Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Travel With Kids in 2011

I will say that the airlines do make travelling with children as easy as they can. What I am going to share is my personal experience and may or may not be what you experience at the airport. None-the-less these are things that I wish someone would have told me before I flew!

You can take as much in the way of solid food as you want so load up on goldfish and any other solid food snacks that you want.

You cannot take liquids unless you have a baby who is breastfeeding or getting formula. If your baby is less than a year old then the TSA are very nice and allow you to take whatever the baby needs in the way of breast milk, formula and baby food.

You can transport a breast pump but not breast milk unless the baby is present when you are traveling.

Don’t forget to take the car seats that you will need when you arrive at your destination. I have a special bag to put them in and it has been awesome. The airlines are not supposed to charge you for checking-in car seats which is something I wish I knew when we flew out of Greensboro on Delta in October. The person checking us in knew that they were car seats and sadly she charged us the fee anyway. On our way back at the curbside check-in in Dallas the man who worked with us made sure that we did not get charged.

Take an unbrella stroller! It is easy to stowe on board an airplane and well worth having it!

Scented dirty diaper bags are a life saver if you are staying in close quarters with other people and have a baby in diapers.

This portable pack-n-play type “Phil and Teds” has really been very useful for us over the years since it folds up much smaller than the other pack-n- plays and weighs next to nothing.

Buy one of these fold-up toilet seats and put it in your carry-on bag. You will be glad you did if you have a little one who is independent in toileting!

I also found a nice article containing tips for what to take for kids to snack on while you travel so you may want to check this blog out. There is a lot of other helpful information about flying with kids on this site as well.

You are planning to drive instead of fly?  If that is the case some will tell you to make sure there is a way for the kiddos to watch some TV.  If your car does not have a DVD player in it you can always bring a laptop and slide a movie into it.  Personally, I am old fashioned and still make my kids play games and talk to me.  When that gets old they LOVE their Leap Frog Tag Readers which I can't recommend highly enough.  Will say though that if you have more than one child and each one has their own reader I would recommend headphones.  I also have a friend, Rebecca Subbiah, who has written "101 Tips For Traveling With Children" which is a cute little handbook that you can get as an ebook for around 3 bucks.  It is money well spent.

The last thing I will say is relax! The lines will be long, there will be a lot of people and conditions will be right to make for a stressful time but keep your cool. Your family will thank you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Peace Table in Sight!

My girls are sweet girls.  I know we all think our kids are sweet but mine truly are.  They are almost 4 and 5 and would never hurt a fly (other than one another, of course).  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say they were angles but they are nice to people and in return they expect people to be nice to them.  And that my friends, is a whole different story.

My babies attend The Montessori School in Clemmons, NC and at the wonderful institution, among other things, the children learn “conflict resolution.”  It is wonderful.  Sally stepped on my art work and instead of hitting her, stepping on her art work or pouting the rest of the day and refusing to talk to Sally I am going to invite her to the peace table.  At the peace table I am going to explain what I am upset about, Sally is going to apologize or defend herself, we will “declare peace” and get on with it as friends.  Most adults could use a lesson in conflict resolution but I digress.  So the problem comes when my little, “peaceful” ones encounter another little not-so-peaceful one.

So, we were at Chick-fil-a on a Friday night having dinner.   The girls were shoveling food into their mouths with the ultimate goal of getting to that playground before it was time to go.  At the exact moment the last chicken nugget went into my older daughter’s mouth out came the words (mouth full) “mommy can we go now?”  I let her go ahead while I cleaned up; after all I could see her thru the window. 

As soon and my daughter entered the play area I saw a little, very different acting boy talking to her.  Whatever he said made her hang her head in sadness.  Infuriated I went into the play area and asked what happened.  She told me, tears flowing, that he called her a “stupid lady.”  Seriously.  I could not make this up.  “Stupid lady,” yeah.  Anyway, she was upset and there was no peace table in sight.  Her little sister told her to punch (she is all talk and very sensitive about her older sister) him because she was infuriated as well.  I struggled to figure out what to advise her to do but we got cleaned up and I sat there while she played and the little hoodlum whose father looked completely helpless left.

Over the next few days I spoke with some of my teacher friends who gave me some advice.  These were different teachers with different backgrounds but all know my girls from an educational setting.  There was an overwhelming consensus about how I should have my girls handle such a situations in the future.  You see, I wanted to tell her to walk away and just not care what the little shit said but I was told that if I do that then she will eventually get bullied because this is only the start of her interactions with such ill mannered children.  The teachers told me that I should have her stick up for herself.  If someone says something she does not like and that is rude she should respond with firm words.  Something like “do NOT speak to me that way,” or “get away from me” is completely appropriate.  I am the type of person who truly does not care one bit what people think of or say about me and that has served me well.  I was trying to make my girls the same way so that they can just walk away without hurt feelings.  The fact is that you can have both, a child who stands up for themselves AND one who is not hurt by what people think!  Who'd have thought?!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

“What is God?” by Etan Boritzer – a book review

My only qualification for writing this review is that I am a mother who believes in “God” (or whatever you call the force that animates the world) and who does not teach my children to subscribe to a certain group of religious practices.  I was raised Muslim and my husband was raised in the Christian faith.  As is typical in most marriages I am the one who encourages spiritual practices with my children.  The way we pray is less the focus of this review than is the fact that it is considered unconventional to raise children outside of a strict religious pattern.  This makes it very uncommon to find such a great supporting piece of literature.

The book “What is God?” by Etan Boritzer is an outstanding way to teach children about “God” in as nondenominational, unbiased and non-threatening a way possible.  This is the perfect find for a parent who believes that all religions are right and that they are really all pretty similar.  If you want to teach your children to be accepting and understanding of all religions and that no religion is wrong as all of them teach love, peace, kindness and the like then you must get your hands on this book!  Awesome job Etan!