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.