Blab Blab Blab

LAX to SEA, part one

A couple of weeks ago the five of us flew to Seattle for my cousin’s wedding. Since my mother and sister (and her family) live there, we decided to spend more than just the weekend.

Wait, back up, you say? The FIVE OF YOU? Are you daft, woman?

Um, well, we didn’t have a choice. My wonderful cousin and her wonderful fiance were getting hitched… and the little ones hadn’t ever visited Nana’s house.

Several months prior to the trip, after I booked the flights, I started planning things out in my head. That was my first mistake. I should have started planning BEFORE I booked the flights.

I’m not kidding.

See, only an IDIOT would book a 4:30pm flight from LAX to Seattle for a family with two toddlers who are used to eating dinner at 5pm.

And did I mention — to save money — we only bought four seats? And that I was to return, by myself, with the two toddlers on a 5pm flight?

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I AM daft.

Conversations with Logic Man about the trip would go like this:

Me: So I was thinking about what to do if they don’t allow us to bring milk in their sippy cups through security.

Him: What’s the big deal? So we buy milk on the other side.

Me: Whole milk, Jack? WHOLE MILK? BURGER KING DOES NOT HAVE WHOLE MILK!

Him: What’s the big deal if they get lowfat milk once?

Me: GAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Him: Um…

Me: (muttering, and maybe twitching a little) This is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.

When you travel with one child, as I used to do with Ethan often, you can be a little more go-with-the-flow. Just a little, mind you — there is still the dance of food and sleep and activities and diapers to choreograph, but it is vastly easier when you only have one car seat and a single stroller (and one kid!) to manage. I could stick Ethan in his car seat, rest the car seat on top of his stroller, and push him through the airport with barely nary a care.

But with a five-year old and twin fourteen-month olds? Heh. If you’re planning to travel like we did, make sure you have a drink waiting for you on the other side. Or a valium. Or both.

To be honest, the trip out wasn’t all THAT bad (besides the fact that I completely forgot to separate out the bag with all the liquids, including the sippy cups, so I had to be taken aside to have my backpack searched. They let the milk through, by the way). For one, Jack boarded with most of our stuff ahead of me and the three kids so he could get the car seat installed (the flight was overbooked, so there was no chance of us snagging an extra empty seat for a second car seat, so Jack gate-checked that seat), and I had Ethan hold his siblings’ hands at the end of the jetway while I was folding up the stroller.

Jack and Ethan had a window-middle seat set-up and I had the same across the aisle with a car seat. I started out with both the little ones, but had handed Miranda off to Jack before we took off so I could get myself settled, and she ended up staying with him for take-off. Remember me mentioning the whole dinner-time issue? I had tried — not very successfully — to feed Miranda and Henry something substantial at 3:30, having skipped their usual 3pm snack. In doing that, we barely made it on the plane before the pre-boarding period ended. In doing THAT, we weren’t able to change diapers before boarding. And they didn’t even eat much, as it was.

Whoops.

As soon as the seatbelt light was turned off, I took Henry –with his very saggy diaper– out of his seat and to a lavatory, not quite sure how I was going to handle a diaper change in there. I stood him up on the toilet, gritting my teeth for a standing diaper change and the unfortunate possibilities of getting a direct hit that went along with it. He started complaining with confusion, and then I saw the fold-down changing table behind him. Hallelujah! Big props to Alaska Airlines! Diaper changed, and back to our aisle to swap kids.

After her diaper change, Miranda stayed with me, and Henry with Jack. I do think I got the better part of the deal, because the toddler with me could always be put in a seat, and Jack had one on his lap, and the additional responsibility of keeping Ethan occupied. We made it through, thanks to copious graham crackers and fruit leathers, and Ethan announced (quite loudly) when we landed that he was so proud of the babies for not crying.

Seattle was worth it. For this family girl, it was wonderful to see my Mom smiling at her six grandchildren in the same place at once, even if they weren’t ever all still enough at once to get more than a snapshot! My cousin’s wedding was beautiful, my cousin even more so, and I must say, my kids looked freaking adorable. Henry and Miranda took charge of the dance floor — running around and making faces in a big mirror — at the beginning of the night, and later, when they were tucked into bed at Mom’s with a babysitter in the other room, Ethan had taken over for his siblings, boogeying it down in his Junior Usher black suit. The kid’s got moves! Yeah… Seattle was worth it. It was even worth the trip back.

I’ll tell you about THAT in Part Two…

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