Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Friendly Skies

when you have three kids at the ages our kids are at (5 months, 3 years, 6 years), you don't go anywhere without a kid on your person. grocery store? take a kid. get your hair cut? take a kid. get the oil changed? take a kid. pick up drycleaning? take a kid.

you get my drift.

so, i knew when i decided to take this cross-country trek to visit my grad school roommate in colorado, i'd be -- you guessed it -- taking a kid.

make that two.

this is how it all friend, you see, is having her first baby. initially thought to myself, "things are busy. i have a 5-month-old baby. i'll send a gift." but come on. she's seen me get drunk and moon people. that type of bond only comes along once in a lifetime. so, i decided i wanted to see her. and in the meantime, wouldn't it be fun to show my oldest child where mommy used to live before she was a mommy (leaving out the drunk, ass-showing parts of course).

brave? insane? both?

at any rate, i got all my shit and their shit together, which is a lot of shit (including a car seat and car seat base, thank you very much), had hubby and #2 drop us at the airport, and we were on our way.

there are many tips and tricks i have learned over the years when it comes to traveling with small children (i.e., wrap some new toys and have them open on the plane. it'll buy you at least half-an-hour). still, no matter how many things you pull out of your mary poppins carpet bag, when you travel with kids under five you either emerge irreparably scarred and damaged from the experience, vowing never ever to do it again. or, you learn from it and hope for better next time.

i fall somewhere in between. sort of like a hopeful crazy person.

still...traveling alone with kids? this was new terrain for me. and yes, i knew there would be moments that would shake me to the core. and there would be lessons. many, many lessons.

first, expect to get your bag searched by tsa. there is just no way when you have a fussy baby on your hip while simultaneously shoving four of those grey, bacteria-laden trays through the x-ray machine, folding a stroller and making sure your older child has stripped off all apropriate clothing to get through security that the airline gods won't add one more thing to your plate just for shits and giggles. it's just the way it goes. oh, and the guy will condescendingly remind you to take out your computer next time as your baby screams in your ear and your older kid whines that she's thirsty.


second, expect ryan gosling to sit next to you and your kids on the plane (and, yes, i am happily married to the father of my children, but that doesn't mean i'm blind). or someone that looks exactly like him. and, no, i'm not talking some notebook-ass shit here. i'm talking about having a hot guy bearing witness to your hot mess.

expect to humiliate yourself in front of ryan gosling in some utterly inconceivable way. like you'd never imagine farting in front of a hot guy right? in my case, i fell asleep with the baby strapped to my chest in a baby bjorn and proceeded to drool on his head. let me repeat that. i drooled on my sleeping child. to make matters worse, when you are seated next to a 6-year-old you can't expect to just wipe away said drool and pretend the whole thing didn't happen.

"eeeeeeeew! mommy you droooled on nate's head! eeeeeew!"

"oh honey, i did not. i just spit on him. by accident."

because spitting on your infant is much more attractive to ryan gosling than drooling.

expect to accidentally expose your tits or something that has to do with your tits. best case scenario is that some accoutrement linked to breastfeeding will find its way out of your bag and into the unlikeliest of hands. worst case is that you end up flashing some poor unsuspecting fool as you attempt to wrestle, um breastfeed, your baby. for me, this meant dropping the cone part of my breast pump out of my carryon onto the floor and having it tumble several rows up only to be discovered by a grumpy businessman who proceeded to stand up, turn around, and hold it up while hollering out to the entire plane "did someone lose a funnel?"

crickets. and then...

"that's my mommy's breast pump!"

i raised my hand sheepishly and the guy, who looked like he'd just touched shit, quickly tossed the funnel to me.

expect to trip. probably over a kid. and definitely in front of other people. happened to me no less than three times.

expect that how you think things will go most definitely will not be how things actually go. oh yeah -- and get used to laughing at yourself.

and, finally, if all else fails, remember that this too shall pass. and room service will make it all better.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Growing Up

there is something about age six that is...magical. it's this intoxicating mix of your kid growing and becoming more independent while still remaining your baby.

our oldest turned six in march and since then it has been a whirlwind of "growth" moments. there's all the things that used to invoke a "come with me, mama" or "do it with me, mama" whine --ice skating, swimming, going to the bathroom at a restaurant -- that she now does without hesitation on her own.

there's the fact that her opinions are actually logical now and not just the mad ramblings of a toddler/preschooler. there's that she actually has this wicked, biting sense of humor that has me doubled over on a daily basis. there's that we laugh at the same stuff. and not just poops and farts either, although that stuff is still way funny.

there's that she buckles her little brother (the older one) up in the car when it's time to run errands. there's that she comforts the baby when he's crying by making funny faces. there's that she tells her brother to hold hands when it's time to cross the street. there's that she can read and we don't have much longer where we can spell things we don't want her to understand.

there's that she simply gets it more than not these days. she sort of understands a lot of how things work in our little world and her place in it.

like I said...magical.

and along with this magical age comes a new emotion for this mother: pride. i see her grow and discover and become. and I'm proud. to think...she actually came out of me. i actually gave birth to this chatty little creature. a short six years ago, i was nursing her tiny, wrinkled, red little self. and look at her now. i was excited when she rolled over for the first time as an infant, took her first steps, said her first word...but, man, seeing her read, swim, ask the waitress for more ketchup on her own? it's those first teeny tiny steps she's taking to not needing me anymore...and, just like every mom before me, i'll miss it when she's grown up, but i'll know it's right when she's not clinging to me anymore. and good.

watching her do all these things, i can also picture her leaving home for college, but just for a split second. then I push the thought away. she may be doing all these crazy, wonderful new things by herself, but she's also still holding tightly onto my arm as we walk to the park.

for now, still my baby.