Stuff that happens when flying with kids

Posted by Johnny W. on

Crying Toddler on airplane

A third way into our flight from LA to Tokyo, I was jolted awake from Ashley's piercing scream-cry. That kind of cry from her meant that she just had a nightmare, or was drowning in a pair of overly soiled diapers.

After getting my bearings straight, I looked down and saw my 2.5 year old sitting up in her sleeping bag on the airplane floor, hair wet from tears, and looking like a mess. 

I immediately picked her up, consoling her and checking for an overly-spongy diaper. Yup, this diaper was over capacity - should have changed it prior her sleep Johnny, like any good parent would have. Ugh.

Normally I'd change her diaper at our seat, but as it was lights out/sleep time on the plane, with her crying so loudly, I opted for the nearest bathroom. I checked on my older 5 year old daughter Kylie, saw she was soundly asleep, and rushed off with Ashley and diaper bag in hand (always w/in arms reach for these emergencies!).

Once in there, I got to work, humming a tune to calm her down, laid her down on the small changing table, one hand always on her keeping her from rolling off. With clean, dry diapers back on in what felt like the speediness of the F1 Racing pitstop crew, she was all smiles now and making happy noises when suddenly a knock:

"Hello, excuse me, are you seated in row 32A and have a daughter named Kylie?"

OH SHIT I thought to myself.

I stared at the door in disbelief, almost wanting to stay hidden inside. I finally opened the door, and stared at the well-dressed stewardess in disbelief.

Behind me was a half-naked happy girl, sitting on the changing table down with soiled diaper and strewn diaper bag.

"I'm sorry to bother you sir. Your daughter is crying and is asking for you" she said with an awkward smile that almost felt to me like she was thinking "you are way out of your league to be flying with two kids".

I imagined how chaotic this all seemed to the stewardess. Being a single dad and flying with toddlers, as much as I try to ignore it, you certainly get more looks from others wondering when this the guy will just fall apart, or at least it feels that way. And at this moment, the stewardess was witnessing the behind-the-scenes fragility of my journey. :) 

When I got back to our seat, another stewardess was keeping Kylie company and they seemed to be getting along, which was a big relief. I thanked the ladies, and gave Kylie a cheerful greeting. She was smiling and in a good mood. Since Kylie looked fine, I looked at the ladies again, and asked them for a beer, and two milks.

If you have any stories to tell, I'd love to hear it. Please email me at and I'd be happy to share it with our audience.

Thanks for reading.

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