1. Before your flight, encourage your toddler to burn some energy. At Southwest gates, special poles to organize boarding groups are perfect for an impromptu obstacle course. Pat yourself on the back for being a perfect, fun, resourceful parent, considerate of the other flyers who will appreciate a tuckered-out, calm toddler once the plane takes off. But try not to be too smug while strangers smile at your bumbling angel being adorable.
2. Pick up toddler to return to your gate for prompt boarding.
3. Try not to make eye contact with fellow travelers as your toddler vomits.all.over.you. They JUST saw you making your child do sprints after feeding them french fries and a milk shake. They have no sympathy and do not want to engage.
4. Tell partner to buy two new shirts at the gift shop. $30 polyester blends with generic city logos are always a nice keepsake. Use the plastic bag from the store for hazmat containment. T
5. Don’t worry about your daughter wearing only a diaper and child’s size t-shirt in February. You can cover her with your pashmina, which survived the vomit.
6. While boarding the plane, don’t make eye contact with those already seated on the plane. See # 3. Also, you have to sit down somewhere, its not personal. Eye contact will only compromise your ideal seat choice for fear of others’ opinions of you.
7. Tell your seat mate that your child is not wearing pants because they “spilled.” If the fellow passenger witnessed the vomit, hopefully this will provide a more pleasant fiction for them to cling- the chubby hand pawing at their magazine is clean and fresh in this fantasy. If they did not witness the vomit, this cover kindly prevents your neighbor imagining much more disturbing truths (e.g that there are families among us who don’t believe in pants).