- Sit by other people who have young children. Firstly, this act makes it less likely those sitting nearby will glare/sigh/resent the noise and activity levels of my own child. Secondly, kids tend to entertain each other, often swapping toys (making our own selection of toys last much longer before boredom sets in) and the socializing offers learning opportunities, which makes me have an attitude of cherishing the time, rather than saying, "oh, I wish it was over already."
- Bring a few treats. Normally I recoil from anything akin to "bribery," but giving treats at well-planned moments seems different to me. For example, I knew there was a good chance Lo Lo would protest at least one of our ascensions because there were THREE of them. So I had three packs of fruit snacks. I gave him a pack of fruit snacks as we waited to board, telling him, "We will open it when we are in the air." He kept chewing on the plastic wrapper, begging me to let him eat the fruit snacks, but I just kept reminding him, "when we are in the air you can eat them." That way, he was excited to be in the air again instead of saying something like, "NOOO, I cannot handle another few hours cramped in this little seat!" Also, I had a dum-dum sucker in my purse reserved to avert a tantrum if one threatened to erupt at a particularly bad time. It came in handy, and that's all I'll say about that. =)
- Remember others are watching. I was able to keep calm and cheerful with my child because Jerry and I had a good scripture study that morning that reminded me to be a good example for others. In contrast, I witnessed a few totally irrational parents on this trip, mostly mothers who were traveling with children and had obviously been pushed to their limits. One mom snapped at her infant (the baby looked about 7-9 months of age), "Give me a break! Cut it out! I mean it!" I have no idea what the baby was doing--nothing that was obviously "bad behavior" but I felt sorry for her. She probably had no comprehension of why her mom was yelling at her. Nor was the yelling likely to help the situation. Anyway, on to more happy topics.
When we got to my parent's house, there were a couple deer in the garden. Lo was thrilled to walk close to them. Then we spotted a couple blue-belly lizards, and I had a lot of memories come back about catching them as a kid. My cousin Drew was the best lizard-catcher. I tended to grab too slow and just end up with the lizard's tail in my hand (these lizards would make their tails drop off as an escape strategy). The apricot scent was heavy and ripe in the air--Lo plucked an apricot warm from a tree branch and bit it tentatively. My poor city-boy child has no experience eating fruits of the garden. I am glad to have grown up in the beautiful foothills where Nature was such an accessible joy. It is good to be home. Jerry will soon join us--stay tuned for the tales to come.