Posted by: Ingrid | January 6, 2011

Selfish

I’ve heard lots of parents make the claim that becoming parents made them much more aware of their selfishness.  I would make it a bit more specific and say that travel, particularly with an active toddler and a change of flight plans, will make you oh so painfully aware that you are a selfish creature.

Gone are the days when travel by plane meant a few copies of Runner’s World, my journal, and a good book and nothing but time.  Gone is the opportunity for napping or leisurely sipping a diet Sprite while doling out the cracker ration.  I used to love that time.  Time and space for me, me, ME!  You would think, after 5 flights with a baby, 2 of those solo, I would understand the harsh reality that Everything Has Changed.  Apparently I am a slow learner and this will all sink in eventually.  Maybe.  Except I don’t plan on traveling ever again until all children are over the age of five.  Christmas in Michigan next year, anyone?

I planned out our return travel carefully, making sure we didn’t leave too early and minimized the amount of time spent getting from place to place.  We were slated to leave LAX at 9:50 am and arrive in Detroit at 6:35 pm.  All told, with one layover, that’s decent.  Except something went drastically wrong with Southwest and the check-in line was out the door, down the sidewalk, past all of the American Airlines doors…  Husband got in line.  I checked to see if there was anything we could do.  Since we had a lap infant I was told all we could do was wait in line.  So we waited.  We watched irate passengers.  We watched people trying to cut in line.  We watched the clock as our departure time came and went, and then we waited an extra hour beyond that.

Finally at the front of the line we were told that the could get us to Detroit the next morning.  Isaac, of course, chose this point in time to do what everyone else in line wanted to do; scream.  So I tried to console my sobbing head-butting baby as a supervisor did the best he could to help us out.  They held a plane for us for 20 minutes and we dashed on board as well as we could considering we had to go through security, check 3 bags, and fold down a stroller.  This left me in the front of the plane between two people, with a tired baby who needed to nurse (awkward!) and who kept banging his head against the plane wall (also awkward!) and Husband stuck in the back.  That was four hours of fun during which I tried to think of something other than: I hate flying with a toddler.  I hate flying with a toddler. I love my son dearly, but he was not putting his best foot forward on this trip.

We flew down to Kansas City.  We flew up to Chicago.  We sat for two hours in Chicago Midway.  We eventually got into Detroit around 11:30, made it out of the worst traffic I’ve ever seen at that airport, and stumbled into the house at 1:05 am.  Other than two 45 minute naps on the first and last flight, Isaac had not slept at all.  It was truly as special day.  One that I hope never ever ever to repeat.

During that time; through the tantrums (to be fair, Isaac had not gotten enough sleep for days), the trying to entertain a mobile toddler who did not want to stay still, and the walking the moving sidewalk at Midway over and over and over again on our layover I felt like such a horrible selfish person.  I mean, I am selfish, but having to devote an entire long day of thwarted plans to crowd control for a small hurricane drove home full force that I really don’t like it when things don’t go the way I planned.  I don’t like it when I don’t get the time and the space that I want.

I think I’m a little afraid that once we have more than one child the kids won’t be the only ones crying and writhing all over the floor when travel plans go awry. 🙂  Maybe at that point it will be time to invest in a mini van and do road trips.  Or go back to my original idea of not traveling for a long long time.  Possibly until the kids can drive.

After all of our traveling I am very thankful to be back in Michigan, watching the snow falling from the cloudy sky.  It may be cold here, but it’s good to be home!

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Responses

  1. Yup, that’s what minivans and road trips are for. LOOOOONG road trips, with lots of stops for stretching legs and getting gas (and snacks) and going potty. Because no matter how long it takes in the car, it still beats flying.

    • Emily, I remember when I was just pregnant and we thought that we would never want a minivan, at least for a long long time. Needless to say, our thoughts changed rapidly! I just can’t wrap my mind around a 3-4 day drive out to California…

  2. After my last flight with child (and it was only 1 hour long and had no major issues) I decided I will not be flying for a loooong time with children. I can’t even imagine doing it with more than one! Scary! I applaud you for all your cross country travels and I think everyone would understand if you stayed home for awhile!

  3. I think flying with kids works fine if you are able to majorly readjust your expectations. As in, the goal of a plane flight is to keep the kids calm and not to rest yourself.

    JEsse and I managed to fly to England and back with 3 kids (the first time with a 1, 3 and 4 year old and the second time with a 2, 4 and 5 year old) and I thought it went great. Jesse and I tag-teamed each other to make it easier and, of course, a portable DVD player makes a world of difference. We also did the gift trick. Lots of little goodies for the kids to open throughout the day when traveling gets difficult. The dollar store can work wonders!


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