Thursday, August 7, 2014

On Travel With a Toddler, Part 2

It was only one day of travel, but I DID IT ALONE. Well, not alone. I had a two-year-old with me, and anyone with a two-year-old knows that means you are never really alone.

I don't really mind this, especially not for one day. Even at home, when there are other people around, he still really wants to watch me pee. My son is at the age when potty-training is either hours or months away (there's not telling), but he is fascinated by all things potty related.

So, my point? I started out on my day of travel already very familiar with the idea of not peeing alone.

On the potty note, let me start by thanking every business, airport, restaurant, mall, etc. who had the decency to install family bathrooms.  Thanks to these bathrooms, I have learned how to leap faster than a speeding bullet over my child in order to hold the door closed, lest he open the door to the entire airport while I'm mid-pee (I mean, there's not peeing alone and there's peeing in front of the entire airport). This new leaping skill, though, is far more enjoyable than stopping my son from crawling under the bathroom stall wall into the stall next door.

Onto things not pee related...

My in-laws dropped me off at the airport. I strapped Ari into his carrier, and we commenced our day of togetherness. His biggest complaint all day was that I wouldn't let him out of the carrier when we were on our own in the airport.  We had a backpack of wonders (toddler entertainment and snacks) to carry with us, and I couldn't leave that unattended to chase him through the airport, nor did I want to chase him through the airport with said backpack bouncing angrily along on my back.  So, I carried the toddler and liked it.

Of course our plane was delayed, but nothing like the first part of our trip, and we were thrilled to get on the plane together.

Once on the plane, our game of "what will occupy Ari for the longest amount of time?" began. It went something like this:

  • Ari asks for something
  • Ari says he no longer wants that something
  • I give Ari something else 
  • Ari drops something else, and the lovely people behind us hand it back
  • Ari declares, "Want sit by Mommy!"
  • I tell Ari he has to stay in his seat
  • "Want sit by MY mommy!"
  • I offer Ari food of some kind
  • Ari finagles his way into my lap to eat the snack
  • Ari stuffs his face full of yogurt chips until I put them away to save for a sanity saving tool later
  • I distract Ari with something from the Bag of Wonders so that I can hide the food
  • Ari gets really excited about playing with empty containers until he loses a lid.
  • Ari considers losing his s*** over the lost lid, "Want it! Want my wid!" but is quickly distracted by the next toy from the Bag of Wonders.
All in about 15 minutes.

How many more of these 15 minute blocks do we have to go?  I tried not to look at my watch for fear of watching time actually crawl backwards.

Once we reached a cruising altitude on our first flight, the kind woman next to us, who says that she used to travel with three kids (how on earth...?), let us out so that we can go to the restroom.  

The flight attendant suggests I go up front, since they have a changing table.

"Yes, but you don't allow us to wait in line for the front restroom, which means I have to run up there at the exact moment it's available."


"So, I'll use this one..."


I have to interrupt myself here to suggest that since it's a Federal Aviation Requirement that no one wait in line for the restrooms at the front of the line, maybe we can institute some kind of electronic line? Or something? Anywho...

I go in, get everything settled - Ari is being incredibly patient - and I find out that's because he has poop ALL over his bottom, just shy of leaking out of his clothes. Mmmmm kay.  I change him, but I didn't bring clothes into the restroom, so I get all kinds of stares heading back to my seat with a toddler in a t-shirt and diaper. Have you never seen a toddler with no pants on? C'mon, how is that possible? I promptly re-pant my child with something not reeking of poo, and we move back to the 15 minute cycle stated above (minus the under the chair part, because that only happened once).

Our first flight finally landed, and thank goodness, my wonderful husband found us a flight that would only land in another city - I did not need to get off and make a connecting flight. Instead, Ari bounced around, we took another (less dramatic) potty break, and life went on.

Flight 2 had a slightly different cycle, because we had a new seatmate, a ten-year-old girl, which meant that about every 20 minutes Ari, and I would have a conversation like this:

"Who is dat?"

"That's the girl sitting next to us."

"Mommy, who is dat boy?"

"That is a girl who is traveling with her family and who is sitting next to us."

"Hi Boy! Hi Boy!"

Then the usual cycle of toys/snacks/lost something/new something would continue, until my favorite moment happened...right around...

  • Ari gets really excited about playing with empty containers until he loses a lid.
  • Ari considers losing his s*** over the lost lid, "Want it! Want my wid!" but is quickly distracted by the next toy from the Bag of Wonders.
  • Instead of losing his s***, Ari takes matters into his own hands and climbs under the seat to find the lid
  • Right at that moment, the flight attendant returns with the juice and water (not gin and juice) I ordered for two of us
  • Flight attendant kindly offers to put lids on both drinks, not just Ari's 
  • I have to decline the drink entirely, because my child now has 3/4 of his body under his seat

1.5. hours to go...

Eventually, we landed.  

Of course, we had to navigate down to baggage claim and to where my fantastic mother was meeting us.

Since we had to travel the five miles (it's that long, right?) from the plane to baggage claim, Ari had to return to the carrier.  He was so happy about it, can't you tell?

 "Ari WALK myself!" 

"Sorry, little man."

All in all, we managed.  Hey, I run 13.1 miles for fun. For. Fun.  So, like six hours of travel with a toddler is survivable.

And, you know what? While I never want to fast-forward Ari's growth, I can say that I'm not hugely upset that this was the only time I'll be on a plane alone with Ari @2.  He's developing so fast, and I know that as he gets older, travel will change and will become less a game of, "How much can a mother's brain take before it implodes? and more "Hey, Ari, can you tell me what our altitude is right now?"  

Plus, I can totally check "Fly across the country alone with a toddler" off my bucket list. What? That's not on everyone's list?

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