a woman sitting in a row of seats on a plane looks nervous and embarrassed as two other people glare at her and look annoyed

We Were Those People

Last updated: July 2022

You know those people you hope not to sit in close proximity to in planes? My daughters and I were those people.

Traveling with kids, 1 of whom has restless legs syndrome

I had to travel with my kids last week, and before the trip, I had the biggest panic attack. I hadn't travelled with my older daughter since she was about 2, and now, not only was I about to travel with 2 young kids alone, but 1 also has restless legs syndrome.

However, this trip was unavoidable, so I didn't have a choice. I spent a month prior researching and making sure I packed everything that would make this trip as seamless as possible. I also truly hoped Lady Luck would be on my side.

My youngest had the biggest meltdown I'd ever seen

We got to the airport quite early because I thoroughly detest tardiness. It was an early flight and my kids were still quite sleepy when we went through airport security, and as soon as we sat down in front of our boarding gate, they both dozed off. They slept until it was time to board, so I woke them up — and that, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of my woes.

My younger one never walks; she runs through everything and everywhere, so I kept saying "Excuse me" and "I'm sorry" until we sat down.

Then it was time for takeoff. This child screamed as the plane lifted into the sky and had the biggest meltdown I'd ever seen; then she eventually calmed down. For about 10 minutes, everything was quiet, and I said a short prayer of thanks. I prayed too soon!

My daughter cried because she said her legs 'won't let her rest'

My older daughter started moving her legs, angering the lady seated in front of her. I kept apologizing over and over again. Then I asked her to walk around the plane a little, but she kept going into the cabin crew space where she shouldn't be. Then she decided to pee a million times. Then she asked if she could jump her rope, IN A PLANE!

She started crying about how her legs "won't let her rest" and she really needed to jump. At this point, my own legs had started acting up and nearly all the passengers were now looking at us. I frankly thought I was going to die of embarrassment.

Being open about our restless legs syndrome helped

I went up to the cabin crew to offer some explanation. I let them know we had a condition called restless legs syndrome, and it makes it a bit difficult to sit still, and it was even worse for my daughter as she's getting to know that there is something going on with her legs.

On our way back to our seat, a lady stopped us and told me she had overheard my conversation. Turns out her husband and daughter also have restless legs syndrome. She was travelling with her son and granddaughter and asked if I wanted to exchange seats. They had the bulkhead seats and didn't mind letting us have it.

I didn't even realize when tears fell from my eyes; at that point I was so tired and frustrated and Lady Luck smiled on me at last.

Traveling isn't easy, especially with a child who has RLS

The rest of the trip was relatively smooth. We had ample space to move around and my daughter even jumped without getting in other people's way.

My younger one pulled a hair or 2, but thankfully the couple thought she was cute, so no harm, no foul.

Suffice to say, travelling with RLS is no walk in the park, but travelling with a child who has RLS, WHEW!

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