I've always loved to travel and have done it quite frequently, both for work and for business...
And I love kids....I have always recognized that it's got to be tough to travel with them. But I'll be honest, there have been times I've been on trips for work that I am on a tight schedule and I want everyone who doesn't know how to get through security quickly, how to get on and off a plane efficiently, or those with children to sit tight, let me get where I'm going so I don't miss my meeting, and then carry on about their business.
Seriously people, it's 2009 - so yes, you have to take your shoes off at the airport. Get over it.
HOWEVER... (you knew there was a but in there, didn't you)
My God is a funny God. Yes indeedy he is.... He made it work so that Maddy's first plane trip would be with Momma (you know....that certain Idaho born Momma with a pennance for worrying and for being totally type A stress case) and just Momma. No extra set of hands...just Momma. And Baby. And two ginormous bags. And a car seat. And a carrier. And diaper bag. And a breast pump bag. Am I forgetting anything? Oh, a big heavy coat. And a baby blanket. Yes, that's it.
First lesson learned: Taking a flight that has a pit stop in Portland, but takes off at a more reasonable time in the morning (like 9:30) is actually more preferable to the nonstop that leaves the airport at 6:40 in the morning because when you're trying to get out of the house with a baby and you *can*not*be*late* and you need two hours to get you and the afore mentioned list of crap through security, you're basically not going to bed the night before.
Trust, me, I know.
Mads and I went to be around 7:30 pm. I woke up again at 10:30 pm. Fed Maddy (who promptly fell back to sleep). Did my imitation of a dairy cow with a pump and tried to go back to bed. But being the worry wart type A stress case I am, stared at the ceiling until 1:15 - scared I'd miss the alarm and mentally plotting out the order of each task I had to accomplish before walking out the door... That little inner dialog went something like this:
Okay get up before Maddy does - pump first, then wash your pump parts, pack all the last minute pump stuff and bottles, double check the house for anything else you needed to pack, zip up the suitcases and carry them to the car. Feed George. Scoop the litter. Shower, do your hair and makeup. Wake up Maddy, change her diaper. Put her in her super cute outfit. Feed her with the one bottle you left out. Burp her, put her in her car seat and go.... Wait. Should I shower first? What if she wakes up. I can wear her through all of those other tasks but I can't wear her in the shower. Well...except for cleaning the litterbox. That moby wrap is good, but the last place I want to drop her is in the litter box. Damn...what order....WHAT ORDER?!?!?
So...when the alarm went off at 1:30 and I had last looked at the clock at 1:15....ugh : I did indeed get all of the tasks done - and I even remembered to get dressed somewhere in there... However, Maddy was sure to let me know that she did NOT appreciate being woken up at 3:15 in order to eat and get dressed. She howled the entire time. She howled all the way to Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Ron's house, where we picked up Grandpa Ron. He drove us to the airport and dropped us off.
We managed to get our lugged checked without much hassle...and then headed to the dreaded Security Line. I thought we were off to a good start when Mr. TSA ID Checker Man waved me to the front of the line and told me to merge into the Family Line. I managed to get everything into bins, shoes off, and liquids and portable electronics in a separate bin. I managed to keep our diaper bag, pump bag, two plastic bins of shoes, coat, liquids and portable electronics, along with the stroller, which was now empty of one baby who was squirming in my arms, moving toward the x-ray machine. The week before our trip, I'd called the airport to see if I could go through security wearing Maddy in her Moby Wrap so that I had two free hands. I was told that I could not wear a carrier, I had to physically carry her through. However, friendly Ms. TSA X-Ray Lady told me, "oh darlin...next time wear your sling through x-ray with your baby. As long as you don't have a coat over it, it's just fine and much easier," as if I was a traveling nube.
Second Lesson Learned: Sometimes the TSA guys need to get a life....really....do I seem like a suspected terrorist? If I was a terrorist, would I be doing my best to blend in, not stand out like a store thumb? That being said, I need to find a mini bottle of everything baby related if I plan to travel frequently with Maddy.
On the other side of the scanner thingymambob, Mr. TSA Bag Checker Man decided to go through our diaper bag. All while I'm trying to get my shoes on, belongings gather, while not dropping Maddy. Suddenly Mr. TSA Bag Checker Man says, "Ma'am, you'll need to step to the side, I need to run a chemical test on this Desitin." Okay....fine....
As I'm standing at the end of the little shoot where your bags get X-Rayed, Mr. TSA X-Ray Wand Waver Man says, "Ma'am, I need for you to remove your belongings and continue past Security." And I said, "yeah and I need a multi million dollar winning lottery ticket or that stroller you're all so intently examining so that I can put my baby down on something 14 trillion passengers haven't touched so I can gather my belongings."
Wait. My bad, I thought that, I didn't say it. What I really said was, "I'd love to if I could get my stroller back, doh head". Okay, I whispered the last part under my breath...but still. The stroller was returned by Mr. TSA Bag Checker Man, along with my diaper rash creme. Mr. TSA Bag Checker Man did let me know that I was over the allotted number of ounces in carry on items. You see, my Desitin tube is 4.5 ounces and you're only allowed 3. However...where in the heck am I supposed to find a smaller tube? Am I supposed to squeeze some in an unmarked baggie so I don't go over, for Pete's sake? That Desitin, it's daaaaangerous stuff....I'm liable to hijack my flight.....
Back off people, head for the Caribbean STAT or I'll schmere Desitin on your a$$!
Third Lesson Learned: Maddy will get poop on her shoes every time if you change her diaper and don't take them off first. She does not understand that you are trying to keep her looking clean and cute for her adoring fans.
Maddy did quite well on the flight - she only cried a bit as we were getting settled. I think the jostling around was tough on her. During the actual take off and landing, however, she was a dream. The toughest part of the actual flight was how tired my arm got! I was holding her cradle style for her bottle and hot dang my arm got tired doing that for nearly an hour! I understand there are safety issues in not letting passengers use baby carriers during take off and landing, but shoooeee I sure would have liked to have used it!
Our Papa picked us up in Boise - I think Maddy and he were equally happy to see each other. We spent the first couple of days at Gigi and Papa's house. Maddy played and played and played with her Gigi and Papa....and she discovered her fingers! Daddy had been diligently trying for two or so weeks to get Maddy to suck on her fingers. She just had no interest. But suddenly when she was playing with her Gigi, she figured it out - and man you just couldn't stop her.
And it was the cutest.thing.ever. Not that I'm biased or anything ;)
While we were Thursday we hung out with Papa while Gigi was at work. Thursday night, Auntie Bree (my sister) came to visit. It's been awhile since Bree held a baby that small - since our nephew Carson was born. Maddy re initiated her by puking all down her back.
Maddy - 1
Aunt Bree - 0
Friday, Maddy and I went visiting. We went to see Auntie Bree at Macy's (actually, Momma shopped while Auntie Bree showed Maddy off to every employee of Macy's). Uncle Drew (my brother) joined us during our shopping extravaganza as he works just across the street. He kept having to say, "I'm the uncle, not the dad".
We also got to visit with my Uncle Kent, Aunt Linda and their two girls Abbey and her husband Alan, and Andrea. It was such a *wonderful* visit. Maddy took quite a liking to the girls and her great Aunt and Uncle. Usually, my Dad's family gets together in huge groups and it's really hard to have nice one on one conversations for longer than a few minutes. It was SO nice to spend a couple hours with my cousins without a ton of people around. They are absolutely beautiful, intelligent women. Both of them are teachers and I think that the kids they teach are about the luckiest around. I really look forward to my next visit home and getting to see them again.
Saturday, Gigi and Papa invited some friends over and we ate good ole fashioned fried chicken. Since my dad has retired, he's taken over cooking....and low and behold, the man can cook! Seriously! He makes the best friend chicken I've ever had - and that's including my grandmother's fried chicken. NUM! Maddy got to meet some my parents friends and most importantly, her cousin Carson.
Carson is 5. He'll be 6 in September....and he's an absolute hoot. I might be partial, but I think he's one of the cutest 5 year olds on the planet. Maddy was asleep when Carson got there and he asked me if she'd wake up soon. He told me that when he did, he was going to teach her "something". When I asked him what he was going to teach her, he paused, put his finger to his chin like he was deep in thought, then said, "Today....today I'm going to teach her to walk". Later, Carson was look at her mouth and noticed that she didn't have any teeth...but she had "those things that hold your teeth in" (meaning her gums). Before he left, he couldn't give her enough kisses. He kept coming back for more. I think he likes her just a little bit.
Sunday we headed over to Nana's (my mom's house) for the remainder of our stay. My 92 year old grandfather and his wife Vivian came to visit Maddy for the day. Maddy was a little timid around Grandpa at first, it might have been his deep voice, but she soon warmed up. She liked Vivian right away....there's nothing like a grandma! We attempted a web cam conversation with my sister in Hawaii, but technology and a tired, wound up one year old cousin prevented us from having much talk time.
Monday it was just Nana, Maddy and Mommy hanging out in their pajamas. Maddy and Nana had a great day playing and snuggling and telling each other stories.
Tuesday, Maddy and I visited Gigi at her office for one last snuggle before we returned home while Nana was at work. We were also able to have dinner with one of my very dear friends, Janel and her partner Mr. Richter...now dubbed Uncle Mr. Richter. Maddy was quite enthralled with them and they, I think, with her. I do love my life in Seattle, but when I am able to spend time with dear friends that I don't see often, it makes me miss home even more.
Wednesday, we visited Auntie Bree at Macy's one last time. We intended to see Uncle Drew as well, but unfortunately he was very sick :( We went back to Papa's house so he could take us to the airport. The trip back was much less eventful, with the exception of the TSA gal who wanted to make me try and fold up my stroller to put through the x-ray machine instead of just scanning it all while I was holding my baby. Yeah...no, not happenin.
And we got all 334 ounces of frozen breast milk through security. This child better not have a milk allergy because I have a freaking ton of it saved up for her.
Maddy's had her first visit to Spud Land, Momma survived a week away from Daddy, Daddy survived without Momma and missed his baby like crazy...and life goes on.