Posts Tagged ‘ travel with baby ’

Birds and Babies Don’t Mix

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Peepers is the yellow one on right

Fia nearly killed Peepers and I nearly had a heart attack. If your child kills an animal, aren’t their chances of becoming a serial killer heightened?

The hair-raising incident happened on a recent visit to my Aunt Nancy, who lives on the bayou about an hour north of New Orleans. She and my uncle live in a spectacular setting where jasmine grows like weeds, and crawfish populate the waters (sans oil) with abundance. I woke up to hummingbirds fluttering about and Fia squawking for Peepers.

Peepers and Peg are a pair of lovebirds. Both are boys, so I guess they’re gay. They’ve been partners for 15 years now. Peg only has one leg, thus his name. Peepers has scrunched up feet from a stroke, which means he needs to land on flat surfaces. He can’t curl his toes around a perch. Both survived Hurricane Katrina. Peepers also survived a near fatal beheading when caught up in a ceiling fan a few years back. But he almost didn’t survive Fia.

For background, Fi has chased after pigeons on the playground before, but her obsession with Peepers was unlike anything I’d seen. Nancy lets them fly about the house a couple times a day. Peepers will land right on your shoulder, or your head, and loves to have his belly rubbed. No joke.

The first—and only–time he landed on her arm, Fi squealed with delight. But before I could even say, “gentle,” she grabbed his head in her fist and took off running across the room, screaming with glee. All I could see were his legs poking out of her hand.

I gasped in horror, lunged for her fist and quickly pried it open. Peepers is yellow, but at that moment I swear he was blue. He took off in flight and Fia, thinking this is the most fun she’s ever had, ran after him again. Her fingers were covered in feathers. She tried to eat one.

“Um, this isn’t such a good idea,” I yelled across the room, cornering Fia from Peeps. “Fia, stop!” I screamed.

Nancy chimed in, scooping up a now-traumatized lovebird. “If she kills Peepers, she’ll have to kill Peg because they can’t be alone.”

Peg, upon hearing this, began to squawk, realizing his mortality was on the line.

Oh great, so she becomes a serial lovebird killer. Just what I always dreamt of for my daughter.

Luckily no more feathers were shed during our stay. But a lot of tears were. Everyday, after she grew tired of slobbering on Willy the dog, she’d go over to the cage, stand on her tippy toes and shake it—hard. She’d stick her fingers in, trying to extract even a feather. Peg and Peeps would squawk and take cover in their birdhouse. I’d pull Fia away, which would trigger an immediate tantrum. Crying, pointing at the cage, and ending with throwing herself on the ground.

“Poor baby,” I’d say. “I’m so sorry your mama won’t let you squeeze a bird to death.”

Each time we tried to supervise/teach her to hold him gently, I could see her fist tighten around his neck and I had to take him away (which of course meant more tantrums). After several more attempted beheadings we just kept them both in their cage.

I thought I’d come here for tranquility, not baby and bird wrangling.

In the end, we left with both birds still alive, but fewer feathers than before, plus a tormented child and a mama with shot nerves. I don’t think babies and birds are a great combo at this age unless the bird is stuffed.

Add a Comment

Why I Love South Dakota

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Home on the Range

I love South Dakota. The smell, the stark beauty, and the solitude reminds me of what a special state this is.  For a place that many people have never been to and confuse with North Dakota (which, to be clear, is North of South Dakota), some find my adoration surprising. But if you go there, particularly the western part, you’ll know what I mean.  I’m probably a little biased though. My relatives are cattle ranchers out there and many of my childhood summers were spent on the prairie riding horses, going to rodeos, and playing with some of my 25 first cousins. It’s a place I want Fia to experience, which is why we’ve visited each of the past two years.

This time around she was 21 months, and every morning she would run out in the living room, press her hands and face up to my aunt’s big bay window (which overlooks a beautiful pasture and pond with no other house in site) and say, “outside, outside.” Until this trip, I had never heard her say that word before. Makes me realize some of the sacrifices of New York City living. Don’t get me wrong: there are a lot of advantages to living here, but being outside constantly isn’t one of them. Plus, our loft apartment has windows 20 feet up, so she can’t really see outside. We go out everyday, but I think the visual is important too.

Anyway, I decided to post a few of my favorite pictures of her from this trip. That’s all.

Fia's First Horse Ride

The Badlands of South Dakota

Add a Comment

My TV Addicted Toddler

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

I’m getting closer and closer to having an official television addict. Hope to have mission accomplished by our next flight in about 6 weeks. This last one showed great promise, ie: tantrums on takeoff and touchdown (when DVD players aren’t allowed). Once airborne, there were chunks of quiet time–mesmerized by Baby Einstein videos–followed by throwing objects when it ended.

Things that still need to be refined: teaching her to not take her headphones off. This will eliminate the meltdown that happens from lack of sound. Making her understand that the eject button is her worst enemy. When pressed it leads to reloading the whole DVD, which leads to great frustration when I can’t fast forward through the FBI copyright warning.

There are a few more, but all in all, I think she’s getting it. We’ll practice more in the coming weeks from home since I find feeding her is far easier when she is watching television. In 20 years she can blame me at her Video Anonymous meetings, but until then, I’m taking the road of least resistance.

Add a Comment

Babies on Board First Class

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Flying first class is a treat. Who wouldn’t love to do it? But unless you have miles or elite status on the airlines, you pay a pretty penny. And for most of us, it simply isn’t worth the cost.

Recently two airlines decided to ban babies from first class.  More are considering it. And the polls in both these highlighted arguments are strongly in favor.

In my pre-baby days I would have absolutely 100% applauded this decision. And I must say, I agree with it 90% now. I mean, if I paid thousands of dollars for a ticket and had to contend with a screaming infant, how could I not be furious? (there is a tiny part of me that thinks, “But what if she were really good on the flight? But it’s not something you can predict.)

Fia has been on about 30 flights so far. Every family member is a plane ride away and my husband’s work often takes him to LA for chunks of time. So she’s even made the cross-country flight twice. But she was smaller–about 6 months. And slept most of the way.

Now, at 19 months, it is simply not fun to fly. I dread it.

If you are bold (or oblivious, or unconcerned) enough to think first class is your “right”–even with the chance of your baby melting down–then I have two suggestions:

  • Should your child act out, be willing to trade your seat for someone in coach. I find bulkhead to be pretty great, because you can put a blanket on the floor and let them crawl a bit, without kicking the seat in front of them, etc. It may even calm them down.
  • Divide and conquer with your spouse. One of you sits in first class with the baby. The other in coach. If your baby begins to scream or fuss, then take him to the back. At least this way you’re covered.
One of our better flights

One of our better flights

(more…)

Add a Comment