Plane Truth: Infant Interrogation, Thing One Barf and the Twist at The End
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I got a lot of great advice from you about our plane trip this week. Good tidbits about things to bring to do, eat and avoid — also good stuff on narcotics and other self-medication that might be necessary. All insightful, like you had been to ‘Nam and back. I took most of your advice (except the one tip which was to take separate flights), and everything that could have been avoided…was. Except for what couldn’t.
Apparently, you can’t plan for the unexpected, and I think I deserve an honorary doctorate from Tarrant County Community College for that observation.
The first thing you should know is our plane trips were really a lot of fun.
Here’s a picture of Thing Two getting ironic in the TSA security tub.
I know it’s hard to see in this phone camera thumbnail, but notice (if you can) the two officers in the background glaring our direction. They each found different, fascinating ways of being unattractive. The one looking over her glasses came up to us and said YOU CAN’T DO THAT KIND OF THING HERE, and then proceeded to ask that we remove Thing Two’s shoes. Because my 10-month old is the next shoe-bomber with her strappy sandals and satanic grin. We also removed her jacket to avoid an infant pat down.
The other irony was they let Drew take his Green Eggs and Ham sippy cup (filled with water) past security. The second TSA agent, the one who had managed to achieve a less pronounced hideousness, said they must perform a “test” on it. She let Drew squirt a sample from his cup onto a little strip. The whole thing felt like a big show. Like they were trying to deter three-year-old terrorists who might want to transport nitroglycerin. Please. Like that’s enough to deactivate militant preschoolers. I think Drew saw right through it, chuckled, and then went back to reenacting the Cotton-Eyed Joe and pooping in his giant diaper.
We Walked up the Long Porto-hallway, Approaching the Plane Doors.
The aircraft’s high-pitched hum was holding a steady like the plane had been waiting for us since the dawn of time, or at least since the dawn of that particular day. Drew stopped. Let go of my hand. Turned to walk the other direction as if he had made a wrong turn.
Come on, baby, I say. It’s time to get on the plane – oh boy!
Oh God. Here it comes. I’m going to be the woman who drags a screaming child onto a plane. Maybe Jesus will return…now! 5-4-3-2-1!
Want me to carry you? I ask. Like no big deal, like whatever. I COULD carry you or you could go back home by yourself and, you know, do whatever you want to do with whomever you want to do it.
Yes, he says.
And that was the end of it. I scoop him up, his legs dangling, his porthole eyes swimming furiously, his little fingers twitching imperceptibly when the attendant waves at him.
But the thing that made our return flight so miserable had nothing to do with the kids at all.
What It Was: a Stomach Virus.
Our friends’ daughter had it first. She made her debut puke almost the very moment we boarded the plane for Colorado. Then her dad caught it. Then early Sunday morning Drew comes into our bed whimpering and squirming and saying “Don’t want to spit up” and then yaks into the wooden-seat toilet of the cabin.
Early Monday morning I sit up in bed in total denial. This isn’t happening to me. Nope. No. Until it did happen. My stomach was twisting itself into a hard little walnut, pulling my abs and various intestines up inside like a black star.
Our friend, who is a doctor, gave me some Zofran, a quaint reminder of my morning sicknesses. When we thanked him for his hospitality as we were leaving, he jokes, “Yea, I bet, thanks for the gastroenteritis. Heh.”
So despite having to will myself not to vomit on the plane ride home, I felt it was a small price to pay for Both Things to be so content. I don’t mean to be heretical, but it was like God had made me a deal to trade my well being for the calmness of the kids. So while I had prepared for tantrums, freak-outs, blow-outs, hunger, pain and boredom, I hadn’t planned for this: me doubled over in my seat, the little white paper bag strategically pulled out a little for easy access, a can of Sierra Mist trying to soothe the rolling tides within, all while Madeline twists little wisps of my hair around her pinky from Gordon’s lap.
Who had planned for MY eventuality? Nobody. That’s who. And maybe that’s what motherhood means at times: being the end of the line, bringing up the rear, the last man standing on a quiet wall. The conscientious Titanic lifeboat coordinator.
Not for the faint of heart, if you ask me.
But anything’s better than working for TSA.
If you liked this blog, you might also like:
1. 5 Ways Not to Hate Your Life at the Pediatrician’s Office
2. Anxiety. So Hot Right Now.