To Benadryl or not to Benadryl, that is the question

So I finally bit the bullet and decided to do it.

We are taking the kids half-way around the world to see my family in Israel. 24 hours travel time, three different planes, airplane food, cramped quarters, kids asking “Are we there yet?” after 20 minutes – I must be crazy. Yet my parents did it with me and my sister two times a year from the time I was 6 weeks old. If they did it, I can do it, right?

Here’s the thing – after 30-some years, my mother let it slip over Christmas that she used to drug me and my sister with Benadryl to make us sleep. I have heard of parents doing this before, and it has never really sat right with me – call me crazy, but the thought of drugging my own  children kind of seems wrong. And now I find out that my mom used to do it to me! Well, no wonder she was able to take us to Israel twice a year for our entire childhood – we slept the whole damn plane ride! (I have heard there is a homeopathic medication that can be used to make children sleep. I might look into that. Or whiskey.)

But my mom did have another bag of non-medicating tricks up her sleeve that I am definitely going to borrow. I vividly remember the beige carry-on duffel bag that came with us on every trip to Israel. Inside were a bunch of wrapped presents, and every hour that we were good, we got to open one up. For my kids, I am thinking of buying just little stuff like packs of gum, mints, pencils, etc.,  anything that can be used as bribery and occupy them, even if for just a few minutes. A trip to the Dollar Store is definitely in my near future.

I used to go to Israel every year, but once I got married and started popping out the kids, that came to an end. Now it’s been over 6 years since my last visit. I decided that now’s the time for several reasons – my kids are at a good age and are relatively good on the plane, i.e. they can sit still for long periods of time, I will be 4 months pregnant and not that huge, and we need to do this before the baby comes or it will be another three years before I even consider going, plus then we will have to pay for another seat, which is not cheap.

So we’re doing it. Minds made up. Tickets purchased. Shitting in the pants begun.

Don’t tell my family in Israel, but one of the things I’m most excited about is that we are going to stop in Ireland on the way there for 4 days, just to break things up. Why Ireland, you ask? For one, I have never been there, although Siig has. He also still has family there, who his mother is in touch with (his grandfather was Irish). So I guess I am making this trip an ancestral pilgrimage of sorts. Time for the kids to get in touch with their roots. But truthfully, I just felt for some unknown reason that Dublin would be a good place to travel with kids. It might be cold as hell, but at least we will be able to communicate. And Siig will have lots of Guinness to keep him happy.

Any travel-with-kids tips greatly appreciated. Winner of the best advice will receive a gift-wrapped pack of Trident chewing gum, courtesy of the Reno Dollar Store.


10 thoughts on “To Benadryl or not to Benadryl, that is the question

  1. I have one of those hand held leapster games Kaiden can borrow for the plain ride. We don’t have to travel nearly as far as you to visit grandparents (only 3 hours) but it works for my 5 year old. :o)


  2. Hello, a lurker here. I soooo use the Benadryl on my 6 & 7 year olds. Shhhhh, ever since they were young. We have since moved on to benign Melatonin. Love both, but for plane trip I suggest the mighty B. Oh, and I too am a troubled sleeper. Ambien + Me = one freaky night. Not good mojo. I am a true fan of the B.

    P.s. I have a 6 month old that thankfully sleeps pretty well throughout the night (read to mean eats 3 times but goes back to sleep). Hoping your new little one will help you out when he/she arrives.

    • Thanks for stopping by! Maybe, just maybe, I’ll carry an emergency pack of Benadryl on our flight – in case of total desperation.

  3. Bring your iPod and the portable DVD player. My kids thought the walkman (dating myself here) was magic. Also, pack the Benedryl – you may change your mind after the first 10 hours. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many principles I’ve violated since having kids.

  4. hi m. so we have been to france every year with sylly since he was born. so sorry if i go on and on, but i am just brimming over with advice! 😉 ……overall it goes well with just the dime-store gifts like your mom doled out (i’ve never tried wrapping them, an extra two minutes of bliss! gonna do that next time!!) . next best things are dvd, sticker books, wipe off coloring/letter boards and those paint with water booklets. and, i have even resorted to play-dough though you might want to keep that on the down-low. (i swear the sticker books were a hit! and obviously the dvd eats the most chunk of time. if it were me, i’d get one for each no sharing and no limits, whooo hooo 12 hours of tv!) with all of that plus the ten meals/snacks they serve, there should be plenty of entertainment. however…beware the b! we tried it one desperate moment and i swear it backfired! made him all hopped up and we were on our last leg from la to sf on a very wee plane. all i can say is it was a nightmare!! i would go for something more tepid like tylenol or advil. seems to take the edge off. i also would put sylly in his pjs and do some of the same bed time rituals we do at home when it was time to hunker down. i am sorry you are pregnant, because if all else fails you just drink all that they offer, even the after dinner port/brandy/tequilla…whatever. suddenly you don’t care that your kids are screaming up and down the aisles! happy travels! when are you going?

    • My parents also used to do the PJs thing with us on planes. Good reminder, I think I will do that too. I might not be able to enjoy some tequila, but I don’t think one glass of wine will hurt if I get desperate!

  5. My husband has the affliction that anything marked “may cause drowsiness” will hop him up and he can’t sleep for three days. I have been scared to give it to the kids, even though those most needing it aren’t bio but just the thought of them not sleeping for three days scares me.

    Our only complaint on our last plain trip was needing to drink more, so I guess after security stock up on Mtn Dew or something. lol

  6. Just an FYI–my pediatrician told me that sometimes Benadryl can do the opposite effect. We decided to try it with Dylan a couple of years ago to go to CA and it was the worst experience of my life. It truly had the opposite effect on Dylan…just warning you!

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