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What I Learned Flying Cross-Country with Diabetes and a Baby.

What I Learned Flying Cross-Country with Diabetes and a Baby. 
A bulleted list, by Kerri Sparling. 

  • Traveling with three humans, three bags, and three carry-ons, plus a stroller and a car seat, isn't easy.
  • It's especially not easy when one of those humans (ahem, lazy Bird) refuses to carry her own luggage. 
  • Nothing is more uncoordinated than me, running through the airport in Baltimore, MD and pushing the stroller.
  • Except if I'm running back to the plane I just got off of, trying to reclaim my laptop (which ended up being left on board by my pure and stupid accident), sweating and trying not to curse but whispering a flurry of eff words under my breath so that the kid doesn't hear me.  That's the most ungraceful I'll ever be.
  • (I won't mention the fact that the TSA agent had to convince the guy on the plane, sitting in the seat I had just vacated, that the laptop bag was indeed mine.  That jerkface tried to score my computer and our iPad.  Thankfully, his jerkface ways were thwarted by the kind TSA person.)
  • I will mention the fact that I was less concerned about replacing the technology and more panicked about how we were going to keep the baby entertained for the next six hours.
  • Requesting that the meeting organizers purchase a plane ticket for Birdy was a godsend, because buckling her car seat right into the plane made me feel like she was more secure.  And it also gave her a place to put her wiggly bottom.  
  • Half-full bottles of glucose meter test strips make the best makeshift rattles, second only to jars of glucose tabs.

    The view is worth the chaos.

  • My daughter will not keep her shoes, or her socks, on her feet for more than fifteen seconds once she is buckled into her car seat.  As soon as she's secured, I hear the riiiiip of the velcro and then two socks end up beaning me in the face.  This action is shortly followed by her laughter, and then her happily sticking her feet into her mouth.
  • (Sidenote:  I wish I was more flexible.)
  • Now, when my meter beeps and shows a result, I get an "Ooooh!" from the baby.  She has no idea what she's reacting to, but she knows I am always looking at the meter with a furrowed brow.
  • The Dexcom receiver has been renamed, though.  "Mommy's 'mote."  Ah yes, my remote control.  Thanks, BirdFace.
  • Hour Four of the Six Hour Plane Trip is the hardest.  That's when everyone is in need of a nap (except the pilots - they usually emerge at this point to take a leak) and you've just run out of Happy Baby snack pouches
  • An iPad is an incredible toddler distraction, but my poor kid hasn't quite nailed the concept.  She'll select an app, start it up, greet the character on screen (usually Elmo, who she points at, smiles, and yells at the top of her lungs, "ELMO!"), and then presses the "home" button, sending the app back into dormant status.  She does this all. the. time. Nothing stays on the screen for more than five seconds because she (almost) immediately banishes it with a click of her thumb.
  • Oddly enough, this frustrates the hell out of me and I actually get mad that she won't stop pressing the button.
  • This is where I remind myself that she's not even two years old, and if she wants to press the "home" button and then try to fling the app icons off the screen with her fingers, more power to her.
  • So long as it keeps her quiet.
  • A blood sugar of 38 mg/dl seems to pale in comparison to dropping the last crayon and hearing it roll to the front of the plane.  Until your husband shows up with a can of orange juice and you're all, "Oh, that was a really good idea.  We also need more crayons."
  • Nothing breeds fear in people's eyes more than seeing you board a plane with a baby in your arms.
  • Unless you also have an Italian grinder, which smells of salami and onions and makes the whole front half of the plane smell like armpit.  (Thanks, Guy in Row 7, for stinking up the joint.)
  • But nothing makes people smile quite as much as seeing a very tiny human bust out dance moves in the middle of the airport.  Without music.  Or grace.  Or much rhythm to speak of.  
  • (And yes, we have it on video.  Coming soon.)


Aw that was too funny! I can't imagine what that's like and fear it so much I'll probably drive everywhere with the kids until they are like 21 lol :)

John used to text me while I was on the plane, waiting to take off, asking if I was sitting next to "Hoagie Guy". You can bring earphones for "Chatty Cathy" but not nose plugs. You know what I'm saying...


Are you telling me you can bring those HappyTot's packets through security? If so, I'll do a happy dance. We are flying with our 18 month old if February and she loves those. I don't yet want to think about how to deal with the stroller, carseat, kid, bags and then inflight entertainment of a kid.

Also, you need the BubCap for your ipad. Prevents home button pushing by weak child thumbs!


We had a Row 7 Guy as well, but ours was carrying an entire pizza box which, based on the smell that wafted throughout the cabin, was a full parmesian cheese pizza topped with onions and garlic.

We were sure to smile at all the young kids, even if they got squealey on the flight. :-)

"kind TSA person" - well there's something you don't see very often!

And looking forward to that video very much! :D

I'm so glad you were able to find all that humor in what must have been a very challenging trip for you and your husband.

I think i've lived 95% of those points. Always fun to fly with kids! But when my first daughter was birdy's age, she used to say "Mmmmm" rather than "Ohhhhh" when i tested (and then licked my finger).

I remember taking my daughter on the plane when she was little. Not the most fun time. The worst was when she was a toddler. The TSA took me over to the side since I had an insulin pump. My daughter wanted to be with me, and couldn't understand why they wouldn't let her near me. Took a while to calm her down when I finally got to rejoin my family.

Seriously. What is it with the kids and the home button on the iPad/iPhone/iPod?

I try to cover it up when they have it, but they still go for it every. single. time. I wish there was a way to lock it off with a side button.

Last time we flew, a woman in our row coughed the entire cross country flight without ever once covering her mouth. Sweet.

And when my oldest was abt Bird's age, his mommy famously made the eff word into Fox. ("No, darling, Mommy just said 'Oh, fox!' ")

I could go on about diabetes and child travel, but this comment would get very long….

So random - we just got back from Baltimore tonight, and I can totally relate to to your post - my almost 17 month old does the exact.same.thing with both my iPhone and iPad and it drives me crazy, too!! I can't wait til she's old enough to actually use the apps for more than 4 seconds...I'll have to check out the bubcap that a few commenters mentioned...

This brought back some memories!

Six years ago, I had a newly dx 2 year old and a 2 month old baby strapped to my chest...we were moving from MD (out of BWI!) to AZ, and my husband had already gone ahead to prepare the way for us...so I was rocking the diaper bag, diabetes bag, double stroller, car seats solo.

Fortunately, my dad...who was our ride to the airport...realized what a predicament I was in, and bought himself a ticket to join me :) THANKS DAD!

He literally put us into the care of my husband, helped load up the car...and then hopped the next flight home.

We haven't been on a plane since.

ahhhhh, memories! This past summer we took the kids on a 12 hour plane ride to Portugal. There is nothing quite like lugging 12 suitcases (6 of them carry-on including a boppy and a hospital grade breast pump), a three year old and an 8 month old while trying to force smarties down your 3 year old's throat to fend off an impending low. I don't think I ever blogged about our experience, I'm not quite sure I ever recovered.

Birdy's iPad operation reminds me of Alaina's tv watching. She loves watching Mickey's Clubhouse, but then she immediately hits the input button on the surround receiver so she turns the sound off. And that's really inconvenient, considering that we lost the remote for said device...

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