Posts Tagged ‘ plane ’

Does Flying With Babies Ever Get Easy?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Barf. Poop. Pee. Fly.

Those four words about sum up my latest airplane excursion with my two babes. I should clarify: my SOLO airplane excursion. As in, no Phil to help me.

I took Fia and Emmett to New Orleans to visit my Aunt Nancy (a.k.a. Baba Yaga, above). It’s a 4-hour flight. I bought two seats, toddler headphones, and an iPad.

This is the first time I’ve flown with them by myself. In Fia’s first year, we went on about 20 flights. I had it pretty down, but I would never say it was fun. I did think my experience as a veteran would help. But it didn’t. Because I’m not a veteran of flying with two kids.

I got to LAX. I check the boards: Flight Delayed. Of course. It said by 20 minutes. At least we were in the terminal and not on the plane for the delay.

We get breakfast. I am slow moving and calm. A picture of peace and tranquility. We sit down to eat. They are both doing great. I have a moment of clarity. Wow, we are off to a stellar start. I kid you not: at that exact moment, Emmett projectile vomits. I hear a collective gasp. I look over to see a table full of young, single, European men staring at me slack-jawed. I look at Em. As the world’s happiest baby, he is giggling. And covered in goo.

“Sorry guys,” I say.

“Well, at least he’s laughing,” one of them remarks. The others just look away.

I pull out my favorite burp cloth and begin to wipe up the mess. Since Em was in the stroller, everything is covered. I throw the burp cloth in the garbage. I don’t even care. I’m not having this, I think. Stay calm. Breathe. This is no big deal.

Then Fia, who no longer wears diapers, screams, “Mama, I have to poop!” I once again see the horror in these men’s faces. They will never procreate. I have single-handedly helped reduce the world’s population.

I scramble like a bomb is about to explode. If I have to clean up sh-t in her pants, then I swear, I’m not getting on the plane, I say to myself. All my inner calmness goes out the window. The real me is back. We rush to the bathroom, nearly knocking over a man with a food tray. I am pushing a barf-laden baby in a barf-laden stroller and dragging an almost-pooping toddler in her almost poop-filled underpants. Why didn’t I just put her in Pull-Ups this morning? I curse silently.

We fly into the bathroom just in time. Thank god I had back-up outfits. At this point, Em is the only one who needs one.  We clean up, I get my calm back, and we go to the gate. 10 minutes later:

“Attention folks. There’s been a gate change.”

Groan, grimace, move.

We get to the new gate. Flight now delayed 40 minutes. We sit for about 20. Then:

“Attention folks. Really sorry about this, but there’s been another gate change.”

This gate is completely at the other end. I really must have been truly horrible in my past life.

Finally, an hour later, we board. Which means we land in New Orleans smack dab in rush hour. We will have an hour-plus ride in the car getting to my Baba’s house near Slidell.

I manage to get us settled for about 13 seconds before I see the lucky passenger who gets to share the row with us. I could see his face change as the stages of grief hit: sadness, denial, anger, horror. I smile apologetically. Yup, you got the short straw dude. Sorry.

I am already cursing myself for not buying Emmett his own seat. Since sitting still isn’t part of his genetic make-up, I put Fia in the middle and Em and I at the window. As soon as we take off, I boot up the brand new iPad and Fia watches Olivia. Emmett falls asleep. I look around. Can this be? I pull out my Kindle. I look around again. Am I actually going to read on this flight? I do! For about 20 minutes. I feel like I’ve won the Olympic gold. Moms don’t get to read on planes, right?

About 40 minutes in, Em wakes up and never calms down. He never cries. Instead, he shrieks in delight, jumps up and down on my thighs, pounds the window…I mean, the boy is out of control in his happy energy. I figure people can’t be pissed because I have the world’s happiest baby, right? Fia continues to watch the same episode of Olivia 11 times. In a row. Obsessive or normal toddler behavior? Not sure. Don’t care.

Before we land, I take them to the bathroom. Fia’s backside is soaked. She has peed her pants. I also don’t care. In some cultures people drink their pee. So there.

We disembark, run into Baba’s open arms, and make our way to her bayou home where there is a pet bird, a pet dog, a wild frog, a wild lizard, a toy truck, and a bottle of wine waiting (the latter for me). Vacation is off to a stellar start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moving With a Barfing Baby

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

We Broke All The Rules. TV. Pacifier.

When we got to JFK I saw 2 signs: one for the chapel and the other for the restroom. I wasn’t sure which one I needed more. Divine intervention or soap.

We had just left Brooklyn at 7 a.m. to begin our new life in LA. We looked like the Brooklyn-to-Beverly Hillbillies. We had Wayne Sanchez as one carry on, 4 other carry-ons, 4 pieces of luggage, her stroller, and of course we three humans.

The driver, like most of them in New York, kept hitting the gas and brake. Stop and go. Stop and go. I was getting worried, but just hoped we’d make it. No such luck. 10 minutes from the airport, Fia whispered, “uh oh” and out came the barf. It went everywhere. Luckily for us, I had asked to use the driver’s car seat, because I didn’t feel like dealing with installing ours at that hour.

I won’t go into the stench. All parents know how horrendous it is. Make that double horrid when you’re 7 months pregnant and your sense of smell is heightened.

Poor Fia was crying. The driver didn’t say a word. I’m sure he was furious. I told him we’d give him extra for the cleaning. Phil and I were dealing with the aftermath, trying to clean up Fia with wipes, but really there was no point. She just had to sit in her vomit. And we all had to sit in the smelly van with her vomit. The only person who wasn’t rattled was Wayne.

I rushed Fia to the bathroom and the kind TSA women who saw us rushed over some plastic bags for her clothes. Thank god for national security.

I gave her a bath in the sink and managed to get off the smell. Slightly redeemed, we rushed to our gate, the last to board, looking like the 3-ring circus we were.

The plane was packed. All our carry-ons had to go under the seat. Wayne took up so much space we were literally scrunched with our knees to our chest. Fia fell sleep on takeoff and landing. The remaining, oh, 5 hours or so, was sheer entertainment and avoiding the ambush.  Wayne didn’t make a peep.

This may have been the worse travel day of my life. Oh, but it gets better.

(more…)

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Moving to LA–the Sad Part

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Fia with her favorite friends (and my babies too)

I have written a lot about my mom mafia here in Brooklyn–the small group of mom friends I hold close to my heart. I feel like their babies are in some ways my babies too. They are my shoulder, my crutch. In moving to LA, I’ll make new friends, but this chapter will never be repeated. It’s been the time of new motherhood–22 months of navigating the toughest waters of my life while at the same time basking in the magic of it all.  You only become a mom once. This next baby, while just as loved, won’t signify the same crossing of this life-changing threshold.

(In fact, I’m hoping it will be easier, since it’s a road I’ve already traveled.)

Thing is, I’ve always known that regardless of geography, this time is fleeting.  In a year or so, our tots will be starting preschool, and if I lived here, they’d probably go to different places. My mom mafia would move on, replaced by a new set of parents. Sure, we’d keep in touch and see each other when we could (and we will, via email, text and phone). We’d reminisce about our constant conversations of this time and laugh about the tears and the triumphants—from sleep strikes and nap woes to the first tooth and the first fall. But even with that, it wouldn’t be the constant it is now.  Because babies grow, and so must we. It is part of our journey.

So as I prepare to bid farewell to my dear friends, I feel a deep well of gratitude along with a heavy heart. These women helped make me the mom I am today. They have not only saved my sanity many a time, but also have helped me to become more patient, more caring, more kind. In essence, they have made me a better person.

When I board the plane with a one-way ticket, in many ways, Fia and I will be starting over.

It is going to be a chapter closed. But also a chapter well lived.

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Entertaining Your Toddler

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Playing With Magnets

I came across something I wanted to share. I bought this string of magnets you see on her lap in the photo above. They are polished and smooth (rocks?), about the size of four lima beans squished together (sorry, it’s the best measurement I can come up with). I bought 10 of them for $2.00. They have proven to be invaluable. I’ve found that they can entertain Fia up to 30 minutes at a time. I used them on a recent trip to South Dakota when she tired of the DVD on the plane. I also used them at a restaurant this weekend when we were waiting for our food.

Since they are magnetic, they all want to stick to each other, which I can tell both baffles and fascinates her. She’ll take them apart, then get one close to another and wham; they instantly bond back to each other. I figure it will be awhile before she has a science class that will explain the mysterious ways of the magnet.

I bought them at a gift shop, but if you keep your eyes open, you can probably find them just about anywhere. One thing I will caution: I would only allow your child to play with them supervised. They are a bit small and smooth, so could be a choking hazard.

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September 11th: The 10-Year Anniversary

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

I was in the air when the first plane hit. Three minutes later I landed in Newark, oblivious to the world collapsing.  Twelve hours later I would make my way to our apartment and fall, sobbing into my husband’s arms. Oblivion replaced by sorrow.

We had just moved to New York City 3 weeks prior.  Phil was about to start his Master’s in film at Columbia.

My flight on September 11th was supposed to be at noon. I was traveling home from a Food Network appearance in Cincinnati.  For some reason at the last minute I decided to change to the 6 a.m. flight. Unbeknownst to me, karma was on my side.

As our plane descended I distinctly remember looking out the window and seeing the towers. I remember feeling so lucky—so alive–to be living in this great city and starting this new adventure.

At that point in my life, kids were not part of the plan. I had no interest.

In the days following the attacks, I mourned like the rest of the country. Shell-shocked by the hate, inspired by the love.

Years went by and September 11th became part of me, just like it did for most of us. It was always there, serving as a timeline in life. “That was before 9/11.” or “That was after 9/11….”

On December 2, 2009, Fia came into our world. The cocoon we created during our stay in the hospital was nothing short of magical, even surreal. It was a bubble of warmth, safety and love.  I felt panicked when it was time to go home. I knew nothing about taking care of a baby.

Phil and I gingerly loaded her into our rented car. I got in the back with her and we began the trek from 168th and Broadway to Brooklyn. It was snowing. Phil drove about 40 mph down the West Side highway. We were paranoid new parents.

When we passed Ground Zero I looked out the window and began to feel a heaviness like I’ve never felt before. It was deep and sad. It carried the responsibility and burden of bringing a life into this world.  It said, “This is a dangerous place full of hate. Why did you do this to something you love so much?” It said, “This is an unworthy world. You are selfish.” Had I been standing, this profound pain would have taken me to my knees. I tried to push it away and force happy thoughts. As I looked down at my tiny, sweet baby I thought, She has no idea what her world outside the womb is.  But it’s my job to teach her. And love her no matter what.

I believe it was at that moment that the real burden of parenthood began.  I carry it with honor, understanding and respect. I’m on my 21st month now and will continue to carry it as long as I’m lucky enough to walk this world. This is life and it is fleeting. It is only by the grace of god, go I.

First Moments

First Moments

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