toy airplane before the event so you can talk about it a lot. Earplugs for all your fellow passengers just in case. The iPad, many apps on there for autistic kids! It is hard, but worth it. Good luck!

  2. Yikes, that definitely sounds like you’ll have your hands full. Honestly, if what he likes to see is himself, can you take a bunch of pictures of him? (I know, I know, that’s about 15 minutes of entertainment.) Good luck! And HAVE FUN! (Oh, and take notes. Sounds like great blog fodder.)

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