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Mom, daughter fly the (mostly) friendly skies

So, after all of our past travel woes and family “vacation” adventures (disasters?), I decided it would be fun to take a mommy-and-me trip with my 3-year-old daughter.

“Oh, rainbows and unicorns! This will be fabulous!”

Our destination: Virginia to visit my cousin. She has a 3-year-old son, a playmate for the Princess. Perfect.

We booked the airplane tickets, packed up and off we went.

I brought books, crayons, enough snacks to last a week, toys, a binky for her and a bottle of wine for me (now in the hands of a giddy TSA agent) to get us through the two flights.

I left my husband and sons standing forlorn at the airport security entrance, “How will they ever survive without us?”

I’m pretty sure I heard them high-fiving and whooping it up from the gate.

As we boarded the plane, I was immediately compelled to apologize to our seat-mate for having a child with me.

Nobody likes a screaming kid, especially right beside you at 30,000 feet. She wasn’t screaming yet, but given past experiences, it was sure to come.

“No problem. I have three kids of my own. I know what it’s like to fly with them,” he said with a smile.

“Oh, thank you (kind, tolerant stranger)!”

So we settled into our seats and relaxed. The screaming never came.

In fact, all went well until our layover in Atlanta. It seems Princess left her filter — and patience — on the previous flight.

“Mom! Mom! MOM!” she yelled while climbing into my lap. “LOOK! That’s Aunt Mary! Mom! Look! Aunt Mary!”

Sitting in the chair beside us, on the receiving end of my daughter’s pointing finger, was … wait for it … a man. Not Aunt Mary, but a man.

I stuffed her back in the stroller, smiled apologetically and left the area reminding my daughter that, “Pointing is not nice and Aunt Mary — a woman — is in Florida.”

We strolled to the ladies room for a break and a change of scenery; scenery that my daughter described in detail, in her “outside voice” from the bathroom stall followed by, “Mom! Come on. Mom, hurry up. Mom, I’m opening the door …”

We soon boarded the second flight and again were seated three-across. The man sitting with us this time was less-than-thrilled to be seated with a kid.

He sighed and gave us The Look.

You know, the “Oh, great. A kid. I’d rather sit in the cargo hold” look.

“Mom!” Princess said again with a pointing finger, “Who’s that? I don’t like him. Where is the nice man?”

Motherhood 101: When all else fails, use a binky.

I did. And so did my daughter.

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