Monday, November 22, 2010

Things I learned in California: Lesson 1

It's not the flight with children that is to be feared. It's getting through the airport.  

Here's our entourage: An XXL double stroller. A huge car seat. A matching second huge car seat. Diaper bag. Laptop bag. Duffel bag full of toys and food. Roller carry on suitcase. Toddler who doesn't speak English and runs like a wild animal the minute she is set down. Preschooler with major sensory issues who woke up 2 hours early and hasn't eaten breakfast. Mother and father who have never flown with kids and rarely flown without kids.

We start by checking our one gigantic suitcase packed so full that the zipper is slowly popping apart because we're too cheap to pay the fees to check more.

Then we innocently herd ourselves into the security checkpoint line. I start reading the signs. Laptops must be removed from laptop bags. Hmm. That's a problem because we worked for 20 minutes this morning wedging two laptops into one laptop bag to bring our total of 87 things to carry down to 86. But we do it.

The next sign is about liquids. I bite my lip and eye the diaper bag. No telling what's in that abyss. I start emptying it. We've taken up 5 plastic bins so far.

Things start moving faster. I take off all of our shoes, my belt (enter next problem, my pants start falling down because my body doubles in width above my pants and the laws of physics start to take effect). Silas naturally goes exploring and is embarrassed when security sternly tells him he can't be back here. Brian is trying to shove the double stroller into the x-ray machine (ramming is probably more accurate) while security tells him Sir, you're going to have to check that, and people are starting to make comments and get uncomfortably close in an effort to speed things along. The plastic bin count is up to 10 and I am informed that I need to meet with a security guard to test the liquid in our sippee cups. Silas is suddenly terrified of the metal detector and I drag him kicking and screaming with my free hand, squeeze the little monkey against me with my other arm, and squirt the guard with the sweat shooting out of my face as I walk through. I hear Brian yelling in the background "Angie, they're saying the car seats are too big to fit through the machine!" I look at him with fireball eyes that scream "Deal with it and don't even think about letting them take our car seats!"

Silas has a massive meltdown at my feet and Madison tries to do acrobatics to get out of my arms as I watch the security guard wave test strips over the water in their sippee cups. Ok ma'am, you're good to go! So I run off through the airport and hop on a flight to St. Lucia. Then I snap back to reality and wrestle my child to the ground to replace his shoes, take him behind the chairs to give a spanking for the horrible behavior, find my younger escapee, meet up with my husband and tell him lets not let this ruin our trip, give him a high five, send him to grab breakfast while I reassemble all of our belongings, and see him return with a gigantic gooey cinnamon roll (that won't be hard to feed to two fussy children on a cramped plane at all).

It was so hot in that airport.

We were the last people to board the plane. Brian hit people with the car seat he had heaved behind his back as he squeezed down the aisle like a pack mule.

Why was I so worried about the flight? It went great. The monkey was strapped in the car seat and I had an endless supply of food and toys. It was so fun to see the excitement on Silas' face and hear his little voice say Are we floating in the air? Is this your plane Daddy? Are we going backwards? We're flying up high in the sky!

The other good news is that we knew what to expect on the way home. 
It went the same, just without the element of surprise.


  1. I relate to every-single-word of this post. We have been flying to Florida 2 times a year since the kids were born to see Shawn's family and no matter how good you prepare it is always an experience. This Christmas will be special because we won't need a double or single stroller!!! Hope you had fun in Cali!

  2. Oh my gosh, Angie, you make me laugh. I can picture your experience in my head so clearly only because we've been there too. Doesn't it seem like every person's face is staring at you thinking, "Oh great, it's THOSE people." Oh well. I now have compassion on people traveling with kids. It really is the airport that is the worst! Oh and tell Brian Mike and I dig the new beard!

  3. We did it with one and are too scared to try two! Brave parents. Glad you're home safe!

  4. It's like I was there. I always share your blog with my sis. We both always have good laugh.

  5. Does this not strain your 'faith' even a little bit? What kind of benevolent God would have you go through this horror, rather than pointing a finger down towards the earth, and sweeping you through this travel torment? Maybe he put the beach at the other end, to make up for it:-)