Mar 18, 2011

Adventures in flying...with a two year old!

The problems began a little before 5am with the ticket agent at our gate in Boston had clearly gotten a large log stuck up her bum somewhere on her way to work. She obviously a hatred for all things cute and two, and a distain for anything that helped to create said cute, two year old things.

I approached her to check my carseat and dollie (the brilliant system I had devised to both be able to quickly wheel my child through the airports and not have the carseat lost somewhere in ariplane baggage land.)

The lovely lady told me I should have checked the carseat at baggage. I told her if it didn't make it to my final destination I'd have no way to transport my child so I'd check it planeside thankyouverymuch! She gave me the most disgusted look I've ever seen while still plastering on a fake smile and used the most condesending tone I'd ever heard to say, "Oh mam, It would have made it."

I told her we called the airline in advance and they assured us we could check it gateside. I told her my brilliant plan of using it to wheel her to our next gate. She clearly did not think it was brilliant. Or perhaps she was just jealous of my brillance. She told me it had to be checked through to my final destination...that they would not bring it up to the plane at my midpoint...that they only bring up collapsable items and strollers.

FINE. "Check it all the way through then," I conceeded. "But could you also then check this dollie. Because I won't be needed it to wheel her through the airport (if I don't have the flippin carseat) and I don't want to lug the dolly around either." Ummmm No. She informed me that it was not in a bag and they don't check items like that. (Are you frikin' kidding me!?) "But you JUST told me you only check collapsable item...this fully collapses." Nope. Not gonna check it!

Oh my gosh! So ya know what I did? I chucked the dolly. Yup. Right in the trash. Sure I was a little concerned that people might think I was a super well disguised terrorist planting a bomb in the trash can but whatever! 'Cause I wasn't hauling an extra thing through the airport. I already had enough on my hands with a two year old, up at 4am, flying for the first time for a total time in the air of 7 1/2 hours. So I chucked it.

Ella did AMAZING on the first 2 1/2 hour flight. She wasn't scared. She listened. She had fun. It was awesome. Until we got off the plane. What do suppose was waiting for me gateside?
Yup. THE CARSEAT. (You remember, the one that they COULDN'T bring up. The one that I no longer had a dolly to use to transport it.) OH SO MAD! I found a flight attendant and told the situation and asked for it to just go through to my final destination. NOPE. No can do. Bags are already on their way. OH MAD DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO COVER IT!!

Okay. Here I am. I can't wheel it. She can't walk fast enough and our next plane is boarding in Oh, 10minutes. CRAP! So I put my backpack on. Took 25 pounds of Ella in one arm and 25 pounds of carseat in the other and off I went. When I saw how far I had to go I fought back a few pissed off tears and sucked it up. I went down a terminal, down an escalator, througha tunnel, up another escalator and down another terminal to get to my gate.

No worries. Plane's not boarding. Plane's not here. It's in the mechanic's hanger. AWESOME. 1/2 hour later it boarded. Not an empty seat in the place. We were in the VERY LAST row. Everyone was boarded for this joyous 5 hour flight and then the pilot came on the speaker informing us that the oxygen leak they thought had been fixed was infact not fixed. We wouldn't be taking off for another 70 minutes! Oxygen Shmoxegen. Minor. AHHHHH. Externally this whole times I was cool as a cucumber and making everthing part of the fun adventure to get to daddy. But mentally I almost lost my shiz when I heard that.

Luckily they let us get off the plane. And by the time she'd gotten half of her egg and cheese sandwich eaten and ran a few laps in the terminal the plane was boarding again. The 8:30am Central time flight took off at 10am Central.

Once again Ella did pretty phenominally! Her attention span was a little shorter and she was a little more disobedient. 2 hours into the 5 hour flight she looked at me and said, "Momma. I all done wid da plane." After that point she got her juice taken away because she spit it on the floor. She got the crayons taken away because she wrote on the window. And I threated to take away movie privilages if she practiced her top of the lungs screech ever again.

I tried to get her to nap at her usual EST time. And she tried. She really did. She just couldn't get comfy. I mentioned we were in the LAST row. You may or may not know this, but those seats DO NOT recline because there's a wall behind you. However the ones in front of you still do. And the stupid people in them recline them into your laps because they are heartless and they do not care that you have a two year old on a 5 hour flight and a little leg room for you and her might just help you keep your sanity. It was all I could do not to tell Ella to practice her new swimming kicking skills as much as she wanted. But no. I took the high road.

I told her to continue to try to nap and didn't engage with her. She entertained herself by zipping and unzipped the travel pillow cover and plugging and unplugging the headphones from the arm rest. And an hour later she grabbed her blanket, bear and pillow and started dozing off sitting up. Her little head kept falling and waking her up so when she was almost asleep I swooped in and put the neck pillow around her with lightning speed and that was all she wrote. She was OUT. Too bad it was an hour and a half past her normal nap time and she only got to sleep for one hour because then we landed. So now I had a toddler, who's usually working with 15 hours of sleep by this time of day...but with early rising and short nap is currently working on 9 hours of sleep. She was a little whiny and a lot clingy but putty in my hands and still listened and obeyed everything I said.

And for the finali...baggage claim. You know. I remember back in the day when people would help you grab your bag and move out of the way for you etc. etc. Oh those days are no longer. Not even a single woman with a toddler on one hip and her carseat on the other is afforded any kind of sympathy or assistance. Nope. I swear people were boxing me out just to get a good spot at the carousel.

In the long run it didn't really matter because my bag wasn't on the carousel. That's right. Not there. At this point I just laughed. Out loud. Probably too loudly. Because that's how done I was. Thankfully it had made it to San Diego...someone just decided to be funny and put it on a carosel three carousels down for a completely different flight!

On that last flight I did have a rockin' rowmate named Steve. He's a wonderful gentleman and frequent flyer due to business and a love of travel. When Ella finally napped, we chatted about children, spouses, college, Maine and other places he's visited as well as being debt free. He was patient and understanding with Ella. He calmed my nerves when we were swerving all over the runway on take off due to wind. He told me over and over how impressed he was with Ella and how well she did and how adorable she was. And he gave me quite the boost by telling me that I was the most prepared mom he'd ever seen as far as snacks, activities, making it fun for her and parenting skills in general. Thanks made that flight great. Hope you had a fabulous dinner with your son and I wish him and you nothing but success!!!

We got up at 4am EST and arrived at the hotel at 2:30pm Pacific time. Now THAT'S a long day!

I'm tellin' ya. God is good and my two year old ROCKS. I did ask for smooth uneventful travels but apparantly He wanted to teach me that I was stonger than I thought and could handle a little more turbulance than I asked for. He gave me the strength to do it with reletive patience, poise and even a cuckle here and there.

Oh, and P.S. If more people in this world could learn a thing or two from my toddler (like positive attitude, manners, and listening skills) it would be a much better place to live...and fly!


anxiousknitter said...

I'm so happy you guys made it safe and sound! I LOVED the recounting of your day - I could feel your pain and frustration :) You certainly handled that Boston lady MUCH better than I would have! Ella definitely rocks - you are a lucky mom. Have a wonderful time!


Cheryl said...

This was great hearing even the second time around. Glad you made it there safely, and relatively sanely! I just have to say that if I had to work at the Boston airport, battle Boston traffic, and be there at 5 a.m., I might be a tad grumpy, too. :-) Sorry that woman got your day off to a rocky start. Love you! Have lots of fun in San Diego chasing the bagels! =D

Diane said...

So glad that you had a good flight! Ella is such a good girl, and still laughing about her comment done with the plane!! Love to all!