Thursday, April 16, 2009

Secrets to traveling with a toddler

The only secret to traveling across the country by yourself with a toddler is feign insanity so that all the people around you will avoid getting in your way, chances are by the end of the day you won't have to fake it anymore and you will be genuinely crazy. If the airport staff is on their game they might even have a padded van waiting for you to get off the plane straight-jacket and a room at Butler with your name on it!

Alexis and I left for RI yesterday morning at about 9:30 and we were "blessed" with the most unhelpful cab driver in the world. Luckily he came to pick us up in a van so there was room for our gigantic suitcase and the gigantic jogging stroller that I brought under the false hope that I would be going for runs this week, not going to happen. Well the van was the last of our lucky streak with the cab ride over there. Not only did I have to fold the stroller and put Lexi's carseat in the car (which I fully expected having to do) but I also had to figure out how to fold down the back seat of the van and load the suitcase in because apparantly the driver had never had to do this before. I wasn't put off at all at this point because no biggie, I don't mind lifting the suitcase and putting down the seat, whatever. But when we got to the airport I told him our airline then watched him drive right by it, keeping the meter running, and letting me off about a 1/4 mile away from the check-in spot I needed to be at. Did I mention I had a huge suitcase, a huge stroller, a huge very bulky toddler carseat, a computer bag and an overstuffed purse? Bye-bye taxi driver. Alexis obviously at this point refused to get in her stroller (this became a running theme for the rest of the day)I left the bag back where the cab dropped us off and walked over to the check in with the stroller computer, purse and baby where a very nice airline employee came back to help me with the suitcase and car seat. Once we got to check in we went to get our tickets, assisted by the same airline guy and turns out the reservations were made in my married name but my maiden name is still on my driver's license, courtesy of the friendly folks at the CA DMV. That was a 15 minute ordeal because the only piece of identification I had with the Caldwell last name was my Costco card and shockingly that is not considered a valid form of Identification, I mean come on, Costco doesn't just let any Tom Dick or Alicia sign up... right? We eventually got our tickets and worked our way over to security, Oh Security, the highlight of each and every trip to the airport, I was excited now. I got the computer out of the bag, our shoes off and the stroller folded up ( this was easy because I had no baby to remove before folding) just to be told that my stroller on steroids would not fit through the xray machine. I was unfolding the stroller when Alexis decided it was time for a game of round and round. As my energentic daughter ran around me in circles screaming "ROUND ROUND ROUND" I caught a whiff of the Diaper A La Alexis and immediately contemplated the merits of banging my head against a concrete wall and humming something soothing, but decided that the moment of peace would be short lived after I was ushered out of sight for a cavity search due to suspicious behavior. After we made it through with a quick check of Alexis' juice with the magic vapor wand, I think it was so quick because the people around us were dropping like flies due top the stench radiating from the toddler's bottom half, we were off in search of a bathroom. Whoever had the brilliant idea of putting a sink 2 inches from the changing tail should have to change my daughter's poo-poo diaper using said changing table as punishment. All I wanted was to get a fresh diaper on her and all she wanted to do was climb in the sink and make a gigantic mess, Lucky for me I outweigh her by 100 lbs (give or take, let's not get into numbers) so she was easily overpowered with pure braun, although she definitely won the attitude portion of the Battle of The Diaper. We then got a banana that kept her busy until it was time to board the plane, thank heaven for small miracles!

When we fly Alexis likes to consider herself The Mayor of The Sky. She turns on the charm and stops to greet every person on the plane, every person. I like to sit in the back with her because then people are less likely to sit next to us and she is less likely to kick those people and climb on top of them, it makes for a happier flight for everyone if it is just the two of us in a row, trust me. the first flight was a quicky and I do have to give it to her, she is an excellent flyer. Not a tear, she love love loves takeoff and looking out the window and peeking over the seats to do her mayoral duties keeping everyone seated by us entertained with games of peekaboo and shared raisins. Well we got off the plane in Phoenix, and staying true to her earlier decision, had a complete and total breakdown when she caught sight of the stroller. Well I think it was clear to everyone getting off the plane that the angelic toddler they spent the last hour playing with was not to blame for the out of control devil-child they were now bearing witness to, so I caught quite a few evil eyes as people passed us by, causing me once again to abandon all hope of a stroller ride. we went to the bathroom for a much less dramatic diaper change than the first then got some chicken nuggets and plopped her in front of the god-sent TV playing Scooby-Doo. She made friends with a woman in a wheel chair (which she reffered to as a big girl stroller) and played another exuberant game of round and round, effectively wearing her out so that she slept for an hour on the next flight. The rest of the flight was spent peek a booing with the girls in the seat in front of us and watching the critically acclaimed film, "Elmo in Grouchland". All in all we got to RI in one piece at 10:00 pm, brain activity in tact and our flight staff must have been distracted just enough because there were no men in white coats waiting to take me away when we landed hee hee hoo hoo haa haa!

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