Grin and Bear it

The whole search performed on me at the airport (and I mean a take-me-to-a-private-room-pat-absolutely-everywhere kind of search) while bouncing Conor and trying to convince Ryan that this was normal and they were teaching me some kind of dance should have been a warning that the trip was not going to have a smooth landing. But, oh well.

I wanted to be as minimal as possible while traveling alone with both Ryan and Conor because I didn't want to have to lug them around + all my belongings that I thought we would need, but never would actually use, like always. Conor was in the carrier, I cleaned out my purse the night before and neatly packed it to the zipper and made it a cross body bag, Ryan's extra big-boy-unner-wear and pants were rolled up in his new backpack that was just delivered an hour before the trip, and his hand was in mine. I dreaded the thought of wearing Conor and chasing Ryan with the stroller that he refused to ride in around the airport so the stroller did not make it on our exclusive travel essentials list. I was going to capitalise on Ryan's latest obsession with holding my hand. I checked our one suitcase and the infant car seat {my in-laws have many car seats that fit Ryan, but they actually used ours for the latest baby (neat, huh?) so they didn't already have one waiting for us} and waved, "Sayonara! Please don't get lost." We were off and as light as one can be with two in tow.

The first flight was just a hop, a skip, and a jump away to Chicago so it was fine. No tantrums, no fuss, the plane was a small one with only two seats on each side so we didn't even have to worry about bumping anyone's knees.

(It's all coming back to me now. I thought I was only going to write about a couple of events that have stood out in my mild case of motherhood post travel stress disorder, but now I remember how we were walking around O'Hare after getting off the plane. After noticing a few too many chuckles from people passing by, I noticed that Ryan was strutting around without his pants zipped and without them buttoned since I never had closed them after his first and only attempt on that airplane potty).

Ryan's trigger for his super-soaker in the form of a self-affirming "Go Ryan! Go Ryan!" was pulled in a proper potty so our underwear reserves weren't touched. We took off for our gate in the farthest terminal from us. Ryan was fine to walk close by me, and I was feeling a little wary about how minor our hiccups had been. I didn't mind the walk because I like to run my babies in the airport and tire them out so we can take advantage of the sleep-inducing airplane white noise. (Looking back ... Ha. Ha. Ha).

We finally got to gate B2, and the man at the desk said he had at least twenty minutes until boarding so just before Ryan's face became permanently flat from smashing his face against the window to "wook at da ay-plane," I whisked him off to the bathroom because ... toddler bladders are pea-sized.

And that's when s*** first started to hit the fan ... or at least the bathroom hand dryer. While trying to coax and bribe and coax and bribe Ryan into re-emptying his bladder, I heard Conor very loudly empty his own bodily contents. It wasn't that big of a deal since I was going to change him anyway. Finally, I gave up on the two year old to take care of the other number two. We left the stall, and I placed my purse on the changing area. I started to lift Conor out of the baby carrier only to see his green onesie was now a brown onesie in the back.

It was the worst explosion either of my boys have ever had. He somehow had it on his arms, stomach, and obviously his back. I gave him a very thorough baby wipe bath all while making sure to smile because smiles definitely prevent scarring passing people's minds with some post toilet stress disorder. Not.

Out of the bathroom we came with Conor in a new outfit and smelling all scent-free baby wipe-esque. Fortunately, we found a kind mom and her two daughters who enthusiastically played along with Ryan's game of peek-a-boo, duh-I-see-you, you're hiding behind our suitcase's inch-thick handle game. I waited until we were the last people in line to board the plane because I wanted to keep our time on our plane as short as possible.

I could see everyone's faces tense up as approached their seats because who wants to sit next to a mom with an infant and toddler? Only grandmas missing their grandchildren, and sadly, I did not see many on the flight. We arrived at our seat, I laughed and apologised to the man unlucky enough to have been assigned the aisle seat next to us. He only seemed mildly scared. Yay! Both flight attendants came to say they would help me with anything (one kept calling me, "Mom," which was nice, but also a tad puzzling because she was probably my own mom's age?). I assured our neighbor and the flight attendants that Ryan would soon pass out because I kept him so active, and he only had a thirty minute nap.


I'll probably blog about the activity bag I made for Ryan (here's a spoiler: dollar bins at Target and DollarTree), but it definitely kept Ryan occupied during the never-ending flight. Which was good because even when the lights were off on the plane and the white noise was a-humming, that two year old's energy level increased and increased and increased. I was happy I went with the sticker pages that were aplenty. Conor is at a great age where he all he needs when he isn't sleeping or eating is some back patting or bouncing, some eye contact and some smiles. Easy to do while getting covered in dinosaur stickers. 

(Are you reading this thinking that it is never-ending? That's how I felt about this flight with a never sleeping toddler).

After a while, Ryan announced that his pea sized bladder had reached its pee limit, but the fasten seat belt sign was still on and the food cart was in the way. I kept pressing the flight attendant button, but it turns out that white noise covers the little signal pretty well so we were waiting and waiting and waiting. Finally, the flight attendant arrived, I pee-leaded with her to let us go to the bathroom and off we went. The fruit snacks bribe works, and he was successful. Conor fell asleep in the sling, the flight attendant offered me the whole can of Coke, and our neighbor offered his tray as a resting place for said Coke. All in all, despite the very awake toddler, I was feeling as good as I could. 

Questionable scents had been escaping Ryan's body during the day, and I had mentioned to Chris earlier that I was a little concerned about that even though he had already soiled his underwear that morning. Well, one look of surprise (again, while the fasten seat belt sign was on) from Ryan brought that concern to reality. Oh shhhhiii ...

A unbuckling rebellious jaunt down the narrow aisle later,  I found all three of us in the teeny, tiny airplane bathroom. I inhaled quickly, removed Ryan's articles of clothing from his bottom half, bounced the shrieking Conor back to sleep while in a squatting position over the toilet while forbidding Ryan to move at all because his bottom was only about two inches from contaminating anything in the contaminated sardine can, wiped Ryan blindly, did some quick squats for the now screaming Conor, laughed, wiped again and again and again, washed hands again and again and again all in the blink of twenty whole minutes. Oh it was a show. A slow show.

I hope our next number two on an airplane experience with two is as far away as Timbuktu.

My time had been served! Or so I thought. Surely, Ryan would sleep now because don't I as a mother deserve some quiet airplane time after that dirty debacle? Again, no. Every fiber of Ryan's being was gearing up for a massive tantrum, and he finally let loose once we landed in San Diego at almost midnight our time. 16.5 hours of being awake plus .5 hour of a nap = the biggest meltdown you ever did see west and east of the Mississippi.  

He huffed, he puffed and blew any chance of our fellow passengers wanting to have kids out the airplane windows. Conor threw in a few cries for good measure because ... brotherly solidarity, I guess? 

(I did have a couple of very kind people offer to help, but really, what could they do since neither of my children wanted to be with anyone but me, and I didn't have a bag to retrieve from up above? It was me, myself and lots o' cry).

Conor was under my left arm in the sling so I heaved Ryan up in my right arm. "Oh, Mom," the flight attendant consoled as we passed. Once we were off the plane, I tried to smoothly play Ryan's steadily drooping stance on my body as an intended move to put him down, but his revved up tantrum expressed otherwise. Ryan was ending this trip on my hip. 

So that is how I found myself grinning and bearing my two from the very farthest gate of the airport to the baggage claim. 

When I was in college, I always made a concentrated effort to look genuinely happy whenever I passed a tour guide walking backwards in front of a group of potential students even if I wanted to cry from the piercing cold. We may be freezing our arses off, we may have flat out ugly girls, but we were really, actually, genuinely happy, dammit! That's how I felt while I was losing feeling in both arms and the suddenly slumbering Ryan was flopping around during that jaunt through the airport gauntlet of staring travelers. I wanted to make sure that people knew that I was really, actually, genuinely happy even though I was bearing a little more than half my body weight in children and bags! I was grinning and bearing it. 

This is already way too long so blog claps for you if you made it this far! Quick summary of the next twenty minutes: tantrum, tantrum, tantrum, whispering, "Save me," into the phone while talking to Becca, a whole lot of stares and a whole lot more grinning and bearing it.  

It was all so very worth it because look at the cuteness that has come from this week:

So, any good travel stories to share? 

Linking up with Jen for the 7 in 7 challenge

 (it's still Monday in California!)... which is really risky since I am currently helping watch 7 siblings-in-law + my two kids with Becca. But, I guess that is why they call it a challenge.