Friday, November 19, 2010

Lucky # 13

Tomorrow Hannah will go on her 13th plane ride in 8 months.

Tomorrow will be my 13th plane ride with Hannah.

Out of those 13 flights, 9 of them will have been without Adam.

First of all, I want to say how GRATEFUL I am that I've been able to do it. That we've had the money, time, and opportunity to have such fast travel access to our families in Utah and California. The best word to describe the way I feel about Hannah growing up away from her extended family is grief. I feel like she will miss out on so much growing up around people who love and adore her(luckily we have FABULOUS friends here that we love and that treat us like family).

I was talking to my mom about flying with a Hannah. It gave me a headache just thinking about it. For those of you who feel "inconvenienced" when you hear a crying baby on the plane, let me tell you what it is like to fly with a toddler by yourself in 2010.

Check in is not so bad. Standing in line with Hannah in a stroller, she stands up (still strapped in) fusses a bit (because she sees all the new people and bags with shiny buttons) but for the most part she is fine. The biggest hassle is lugging your luggage, your baby, and making sure you have all the necessary accessories. Then you get up to the counter with your drivers license, birth certificate, and sometimes eticket or whatever. You say bye bye to one of your bags and you are off. You are heading to the elevator wielding the stroller with one hand, the carry on with another, and trying not to hit people while your backpack sways back and forth (cause lets be honest, you are not going in a straight line at this point).

Ten minutes later you find yourself at airport security. This is the BIGGEST hassle. Here is how it goes.
1) Step up to the counter
2) Breathe
3) Place your backpack and carry on on the counter
4) Unzip everything, take out any liquids, electronics etc.
5) Try to comfort baby who just saw all her milk/food brandished and now wants it
6) Scoot forward a couple of feet on the counter by pushing your bags with your arms and your stroller with your legs
7) Try to ignore disgruntled comments (because what makes me think I have the right to be so slow)
8) Get passed up by lots of people who invariable move my stuff
9) Take off my shoes, take off Hannah's shoes (because every responsible mother hides their tiny bombs in their tiny child's tiny shoes)
10) Fold the stroller up (this is where it gets hard) and place it on the counter.
11) Chase child (Excuse me miss, you can't leave your luggage unattended)
12) Hold squirming child in one arm, push stroller, bags, shoe bucket, electronic bucket, with other arm (more disgruntled comments)
13) Get scanned (What? You mean I wasn't carrying a bomb)and hope you remembered to get everything out lest they take you over to a separate place to test your liquids (yep, this happened to me)
14) Get stroller out, try to carry bags and shoes to an out of the way spot (dropping much of it along the way "Excuse me miss, you cannot leave your shoes unattended)
15) At this point I am sweating, Hannah is ready to run, I need to get everything back in bags, zipped up, situated so we can go to the tram.

It takes about ten minutes from this point to walk to the tram to take us to our gates. Hannah, me, carry on, and backpack try to squeeze ourselves into a tiny spot while people push and trip over us.

At this point dirty looks and jerky comments are up to about 110 while people who have stepped forward to help = Z-E-R-O. Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas.

I make it to the gate. But if you think Hannah wants to sit strapped in her car seat for the next 30 minutes then think again. She's pooped in her diaper and wants to read all the books she passed on the way to the gait. Desperate to keep her happy we walk around with all our stuff for 30 minutes (knowing that Hannah will be forced to sit on my lap).

Boarding is a blur.

We sit on the plane for a good 20 minutes assuming there are no delays (out of 12 flights we've had 2 delays that we were sitting on the plane for over an hour beyond what we should) Hannah gets bored in about a second. I have books, a few toys, I try to feed her, I try to distract her with the safety pamphlets...Hannah is not a sitter, she is a mover. She is not content. Our first 8 flights were a lot better because she was under a year but honestly--it gets worse every flight.

On the plane is where you usually find nice people because they've made their flight so now they give the nice looks to Hannah and for the most part they are pretty patient. Plus, it is only an hour so it really isn't a big deal. She is usually pretty good on the actual flight and has only had one code red meltdown in which she gave me a pretty good scratch and bite.

By the time I've arrived I get a surge of energy and after getting my luggage (which is always waiting for me by the time I make it down to baggage) I usually am greeted by a happy, familiar face. At which point, I unload all my burdens and BREATHE.

Photo courtesy of Fail Blog. It is actually a picture of a friend of a friend. That is how I feel. Imagine when I have TWO kids *shudder*

All in all I'm psyched to be heading to Utah tomorrow for Thanksgiving AND there are no plane rides on the way home! Adam is driving up to meet us on Wednesday after school.


Bea said...

What a hassle!!!!! but you have made it so far!!!! and all these people to love you at this end!!!! it is surely worth it?
I hope so.

Sheena said...

I totally wish people would just be more patient and tolerant when you have kids..especially at the airport. I haven't done the plane thing yet, but I have seen many families and I just feel for them cause it cannot be easy! I am sure especially in Vegas you get lots of jerks too (I am sure there are lots of people who don't have kids). Sometimes I get so frustrated with the lack of kindness and patience from some folks.Good luck with your travels however! You can do it :)

Melinda said...

Yep, sounds 100% accurate! I guess it's times like this that I can be grateful for the unexpected 6 year gap between children, because Sammi is completely self sufficient at this point when it comes to flights, because right now while things are getting worse, I PROMISE they get better!