Blab Blab Blab

LAX to SEA, part two (or, I will never do that again)

We flew into Seattle on a Thursday. The following Tuesday, Jack’s mom flew into Seattle as Jack was headed to the airport to fly home. On Wednesday she and Ethan flew to Idaho for his three weeks (three WEEKS!) of Camp Grandma and Grandpa.

Then, on Friday, I packed up two suitcases, a backpack, a diaper bag, and two kids with their car seats in my mom’s little car and she drove us to the airport. I had called the airline weeks in advance to ask if there was any way they would let my mother accompany us all the way to the gate.

“If TSA isn’t on lockdown, we can issue your mom a special pass to get through security.” Thank goodness, and fingers crossed for a world-wide shoe-bomber-free day. (It goes without saying that of course I NEVER want a shoe-bomber day, but that day, especially, well… duh.)

As we approached the airport I started to sweat. My nerves started sparking. I think I might have snapped at Mom. She started asking lots of questions, and I started to become very pin-prick focused.

“Mom? I love you. Please don’t talk to me until we are through security. I have a plan. Please just do what I say.”

Not the nicest way to talk to one’s mother, but she understood how stressed out I was. There was so much about the trip I couldn’t control, but I had a vice-grip on the things I could.

No TSA lock-down! Mom got a special pass. I gave her her instructions. “Stay with them in the stroller as long as possible. After I get everything on the belt I will take them out and hand them to you so I can collapse the stroller. You okay with holding them both for a little bit?” She nodded. I might have remembered to say thank you.

I should point out that at that point we had between us: double stroller with the two kids; backpack on my back; messenger-style diaper bag slung on my front; and a lightweight collapsible dolly rigged up to hold both car seats. I could have done it by myself, but having Mom made it SO MUCH EASIER.

I got the seats and the dolly on the belt first, followed by the two bags, having taken out the liquids. Shoes next (mine and Mom’s). Pacifiers were taken from the kids (much to their protests), and they were handed to Mom. Stroller collapsed and on the belt. No one thought it would fit, but I knew. I knew. I turned around and Mom was going through the detector with both kids. Then me. She hung out, holding them, waiting for the stroller to come through.

Kids in stroller, car seats tied back onto dolly, liquids inspected, and bags returned to my body. I think the whole thing took fifteen minutes total. Mom was a champ. She totally could see I was in a zone and let me do my thing. I had been stressing about it for months, and it was over.

“Great job, Abi! That was amazing!” And it was. But it made me too confident about the rest of the trip.

They changed our departing gate and since we didn’t hear any announcement we had barely enough time to get back on the train to get to the correct terminal to change diapers. Luckily, they allowed me to preboard and install the car seat and then come back for the kids. A quick good-bye to Mom, and we headed down the jetway to what I thought was going to be my biggest hurdle — keeping them from running off while I collapsed the stroller.

I started taking them out when one of the flight attendants said, “We would be happy to hold them for you! You’ll just have to bring them to us over here because we are not allowed to get off of the plane.” Interesting — I never heard of that, but I wasn’t about to question. I handed them off, and quickly collapsed the stroller, knowing that Henry wasn’t going to take to being handed to a complete stranger with any kind of grace. And I was right. While Miranda was playing with the collar of the woman holding her, Henry was bawling and reaching for me. I took him, and the attendant holding Miranda offered to walk her to our seats.

We were pretty far back, and after I got Henry fastened in his seat I turned around to get Miranda and… there was a different flight attendant holding  her. She saw my surprise and explained that she was the attendant for the back of the plane and she wasn’t about to let this cute baby go by her without holding her. Miranda had discovered a little button flashlight on the strap around her neck and wouldn’t let go. “Get yourself settled,” she told me. “I can hold her for a few more minutes. By the time I was ready, we had to pry Miranda away from her. She would have stayed with her the whole flight, if she could have.

You know how, when you are on a flight, you see the people walking by you and you give silent prayers that the ones who look dirty, or smelly, or both don’t sit next to you? I was praying for someone with patience… someone who wouldn’t mind a little noise. When our row-mate finally sat down, I immediately introduced myself and explained that though they are usually very good-natured, they are only fifteen-months old. “No problem,” Ken said. “I have two boys.” I sent up a silent thank you, while Miranda leaned over, stuck her face about one foot away from Ken’s, and said “hi.” He chuckled.

It was a long flight. I don’t care how long it actually was in minutes, … it was a LONG flight. I managed to keep both kids relatively happy for a good hour, during which I had to go change Henry’s very saggy diaper (Miranda, the Flirt, was content to sit in the car seat and bat her eyes at Ken), but then antsiness, boredom, and hunger started to set in. And Henry accidentally clocked Miranda on the head with a toy. And Miranda wouldn’t sit still. And they both were ripping up the in-flight magazines. And they both were whining. When we started our descent I was so happy. But then we were stuck on the tarmac for twenty minutes. Luckily, that meant a short conversation –over the din of two toddler fighting over the wipe container — with Ken, who offered to carry off the car seat for me (for which I was so so thankful — I had no clue how I was going to manage it). Ken held Miranda while I strapped on my bags and got Henry out of the car seat. And then there I was, standing in the aisle with two bags strapped to me, and two toddlers who were happily playing with my earrings and my hair. I’m sure I looked lovely. I wished I had had an extra hand to take a picture of the destruction left behind. Cheerios, puffs, graham cracker crumbs, ripped up magazines, crumpled safety cards, and numerous shredded baby wipes. I felt guilty for a second for not being able to clean it up, but I had no choice.

I got to the jetway and — thank you Alaska Airlines personnel! — the stroller was open and ready. I strapped them in in record time, tied up the car seats to the dolly, and headed out as fast as I could to baggage claim. When I saw Jack on the other side of security I almost started crying. Our bags were sitting on the now-still carousel, so we headed to the car.

It was a last minute decision to stop by Del taco on the way home, and it was a good thing we did. Henry and Miranda devoured half of a cheese quesadilla, and I vowed never to schedule a flight during dinner time again. Not while they are toddlers, at least.

Scratch that. I vow to never schedule a flight again AT ALL while they are toddlers.

Family? Y’all will just have to come to us for a little while.

3 Comments

  1. Jane C says:

    I loved your Seattle visit as did the whole family. You did a fantastic job! And you flew with Miranda and Henry with great grace AND a wonderful seat partner.

  2. / Thanks for a marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will come back down the road. I want to encourage you continue your great posts, have a nice afternoon!

  3. http://www./ says:

    nazarian- thanks for pointing out that I was politically incorrect in my usage of words political right and far left. However, it is clear what I was trying to say. far left= opposition lead by LTP.

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