October 7 2008 by Amy Graff
Rule #1: Never let a child pack his own carry-on.
I don't know what I was thinking when I allowed my 4-year-old son, Dante, to help me pack for our trip to Philadelphia. I divvied up the work, giving myself the job to pack the clothes and him the task to fill his carry-on bag.
While I was carefully putting together outfits for cold and hot weather and counting pairs of socks, he dumped his toy chest into his Scooby Doo rolling suitcase. Smurfs, Matchbox cars, random puzzle pieces--Dante mixed everything together.
"You can't bring all of those tiny pieces because they'll get lost on the plane!" I told him. Dante threw a fit as I removed everything he had packed from his carry-on.
Once he calmed down, I helped him make wise selections: lightweight paperback books, a magnetic puzzle, a coloring book and crayons. An hour and a half later his Scooby Doo bag was zipped up and ready to go. Next time, I'm packing the carry-on after he goes to bed.
Rule #2: Avoid flights at ungodly hours.
When the alarm clock rang at 4 a.m., I felt as if I was woken from the dead. Everything in my body ached, and all I could think was, "Why did I book such an early flight?"
Dante's reaction to the early wake-up was even worse. I turned on the lights in his room. He remained asleep. "Dante! Dante! Dante!" He didn't respond. I turned on the iPod. Still asleep. I covered his face in kisses. "Go away!" he said.
I love early flights because they get you to your destination at a decent hour, but my new rule of thumb is to never book a flight that requires getting up at 4 a.m.
To be continued...