We had a BLAST being with family this past weekend. Our decision is not going to be an easy one, to say the least!! I'll write about the weekend a little later however, as this post is dedicated to our travel-athelon.
We were just traveling with just one child (and an infant child at that - how hard can that be?!). It's the first time we have ever just had ONE, so we were pretty stoked. We have never done the benedryl thing before, but because Joshy is just getting into the very-mobile-and-wiggly-mode, we thought we would cover all of the bases and give it a try. On the way over, it worked like a charm - he slept a lot of the way on the plane, with only a couple of cry times, which were stopped very quickly.
The return travel-tri-athelon, however, was a whole different story. It started bright and early as we did the 3 hour sprint to be to the airport by 8:00 am, which means we left at 5:00 am, which wasn't too bad until you factor in that we stayed up until 1:00 am talking (and laughing so much I thought my cheeks were going to break!!). We only scared a couple of cars on the drive with our weaving across the center line and made it safely to the airport in beautiful time to make our flight - even extra time to let Joshy play in the 'kids area'. "Perfect," I think - "he will get all of his wiggles out here and be the perfectly still-sitting child we dream of him being :). About 1/2 hour before the flight, we administer the benedryl, and then head down to the gate, where Joshy gets more and more drowsy, and the time ticks closer to departure. The only problem is... no one is boarding the plane. At 10 minutes to departure, I'm thinking "Wow, either there are only 5 people on this flight, or they are going for a world record in loading-passengers time". Neither was true - Finally an announcement comes on that the plane will not be leaving on time (big surprise there...). Not only that, but it's wasn't even at the airport, and they didn't know when it would arrive. Great.
After calling the Kendricks (BIG THANK YOU for taking the 2nd wave of the triple child watch!!) to let them know that they had to add some more time to their 'countdown to freedom from Brewer Babes', we settled in to wait, and Joshy... slept like a baby.
Fast forward 1 1/2 hours and we are finally called to a new gate and getting ready to board the plane (which, we later learned had to re-route and land at a different airport because it was 'getting low on fuel' c'mon if maverick can fly on fumes and save the day, can't you just make it into the right airport??!). Just as we are all around waiting to be called, Joshy wakes up, VERY groggy, and VERY unhappy. So the scene is people (who are grumpy to begin with) crowded around, waiting to finally board the plane, watching a couple trying to get all of our bags together, get our boarding passes, fold up the stroller, and handle a squaking human slinky.
My first real sign of, 'this is going to be a LONG flight' came when we were making our way to the seat, and heard the guy in the row right in front of us having an argument with the flight attendant about how the seats were 'too close' and he didn't have enough leg room. I'm thinking to myself, "Dear, kind sir, that is going to be the LEAST of your complaints in just a few minutes." Right on cue, Joshy gave a big squak as we sat down, and I think I could visibly see him shudder.
Here's a quick rundown of the next 3 hours of horror: Joshy, flailing and screaming to get down and go explore. Jerry, having just come off a weekend of starting the 'alpha dog' discipline tactic (you know, the church discipline where you take the screaming child out and just bear hug him to show that he won't get anywhere by screaming and he will actually have more freedom being inside the chapel than outside the chapel), takes and bear-hug-clamps Joshy, who then completely revolts with the only thing he can, his SCREAMS. The mortified mother (me) tries to take Joshy and nurse him. Joshy, beyond any type of consolation, proceeds to clamp down with his dagger-teeth to show that he's not so much into snacking about now, and starts screeching (he made sounds I've never heard made before from an infant!).
I bobble him around with every distraction I have in our bag - to no avail. He pops up to look at the person in back of us - which has often worked with him on planes. He is such a people person that he loves to entertain the people around him by getting their attention, then flashing his big dimple filled smile. This time however, he can't quite get the attention of the man behind us, because (are you ready for this complete TRUE yet bizarre arrangement??) the man behind us is blind. I'm so not kidding - the dark glasses, walking stick, being led to his seat by the flight attendant type of blind. No distractions coming from behind.
Meanwhile the 'not-enough-leg-room' man in front is noisily pushing his seat back and re-arranging to show his discomfort, only to be met with the double-stronger-than-human-feet kick from Joshy right against the back of the chair. I'm expecting the whip-lash court papers to be served at any time now...
This cycle pretty much continued the entire flight. At one point during one of the alpha-dog-bear-hug clamps, complete with screaming child, I just put my head in my hands and slunk down, trying desperately to melt into my seat, I saw on the floor of the aisle two feet pointed right at me. I looked up to see a woman (not the flight attendant, mind you) standing with her arms folded just staring at us. I quickly put my head back down as I reverted back to my best 3 year old if-I-can't-see-you-then-you-can't-see-me defense, which apparently worked because she didn't say anything and went back to her seat.
In all my years of flying, I swear I have never seen a plane deboard so fast. We got our bags, got to the car, as we were pulling on to the freeway for leg #3 of our tavel-athelon, we looked and saw Joshy... sleeping soundly in the back.
Ahhh.... the joys of travel....