In preparation for this two week trip to Switzerland, not only did I spend two months making Eli's busy book, but I scoured the internet looking for ideas to keep him occupied on the plane ride (which is the only part I'm really nervous about). Here are some that we will be utilizing:
1. DVD player - This was one of the most recommended activities, but I think it's going to be my last resort. We'll have our laptop and some old school headphones for Eli but I am hoping to use other methods first.
2. New toys - Thanks to my garage-sale-loving mother-in-law, we got a bunch of new little toys to bring out every so often. I plan to wrap at least some of them up for him to unwrap. Included are cars, balls, slinkies, magnets in a cute little lunch box, Rubix cubes, and others that won't be a loss if they are left behind on the plane or train. I also am going to pack a cheap calculator so he can press buttons and pretend to have a phone without any noises that could bother other passengers.
3. Snacks - I'm assuming that Elijah will dislike airplane food as much as the rest of us, so I will be packing plenty of snacks. I got some great suggestions from friends on Facebook, even though I'm not using them all. What I will have is animal crackers, cheese sticks, teddy grahams, dried cranberries, fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, goldfish, and dark chocolate covered raisins. Whatever he doesn't eat, I'm sure Eric or I will. I also noticed that they make squeezable applesauce now which I would have bought but I'm sure it would turn out to be a big mess with a 17 month old. But the packets are only 3.2 oz each so you could throw them in your quart fluid bag (the limit is 3.4 oz or 100 mL).
4. Books - This is a given in our family. Elijah has a few favorites that he can look at over and over again so they'll be a staple.
5. Crayons - He's not much into coloring yet, but Eli loves to take crayons out and put them back. I'll probably put a few in a plastic baggie (which he also loves) and take a small notepad in case he gets creative.
6. Sleeping - Eric can't sleep on a plane at all, while I can usually catch at least a few z's. We're both hoping Eli leans towards my tendency here, but just in case we'll be bringing most of his crib contents with us (only half kidding). We'll have either his teddy or his stuffed tiger (with the other being checked through in our luggage), his nuks (the only time he uses them is sleeping but then he needs one in his mouth and at least one in his hands), and his blanket. I'm prepared to hold him as long as he'll stay asleep, so I'll have my trusty iPod loaded with audiobooks just in case I can't sleep.
7. Benadryl - This is a pretty controversial option, but one I'm going to keep in my back pocket. Our doctor said it wouldn't be horrible and we did a test run to make sure it doesn't make him hyper. It calms him down quite well and helps him sleep. I'm not going to dose him every 4 hours, but I think it's a good idea to take it along. (Plus he's still getting over a cold so it will probably help the runny nose and coughing.)
8. Charming the crowd - This isn't so much a time-occupier as a sanity-saver. Several people suggested having your child walk around the waiting area and being cute so if they get whiny on the plane, the other passengers are more apt to sympathize instead of being annoyed. As Elijah is naturally charming, I doubt this will be a problem.
And, of course, here are the requisite cute pictures:
He is always carrying around his footballs now
Go Pack Go!
Helping Dad sweep out the garage
Just being cute