On my flight to Charlotte Monday afternoon, I was seated next to a couple with a little boy who had just had his first birthday. He was awfully cute. He looked exactly like Ashton Kutcher must have looked as a baby. Considering he'd been cooped up on various planes and airports most of the day, he was handling the trip pretty well -- but was understandably restless and just a tad bit fussy. His young parents, who called him Gavin, were frantically trying to entertain him for the last leg of what they told me had been an all-day journey. And for the most part, they were pretty successful. I doubt anyone besides me was even aware there was such a young child on board.
I tend not to chat with fellow passengers all that much when I travel, so I was knitting and listening to my iPod during the flight. (I've just discovered the KnitPicks podcasts. What fun!) Eventually, the baby became interested in my iPod. His poor parents had already distracted him with every other gadget they had with them, and I told them I certainly didn't mind if some chubby little hands wanted to play with my iPod for a little bit. There was literally nothing he could hurt on it, and nothing that could hurt him. He seemed to have fun playing and watching the images change rapidly in response to his patting and rubbing on the touchscreen. And he very successfully entertained himself for the rest of the flight. I wished his exhausted parents the best and went on my merry way.
About 2 o'clock the next morning, I jumped awake in my hotel room to the sound of Toby Keith blaring "How Do You Like Me Now?" I stumbled groggily out of bed and lunged toward the sound, rummaging through a pile of travel papers and yesterday's clothes. And there was my iPod, with the screen lit up in "alarm clock" mode.
What the...? I didn't even know my iPod had an alarm clock mode. I certainly had no idea it was capable of playing music I could hear without twisting in the earphones (which always makes me feel a little squeamish.) At that hour, I could barely remember how to turn it off, but a few random jabs at the touchscreen did the trick -- and I went promptly back to sleep.
It was halfway through the next day before I remembered Baby Gavin and realized that he must have set the alarm with his own little hands.
So if he could do it, why couldn't I? I managed to figure out the setting that night. I wasn't nearly as cute doing it as Baby Gavin was, but the alarm worked great for the rest of my week in Charlotte.
It's the best travel tip I ever got from a one-year-old.