Part 1 – The Early Sign of Sickmas*
Days 1 through 5
It all began innocently enough. About as calm as the House of Chaos gets.
I even had a day “of rest” from being Mommy to ring in my dear friend’s 21st birthday.
My house wasn’t a total disaster.
I even had clean laundry.
What could possibly go wrong?
Days 1 through 5
Days 1-2: Lulled me into false sense of security by being “same old same old.”
Day 3: My Day of Rest spent celebrating Bobbi’s 21st birthday – the calm before the storm – minus her VCR’s appetite for When Harry Met Sally.
Day 4 – As mentioned here, it had its share of “Frackity frak!” moments – all after 11 PM before an early flight the next morning.
Bobbi’s Awesomeness: Our camera battery charger overheard of our imminent trip to the frigid north and stowed away in Bobbi’s purse in an attempt to remain warm. After verifying it was there and not hiding elsewhere in my house, Bobbi drove to my house at midnight to bring it to me. If she hadn’t, my camera would have gone into permanent hibernation the second day of our trip – because we ran late enough loading the kids the next morning there was zero time to pick it up.
Where to Cut in Line: Just as it was our turn to go through security – SIX airline employees picked our line to “cut” into – because if you’re going to choose the right line, let’s pick the one where the almost four year old is crawling under the table where the bins are kept and trying sneak into the DO NOT ENTER OR RISK BEING LABELED TERRORIST area. No matter what you do, do not split it up and share the burden over both lines.
TSA Security No-No’s: It took us thirty minutes to go from loading items on the security conveyor belt to actually being released from the TSA security checkpoint. Because in my I Have Only Slept Four Hours state I forgot that:
- Sealed baby food is the perfect place for hiding explosive paste or weapons and thus counts as “a liquid” and one of the five million things I have to remove from our carry on bags.
- All things with batteries – not just laptops and cell phones – are supposed to be removed. Because once again, the fridge magnet my children put the letters in is a ticking time bomb and cannot adequately scanned with a layer of canvas backpack around it.
- The mini packs for weighted gloves confuse the hell out of security technicians. Before the Sickmas part of Christmas hit in full, I had the brilliant idea that I’d squeeze in a few workouts while on vacation and brought my weighted gloves. In an attempt to not go over my 50 lb limit allowed, I removed the little weight bags from the gloves and put them into my rolling carry on. I promptly forgot they were even there or considered they would be a problem – batteries aren’t included, it’s not liquid, gel, or baby food or other forbidden item like a nail file. The tech searched the compartment they were in (the outside pocket) about three times before she pulled them out (I was not allowed to touch the bags and help her for fear I’d set off my hidden weapon while my two young children were five feet away) and ran them through separately – because once again – the x-ray machines suck so badly the thin layer of my luggage is too much coverage for my glove weights.
- See previous: Where to Cut in Line
How Not to Board an Airplane: Following the aforementioned TSA glitches, we were much later getting to our gate than intended – which was naturally as far as one could travel and still remain within the boundaries of airport. CG took The Tackler for a last minute potty break, leaving me with a pile of baggage and a range free Lil Diva. In my infinite wisdom – by which I mean my brilliant temporary psychosis – here was how the boarding unfolded:
- Ninety seconds after CG left, they called early boarding for those traveling with young children. I tried to gather all of our things but missed The Window as we were the only ones with kids under five.
- They started boarding the back of the plane – where we’re seated – as I continued in my efforts to gather all things and not allow Lil Diva to stray within five feet of our bags. My thinking was if I waited for CG to board, there would be zero room for our bags in the overhead bins – a frequent problem.
- I transformed into an Unbalanced Lopsided Mommy Mule while loaded down with: a over stuffed diaper bag, adult backpack holding a laptop, Cars backpack, rolling carry-on with smaller carry-on on top, Boppy, and a Lil Diva. Just take one minute to visualize that image and the haphazard disaster waiting to happen.
- I made it to the ticketing agent and explained my husband and son were in the restroom and could he please hold their tickets so they could board. He was cool with that. Great.
- I failed miserably in my Mommy Mule excursion down the ramp as I dropped items no less than four times – luckily none of them were Lil Diva. No one offered their assistance as if hypnotized by the unfolding train wreck before them.
- I finally reached the plane doors and The Angel Flight Attendant (complete with glowing halo) graciously offered to take Lil Diva – who by now was climbing INTO THE COCKPIT with the pilots because I had to set her down in order to fit into the plane while lugging all of our items. I asked The Angel if she could watch Lil Diva while I put the luggage away and The Angel smiled and shooed me away as Lil Diva turned on the charm.
- I successfully unloaded the pile of baggage and returned to the front of the plane.
- As I reached for Lil Diva, a passenger just boarding asked, “Do you have a husband and son who aren’t on the plane? He’s stuck at the gate because you have the boarding passes.”
- I took a deep breath. I asked if The Angel wouldn’t mind hanging with Lil Diva for another minute. As Lil Diva blew The Angel kisses, I was waved away and I raced up the ramp – much faster than my trek down.
- I found CG and The Tackler off to the side by the entrance to the gate – from which I could not exit – and motioned him over to the ticket guy. “I left your boarding passes here, all you had to do was talk to the guy. I’m not a complete idiot on four hours of sleep.” Just temporarily insane.
- They successfully boarded, I explained to CG my solid logic on securing bin space, and he bestowed me once again with the “Do we even speak the same language?” look of perplexity.
- I claimed Lil Diva from The Angel, thanked her profusely and returned to my seat with her while CG and The Tackler sat in front me – because the seats in the tiny plane were 2 x 2. I prayed for an uncharacteristic morning nap upon take off….
How to Be The Passenger Everyone Hates – The First Sign of Sickmas:
The door was closed. The air began to pressurize.
Lil Diva screamed.
Passengers around me trying to fall asleep already – as I so desperately wanted to do – glanced my way as if to say “Great, I picked the seat next to the screaming baby.”
And she screamed.
And screamed some more.
She refused to take her pacifier to help with the pressurization.
We were slowly backing away from the gate, eliminating any option I had to walk around to calm her down.
And she screamed.
For ten minutes.
Finally, we were taxiing down the runway and a few minutes from take off.
It was time.
I whipped out The Magical Milk Dispenser and nursed her.
And the screams quieted instantly.
Why did I not attempt this magic trick sooner, you ask?
Because she’s fifteen months old and close to being weaned. If there isn’t enough milk in there when I nurse, she gets supremely pissed off and bites me with her razor sharp teeth. And then refuses to nurse. I knew having enough supply for takeoff was crucial. She’s flown before and never had an issue during the initial pressurization.
Never say never with children.
It was the first hint of the upcoming Days of Sickmas, but it wasn’t the last…
How to Apologize for Being THAT Screaming Baby aka In Flight Exercise is Important: Before the plane even leveled off, Lil Diva had finished her magic milk and was ready to roll – thanks to the hang up at security she’d wasted most of her waking hours in a car seat, in a carrier, and being held. And she had energy.
Lots of it.
I quickly worked my way through most of the toys brought for her entertainment as she struggled for release.
Finally the seat belt sign was turned off and I relented.
While CG rested contentedly in his seat next to The Tackler (who was engrossed on CG’s iPod with headphones- either watching Monsters Inc or playing a game), I traipsed up and down and up and down and up and down the aisles with Lil Diva.
She was thrilled.
Concerned she hadn’t appropriately charmed everyone via screaming, she switched the dial and cranked up the Adorable Meter. As she raced the aisles during our (thankfully) smooth flight, she grinned and drooled as everyone who glanced her way couldn’t resist smiling back.
She blew kisses.
She considerately picked up pieces of trash on the floor and (usually) rushed it to me instead of taste testing it first.
She nearly relieved a passenger of their carbonated beverage when it was left a bit too close to the aisle – only my extraordinary Mommy Reflexes prevented them from receiving cola flavored pants.
Lil Diva also almost tripped Airline Attendant #2 (not The Angel) while she carried hot coffee – as AA#2 was unaccustomed to glancing down at knee level for obstacles.
It was close – saved by my close proximity to Lil Diva.
At some point I traded with CG for a bit so I could sit down for a tiny amount of the flight.
We even arrived twenty minutes early with minimal amounts of protest on the descent.
And she blew kisses to everyone as we disembarked.
As we went meet my sister and claim our luggage, I prayed the screaming fit upon take off was an aberration….
I was wrong.
To be continued…