Flying with Kids

We just took a super long flight. Well, technically it was one relatively short flight followed by an overnight flight.

You know when you get on an airplane and you see that baby and you think "aw, cute baby! Hope she doesn't scream during the flight." Come on, I know you've had that thought. I have too. And I admit - my baby was that baby on both of our flights. 

Flying with kids is hard. We didn't buy a seat for my littlest one because we don't have to until she is 2 and frankly, flying is really expensive, whether you use miles or dollars so why buy a fifth seat if you don't have to? Anyway, as my baby was arching her back, flailing and screaming at the top of her lungs (she happens to have a fantastic set of pipes and everyone in the nearest 700 rows could hear her) I thought, well, I'm trying my best and this sucks for everyone including me. She's having a tough day and while this may be disruptive to others, I would certainly change it if I could! I am certain that the woman sitting next to my eldest daughter with her fingers in her ears did not share my calm mindset. 

Anyway, I digress. When we awoke from flight #2 in the morning after a fitful night, breakfast had been placed on our trays. Before I could even blink, my son had opened a little container of what masquerades as jam and began licking it and scooping it out with his fingers. Ugh. I asked him if he licks jam like this at home. No, he said, he doesn't. I'm not sure what would compel him to do it on the flight but it's a tricky situation as a parent. 


I didn't want to shame him for what he had done but I did want to make it clear that I was not okay with licking red jam-ish substance made with four types of added sugar including high fructose corn syrup. Though he was disappointed, I simply told him that's not the kind of jam we eat and threw out the package. I'd like to say that I don't change the way I feed my kids while we are on vacation, but I don't take a hard line on it with everything and I wonder if that sends a mixed message. 

I gave the green light for my son and older daughter to drink cran-apple juice when the beverage cart came around, and that's not typical for us. Is throwing out that jam but allowing the sugared beverage controversial? I don't know but I'm guessing yes. I suppose we all draw lines in the sand in various places.

What are your go-to strategies for long flights with kids? Do you adopt the "whatever, it's vacation" strategy? Or do you prefer the "this is how we eat as a family, and it doesn't include HFCS and other crap" approach? Or are you like me and still trying to come to terms with some of the grey area?