Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ten Things I Hate About Traveling...

...with Ada.

I was tagged by Mrs. Fortune (or her evil twin). Since I just got home from a little trip with the girl (sans Chris), I thought I'd give it a shot.

  1. Those airport carts* never roll in a straight line. This is especially true when you most need them, when you are shlepping two pack-and-play cribs, four large bags and a couple of carry-ons. Actually, since my sister and friend were in charge of cart locomotion on the airport legs of our trip, I should say that I love this "feature". Those things are incredibly annoying to use, but highly entertaining when you are watching others struggle to move them.

    *Thing 1A: The carte pictured on the company's web-site is WAY nicer than the ones at the Denver International Airport. We had one that was configured such that it had to be pulled. Pushing resulted in heinous carte-wiggling and luggage falling. Smarte, my ass.

  2. The Denver airport does not let you take these stupid cartes through the security check-point. Why? Are they a security risk? Can explosives or guns be smuggled in their thin metal tubing? No. Apparently they are banned from moving freely between the insecure and smug parts of the airport because the local Transportation Security Administration big wig decided that too many cartes were getting broken during the security screening process. (How, I am not sure. Randy, the TSA agent who helpfully explained all this to us, wasn't entirely clear on that detail.) Randy did explain that when a cart breaks under their watchful eyes, the TSA has to pay for a replacement. Randy also happily told us about the woman traveling through Denver last week with four children, and what a pain it was for her when she was not allowed to keep her carte.

    Despite being really chatty, I had to question Randy's social skills when he kept talking as my friend - two year old son on her back - hefted her now carte-free bag of baby-soothing gear and started to back away. Thanks Randy, nice talking to you!

  3. I have long legs. I recognize that this is not other people's problem, but in recognition of the fact that airplane seats are jammed together and that (unless I am sleeping) I don't NEED to recline, I rarely move my seat-back from its full upright and locked position. I know that others do not share my communitarian views of airplane comfort, but I do wish that the woman seated in front of me on the flight out would have shown a little concern for the fact that the woman in the seat behind her was both tall AND holding a squirmy child. Keeping Ada from bashing her head on the seat was a real joy. Thank you again, Woman in Seat 24C. Perhaps now you understand why I did not apologize when my daughter grabbed a small fist-full of your hair. Practically falling into my lap as your hair was, it was fairly hard for my gal to resist a good yank.

  4. This was only the second time I'd taken Ada on an airplane. The last time, when she was 3 months old, we somehow managed to avoid any on-board diaper changes. When Ada decided to forego her usual post-breakfast poop, I worried. When she didn't go while we were waiting in the airport, I squirmed. We made it most of the way through the flight before the tell-tale smell appeared. I scooped up miss messy pants and hustled her down the aisle to the rear of the airplane. How exactly would one use an airplane bathroom to change a child? They are so small and dirty. (This does bring up another issue: why do people want to join the Mile High Club? Again, small and dirty, and the latter not in a good way.)

    Instead of attempting a bathroom change, I put the girl's changing pad on the floor near the tiny galley at the back of the plane. To distract her, I handed her my friend J's confiscated keys. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.

  5. I don't like to think about airplane carpeting, arm-rests or seat backs. With Ada wanting to touch and lick these and many other assuredly disgusting things on the plane, by the time we arrived in Denver I was ready to douse us both in bleach, with a handi-wipe chaser.

  6. As wonderful as it was to stay in a large, well-appointed house for free during our little trip, staying in a new place is always a bit tricky. Ada and I shared a bedroom that opened on to the main entry way. The beautiful flagstone floor made the room a tad echoey, leading to a couple of hairy Ada-startled-awake moments. Our room also opened onto another bedroom, linked by a country-kitchy but not highly functional windowed door. I'm afraid that the sheer curtain between the two rooms did nothing to block the light of my sister and a friend's use of the room. Even with a heavy blanket draped over the window, Ada managed to jump to crabby consciousness when the light went on at midnight on evening one.

    Although I was clever enough to unplug the phone in the room, I somehow neglected to notice the flashing digital alarm clock until I was nursing Ada in an otherwise peaceful and darkish room. I decided to leave the fix until I went to bed, which meant at 11:30 on Friday I was fumbling with the clock's buttons. Yes, I did manage to stop the flashing, but not until I first turned on the radio (cranked to GET UP YOU LAZY BASTARD volume). Twice.

  7. Traveling without Chris is crap for a number of reasons, not least of which is that as the only parent on duty, I'm on duty all the time. And "all the time" starts at 5:30 these days.

  8. Babies do not care that you need to help your friend write his sermon for the wedding. Monkey Boy's Dad had been asked a couple of months ago to perform our friends' wedding. Since that conversation, the bride and groom to be had been incommunicado, so Monkey Dad wasn't sure he was still on the hook. Rather than prepare for a ceremony he might not have to run, Monkey Dad waited until hearing from the groom, which finally happened the night before the wedding. This left Saturday for Monkey Dad and four others to design, write, edit, practice, edit and scribble onto 3 by 5 cards the words that would hopefully make the assembled group melt in a sobbing puddle. All this while feeding, diapering, entertaining, soothing and holding two squirrelly kids. We were aided by the fact that people at weddings are ready to be moved, so it would not take much to get folks going. We were hampered by the fact that writing by committee is stressful, and editing the thoughts of a nervous man is a delicate enterprise. Also by the fact that Monkey Boy wanted to tear up and hide all the 3 by 5 cards.

    After hearing variants on the sermon rehearsed 37 times throughout the day, the final product did not make me well up, but I think people not involved in the speech's production enjoyed it and were impressed by Monkey Dad.

  9. After drinking, dancing and cupcake-photo taking at my friend's wedding reception, I then spent two hours rocking, soothing and singing to Ada before I could get her to sleep. During the two hours in hell, I lulled Ada into a (seemingly) deep sleep, only to have her wake the moment her head touched the flimsy mattress of the travel crib. As great as my friends and sister are, at 2 in the morning they were not really available.

  10. A house owned by two middle-aged lesbians? Not so baby-friendly. The house was chock full of low hanging objets d'art, possibly priceless knick knacks, magazines, DVDs and other items attractive to a year old child and her 23 month old conspirator. Also, the house (owned by two different middle aged lesbians) where the sunday brunch for family and close friends was held? Also filled with baby-dangers, including the rail-less stairs covered with books and ceramic objects, the big pile of flakey logs by the wood stove, and doors open to patios filled with all manner of cool-looking but alarmingly rusty and pointy vintage farm equipment. A relaxing brunch, it was not.

    Back at the vacation house, Monkey Boy was crazy for the phone, and all adults spent considerable time saying "we are not going to play with the phone. Monkey Boy. Put the phone down. Down. Luckily my brilliant sister had the idea to cover the phone with a small blanket, which did help MB forget about the phone for a while. Besides, the television and multiple remotes were still available. Monkey Boy spent a good amount of every day hopefully calling out what sounded like "happies! happies!" but I was assured by Monkey Dad was actually an attempt to make the Teletubbies appear on the TV. Thanks to TIVO, Monkey Boy believes that Teletubbies have their own 24 hour station.) After a couple of days of "Tubbies!" cries, I started rethinking my joy over Ada's developing vocabulary and the amount of time I let her spend with her beloved Monkey Boy.

All this notwithstanding, I had a wonderful time with my daughter, friends and sister in Colorado. I'd do it all again, even knowing that I would get vomited on in the Denver Airport and not notice for 10 minutes while I strolled around with Ada in my arms wondering what smelled so bad.

Your humble List Maker and her sister,
enjoying a zen moment at the reception.

(Oh, and if you want to be tagged to do this, email me. I am such a weenie about tagging.)


  1. It does, eventually, get easier -- my kids carry and more or less keep track of their own amusements these days. On the other hand, while I'm not doing diaper changes, my guys have a tendency to realize that they need to pee the second the pilot has told us we need to remain seated with seatbelts fastened.

    I remember traveling when D was not yet one, J just three -- one of our flights was delayed and we wound up having to change planes twice getting from Sac'to to Philadelphia. I was on my own with the two kids. I will never forget hurrying to make it to one flight and then stopping and changing D on a random piece of airport floor (with a changing pad, of course) while I hoped and prayed that J wouldn't manage to cause any real damage or get lost.

  2. you are a braver mama than i! your post made me tired just reading it. i can't even imagine traveling with the boy without jason. we are about to head out again today and i am thankful to have two parents and two grandparents on duty.

  3. First of all, is this the longest post you have ever written? :)

    And yes, travelling with a babe - or toddler now - not so fun. I too have long legs - and I LOATHE when people recline. WHY? It takes you back like 1 inch? Does that really help the sleep.

    And LMAO at the lesbians - I have two middle aged lesbian friends - their house, while gorgeous - not so much for the kiddos!

  4. Haha! Great list. If I were to write a list of things I hate about traveling it'd have to be 50 items long, so kudos to you. Do those smarte carte people think adding the "e" makes it ... better? I'm baffled.

  5. i LOVE that picture! love it! love it! love it!

  6. Hi, I'm new to blogging and this is my first visit to you and I just f*cked up trying to post a comment, so sorry if this appears twice...

    Anyway, I love this list! It's hilarious. When I was 5 mos pregnant, I took my then 17 month old on a plane with me and he woke up mid flight and started kicking the seat in front of him because he was having a where-am-I-what-is-going-on type of meltdown and the hag in front of him turned around and said, "I know there's nothing you can do about it, but he keeps kicking my seat." What I wanted to say was, then why'd you bother saying it. Instead, I suggested she move to the empty seat across from me, but like a bitch she chose to remain in her seat, sigh loudly and mutter no doubt rude comments on 'today's mothers' to her half alert husband. Whatever.