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 started...my 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.