The Connection Runners + [travel]

From the Parenting Book I'll Never Write: Flying

Hey, there friendly readers. Happy Friday! At 3:44 p.m., I've already watched 16 Elmo videos, ate half of a Chobani honey-nana kids yogurt, and changed five diapers. I'd like to say today's been a success, but the real indicator will be whether I make it to 9:30 p.m. with a beer in hand.

Meanwhile, today's post kicks off a series I've been wanting to write for some time now. I've often discussed the ins and outs of being a new mom (okay, more poopy outs than ins), but I feel that these discussions warrant an actual title.
The series's title serves as both an official warning to people who don't want to hear more about barf and boobs as well as an indication that these posts, in fact, will never be made into a book.

Because who really needs yet another parenting book? Not you if you just read these posts!
Not really. These posts will provide little advice in the way of child-rearing and more in the way of mindless momified brain dumps that allow me to void myself of otherwise useless information.

Enjoy!
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On to today's topic: flying.

Whenever I fly, I imagine one of two scenarios going down:

1) Samuel L. Jackson has to save me from scores of slimy snakes. Don't know if I'm more afraid of snakes or Samuel L. Jackson.

2) It's the year 2000, and I'm Devon Sawa in Final Destination. Except I don't have a creepy premonition that allows me to escape the plane before it blows up in takeoff. I'm on the plane when it blows up during takeoff.

Both scenarios are ugly, but they turn downright horrific when you add a 5-month-old to the mix. And a late night flight. And a connection in Denver that was almost missed.

Thus, for the flight to Seattle last Thursday, my apprehension was through the roof bulkhead. I was so sure that something (i.e., everything) was going to go wrong that I gladly would've downed 14 Vicodins or whatever other "it's over the counter which is totally okay" drug people use to calm down.

Luckily, before embarking, I ran into two flying-with-baby posts from fellow moms: one from Jen, one from Marie. Both made me feel somehow less anxious, but I still worried about getting angry side-eyes from dudes with briefcases who just wanted to get home from a dreadful business trip where they'd learned about corporate synergy and did a lot of conferencing calling with Hong Kong.

Yet, here I am a week later, home and alive to tell you about it. Here are my observations, musings, and miscellaneous notes about flying with your spawn in tow.

1) Traveling with other people is helpful.

She knows Samuel is on the plane somewhere. Those are searching eyes.

I'm glad Kevin was duped into running that half-marathon because he's really good and calm and normal when it comes to travel. He also knows how to stack luggage nicely so he can carry the majority of it. Since Megan and Ryan were with us, too, they pitched in when needed because we paid them they're awesome friends like that.

2) But if you're solo, the airline folk are actually pretty helpful.
Though it was our first date with them, and first dates are always a little weird, we were very pleased with Southwest Airlines for lending their very expensive hands to us. We had no trouble checking our stroller and carseat, and the boarding process was quick and efficient. The only problem we did have was due to said nearly missed Denver connection. Because we were the last ones on the connecting flight, Kevin and I couldn't sit together, but we were at least able to finagle seats near one another amid some unsuspecting suckers.

3) A baby on your lap is uncomfortable, but mostly cute.
All I want to do on a plane is eat my free peanuts, window shop in Sky Mall, and go to sleep. You can't do any of that with a kid. She'll try to gank your free peanuts, eat your Sky Mall, and then sleep on YOU. The audacity!

But with bunny rabbit ears, you really can't be mad, right?

4) Window seats help keep your boobs undercover.
That Time magazine mom might not worry about people checking out her assets, but I'm a bit more conservative when it comes to mine. Since I knew Charlotte would need to eat right around takeoff, we snagged a window and a center seat on 2 of the 4 flights we were on. Although most people seemed oblivious anyway, Kevin helped to shield our activities from curious eyes, and any shred of dignity I had left melted onto the tarmac.

5) In-flight drinks are a must.
Just as soon as that final nighttime nursing session is done, bring on the $5 domestic. Yes, I'll pay the in-air premium for an otherwise mediocre beer just because I survived the boarding process alone.

6) Diaper bags make for one hell of a carry-on.
Even though Southwest allows two free checked bags and two free carryons per passenger, we stuffed everything we needed during the flight into C's bag. With all of the crap we were already schlepping around the airports, it helped to have a single, centralized location for boarding passes, wallets, phones, iPad, diapers, toys, etc...

7) This isn't the first time there's been a Baby on a Plane(!)

So I kind of just stole this one from Jen (alright, most points in this post are similar to others' experiences). The one thing that kept me mostly sane throughout this experience was remembering that I'm not the Only Parent Who's Ever Lived and that Charlotte isn't the Only Baby Who's Ever Flown. In fact, on every one of the four planes we were on, at least one other baby or toddler boarded, too. And some of them (gasp!) cried and did other baby things and people didn't even seem to notice.

Just before a very large and sweaty man offered me his seat while waiting at the gate. See? There are perks to having babies besides that huge tax deduction.

So that's the deconstructed tale of our first family flight. I'm glad we did it now, while she's still so young, so that we can force her on more cheesy family vacations later in life and at least she'll be accustomed to the plane.

I'm not the only one who...
-freaks out over flying?
-wants to know whatever happened to Devon Sawa?
-looks forward to seeing what wares Sky Mall is whoring out these days?

... right?