It packs more punch than a P90X workout.
It is more exhausting than sprinting line drills until your legs have transformed into rubber and you’re ready to hurl everything you’ve consumed for the last two weeks.
And the night before it happens, you are practically guaranteed less than five hours of sleep.
Highlight, italicize, and quadruple underline the word “less.”
I speak of the glories of Holiday Traveling.
More specifically Holiday Traveling With Children.
Here is a quick 24 hour recap from The Night Before Our Flight through our return home, just in case you’re considering attempting such a feat…
8:30 to 9 PM – Put the kids to bed.
9:01 PM – Begin the impossible task of gathering all toys, socks, hats, gloves, and presents that have had a week to find the perfect hiding place at Mimi’s house.
9:34 PM – Come to realization aforementioned task is going to take a very, very long time.
10:56 PM – Look at the massive piles of stuff filling Mimi’s living room. Wonder how I’m supposed to pack it all.
10:58 PM – Ask to borrow a suitcase from Mimi.
12:13 AM – Something something something. I’m not sure. I was so exhausted by this point – thanks to waking up at 5:30 AM that morning from a case of My Brain Will Not Shut Off – I have no memory of anything other than getting ready for bed.
(The events from now until 4 AM are heresay, because I was my only period of blissful sleep…)
12:40 AM – The Tackler has a coughing fit. It wakes him up. He whines because he does not wish to be awake.
12:45 AM – The whining wakes up Lil Diva.
12:46 AM to 3:59 AM – CG spends this time frame trapped in the awful What Happens When Two Sick Children Share a Room Loop: each child takes turns waking the other in the evilest game of tag team ever invented. It ends with Lil Diva IT, refusing to go to bed, and CG about to Hit The Wall.
4 AM – In his sleep deprived brilliant desperation, CG brings Lil Diva into our room in a vain attempt to sleep with her.
4 AM & twenty seconds – I’m woken up by her protests and the shaking bed as CG climbs in.
4:08 AM – CG leaves the room in a huff, thwarted again by Lil Diva’s refusal to sleep… anywhere.
4:45 AM – I suffer from Mommy Travel Brain – it once again will not let me fall back asleep even though I’m at a new level of Are You Sure I Don’t Have A Newborn Anymore exhaustion.
4:50 AM – I contemplate ways to get back at my husband who knew full well about Mommy Travel Brain and the worst possible thing he could have done was wake me up.
5:03 AM – I shower, knowing full well if I don’t now – it won’t happen. The hope is it will wake me up.. or put me to sleep. I wasn’t picky, I just couldn’t tolerate the limbo state between both.
5:45 AM – Emerge from hot shower, find CG in bed. Lil Diva finally crashed…
6:04 – 11:38 AM – I do inventory, hunt for missing items, eat breakfast, feed the kids breakfast, get them dressed, and have the Items To Be Packed play a version of Red Rover as I search for the magical balance of packing each suitcase to the brim yet still have each under the 50 pound weight limit. A few items are selected for Priority Mail If It Fits In This Box We Don’t Care What It Weighs delivery.
11:43 AM – I inhale my final Taco Casa soft shell taco – one of the two foods I could probably live on alone… if I didn’t live so far away.
12:31 PM – Surrender the hunt for CG’s iPod. The Tackler was last seen playing with it, but we turn the house upside down and are unable to locate it….
12:54 PM – We pile in the car with Mimi – while my sis and brother ride in her car – and drive to Kansas City.
3:30 PM – Stop at a Chik-Fil-A on outskirts of KC so The Tackler and Lil Diva (who managed a 45 minute nap in the car) burn off some steam before the airport.
3:38 PM – Watch The Tackler as he continually screams, runs, and crashes into the “mirror” in the play area. Certain I’d recognize that scene from a movie if I wasn’t running on less than eight hours combined sleep for the last two days.
5:00 PM – Back in the car, to the Lil Diva’s protests, and my brother drives us while Mimi joins my sister.
5:29 PM – Reach the airport and begin the magical juggling act of corralling two kids, four pieces of checked luggage, a rolling carry on bag, a regular carry on bag, one adult backpack, one Cars backpack, a diaper bag, and two car seats all into the check-in line.
You can imagine how seamless that went.
5:52 PM – Bags and car seats are finally checked and the security line is crazy long. Because the KC airport has each one serve just a handful of gates, we choose to wait on our side.We almost try an airport restaurant but after seeing the prices and lack of burger on the menu – The Tackler wanted one because it did smell like burgers there – I trekked with him to a corner to eat the PB&J prepared earlier “just in case” while CG was off with Lil Diva.
6:15 PM – Nearly have a panic attack as I realize I DO NOT HAVE OUR BOARDING PASSES. Call CG to return to us while I sprint back to the restaurant – the only place I could’ve left them.
6:16 PM – Find the passes on the table we’d briefly sat at. Breathe exhausted sigh of relief.
6:30 PM – The security line was no more so we began the crazy process of removing shoes, laptops, anything with batteries, antibiotics, baby food, glove weights, cell phones, jackets, and brain cells for the TSA line.
6:33 PM – The Most Helpful TSA Agent Ever suggests what things I might have possibly forgotten in my bag, loads my stuff onto the conveyor belt, grabs extra trays when needed, and keeps the Tackler from going through the security gate too soon.
6:40 PM – The same Most Helpful TSA Agent Ever removes all of our items and transfers them to a corner so I can put everything back to together. She puts The Tackler’s shoes back on…. I about pass out from confusion and sleep deprivation.
6:50 PM – The Tackler makes a “friend” – a 2.5 year old who has a Buzz Lightyear slightly different from his own. The Tackler pulls out his travel Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (a forgotten gift just opened prior to our leaving Mimi’s house) and they miraculously play in perfect harmony for the next fifteen minutes.
7:05 PM – The cohesive playing ends, and instead a trade happens: The Tackler gets Buzz and the 2.5 year old plays with The Clubhouse. Once again, this works fabulously while I chat with his mother. We learn our 7:30 PM flight is now delayed for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile…. CG has spent every minute since clearing security chasing after Lil Diva who rules gates 79-84 (the only gates in our area). He resets her at one end and she bolts for the other end – pausing only at the tiny concession area to remove all bags of junk food before moving on to attempt going through security the wrong way.
7:20 PM – The friendship is dissolved as the 2.5 year old’s repetitive statements of “MINE!” in regards to The Clubhouse greatly upset The Tackler. His mom and I split them apart and we have a snack.
7:35 PM – Our plane finally shows up at the gate, delayed from inclement weather from wherever it traveled from. I escort The Tackler to the bathroom for a last minute potty break and to change him into PJ’s in case he passes out. He actually listens and follows directions, leading me to wonder if he was somehow chemically altered from the TSA metal detector…
7:48 PM – They begin boarding our plane. I observe the early boarding with The Tackler in a The Quest To Not Have to Check Larger Carry On while CG hangs with Lil Diva until the last minute because she is not a fan of staring at gray seat backs.
8ish PM – Unsure of the exact time because I had to turn off my phone, we taxi down the runway. Miraculously, I have one of the few empty seats on the plane next to me. I do the standard Feed Upon Takeoff and Lil Diva passes out. The Tackler looks out the window next to CG until he’s allowed to play with CG’s cell phone (in airplane mode, of course) as the iPod is still at Mimi’s house…
In the air: Lil Diva sleeps until a few minutes before landing. The Tackler plays games the entire trip. Extremely uneventful flight except for some nasty turbulence that gave me a few minutes of “Oh my God, we’re gonna die!” thoughts. I count my blessings that Lil Diva slept through it because there is no way we could have done her Airplane Exercise Regiment as on our previous flight.
9:58 PM – We touch down (thirty minutes late) and I have an urge to kiss the ground. Lil Diva is wide awake and wanting freedom.
10:15 PM – We begin the arduous task of collecting all of our bags (aided by the Fabulous Friend Dawn – who was kind enough to grab our van at home and pick us up in it as the additional luggage would not fit in her vehicle without leaving a child and their car seat at the airport…), lugging all pieces of luggage outside, hooking up car seats, and preventing Lil Diva from racing into the street.
10:37 PM – We finally are on the road….. again. The Tackler – after professing his wishes to play with all of his toys at home – craters and passes out cold. Lil Diva devours a few cups of cereal snacks – and by devour, I mean eats 39%, drops 10% onto the van floor, and the remaining 51% falls onto her lap or the cracks of her car seat, with a few mushy morsels sticking to her chin, straps, and hands.
11:15 PM – We pause for an emergency grocery store stop for milk and other breakfast items.
11:30 PM – At last we arrive at our destination: HOME.
11:40 PM – I extricate The Still Comatose Tackler. I spend ten minutes trying to put him into a night diaper (he’s potty trained, but when asleep – all bets are off). Like a Bobo doll that won’t stay down, every time I roll him onto his back, he immediately curls back into a ball onto his stomach. No matter how hard I tried, he would not lay on his back. I give up and put it on upside down, hoping that no vital areas of coverage were missed.
12:31 AM – I manage to find PJs, toothbrush, and contact solution so I can crawl into bed. I inform CG of this fact because I am so far gone into delirium, I’m quite certain I forgot my name.
12: 45 AM – I make like the Tackler and pass out.
1 AM – CG informs me Lil Diva finally wound down and went back to sleep.
2:30 AM – Lil Diva wakes up pissed.. again. CG – no longer restricted to fear of waking four other people, verifies nothing is truly wrong and then let’s her cry it out. Ten minutes later, she’s fast asleep.
I hear nothing.
Both kids sleep in – Lil Diva until 10:30 AM.
I begin the slow recovery process of the Holiday Hangover.
This post took two days to write, because in addition to being the length of a novella, I don’t have the energy to keep my eyes open during my writing time.
So if my posts are a bit sporadic for a while, now you know why.
Part 2 of Behind the Scenes: The Twelve Days of Christmas will fill in the remaining blanks…. Assuming I have the energy to write it…