Sleepys in Seattle

On Saturday we rushed around the house battening down various hatches while simultaneously crossing all crossable appendages that our flight would, in fact, take off. I blessed the people who urged us to take a non-stop flight many times during that process, because had I decided that the money a stop would save us was worth it, we would inevitably have not gotten to leave, as all our options routed us through New York. As it was, we headed to the airport mostly sure that we would, in fact, be taking off but still harboring a very slight dread that that would not be the case.

I have, clearly, not flown out of Dulles in a long time, because wow, it's changed. (For the better, mind you, but honestly, it's like a whole different airport.) They moved the security lines, which makes incredible sense, so the lines now no longer wind all the around check in booths. The doodle and I went through with no issues (just standard screening in the metal detector, no pat down or anything), Tim now has naked x-ray pictures of him online somewhere. (I kid. Mostly. You know those images are stored and that they'll inevitably get out at some point.) Anyway, our plane did leave and, keeping in mind the new era of flying where if they could figure out how to make you pay for having your seat pressurized, they would, we stocked up on snacks from a deli in the terminal before getting on board. At the last minute I grabbed a few extra bags of chips - this turned out to be a very, very good thing.

The doodle is 3.5. I know this. I know his attention span. I stocked up on lots of little books and coloring things and toys at the dollar store and didn't let him see them until on the plane to try and keep him interested and quiet and still 3 hours into the flight he was ready to be done. ("Mama, let's get off the airplane now. I'm done.") It didn't help that the air was ever so slightly choppy (the whole trip, not just as we snuck out of Irene's reach), so while the captain turned off the seatbelt sign, one flight attendant with an incredibly snippy attitude kept coming by and insisting that we rebuckle him. Honestly, if he'd been able to wiggle in his seat he (and we) would've been much happier, much longer. Regardless, those extra bags of chips kept him happy and us sane and we only got one glare from someone around us when he accidentally kicked the guys seat one time while shifting around. (Now, I'll be honest, I've given kids behind me the look when they continuously kick my seat, but this was one kick. Dude reading Game of Thrones, you need to get a life.)

We got our bags with relative ease and then went in search of the courtesy shuttle to our hotel. We are doing this whole trip sans personal transportation - it's an adventure, but honestly I didn't want to lug a carseat around with us and, when I priced out rental cars, it really kind of made me choke with how much it was going to cost between the rental and the various parking etc. So we're trying something new. And hey, courtesy shuttle, so why not?

45 minutes waiting for them to get there. That's why not. See, the first time we saw the shuttle pull up, we hurried over and got there right behind a group of women that appeared to be some sort of family reunion based on bringing everything you own and anything your neighbor will let you borrow with you. Maybe they were some kind of urban Bedouin group? No idea. All I knew is that the luggage area of the shuttle was full before all the women had even made their way into the shuttle, so some of them had to wait while the driver got the rest of the luggage belonging to the women who did fit on the shuttle smushed into the shuttle aisles. We figured we'd wait for the next shuttle.

Except there was no "next shuttle". There was just this one lonely shuttle person. (But even given that, he had to have stopped to smoke a pack of cigarettes or something before coming back around, because the time it took him to get us from the airport to the hotel was considerably shorter than 1/2 the time we had just finished waiting. With an overtired, hungry, cranky 3 year old. Which made it feel 4 times longer than it really was.)

We dragged our exhausted selves to the room, dropped the bags, and just went to the restaurant downstairs for dinner where we tried to get said overtired child to eat at what felt like to him roughly 11pm. For that time frame, he did well enough, and we scooted him off to bed and crashed ourselves shortly thereafter.

Things we learned from our first plane ride with a small child:

  1. Take what you think their attention span is and halve it. 
  2. Take the amount of activities you think you need and double it.
  3. Then double that.
  4. Then pack an iPad with movies on it just in case.
  5. Bring lots of snacks.
  6. Give up on the "I don't want my child drinking soda at this age" idea. Ginger ale keeps him happy for 20 minutes.
  7. Plus it makes him have to go potty, which takes up another 15 minutes or so.
  8. Don't explain that you got to go see the cockpit and got pilot wings on your first flight. He will get neither and it's just mean to bring up. 
  9. Give up on the idea that you get to read or rest or in any other way enjoy your flight. You will be solely focused on keeping your Tazmanian Devil from terrorizing the rows around you.
  10. If all else fails, smile, apologize to the person giving you a death glare and mouth the words, "He's three."


Gwynne said...

Your flight sounds oh, so familiar. The carseat saved me on our last flight. Otherwise, I could NOT have kept Julian in his seat, much to the flight attendant's dismay. 8-}

beth said...

Yeah, I thought about that when we were somewhere over Indiana. Oh well. Live and learn. On the other hand, it's nice to not have to lug the think onto the cruise ship, etc.