Thursday, August 26, 2010

And We All Made it Back Alive


For someone who hopes to someday make a living at this writing thing, I certainly am not doing very much writing, am I?

I could go on and on about why I'm not as prolific as I would like to be, about how I spend the baby's sleeping hours hanging out with Chris or resting after a long day of child rearing. Or how I feel too guilty to enlist help during her waking hours so I can go get stuff done, as if she can't exist without me for an hour or two, or I her.

But, what it really boils down to is that I am lazy and lack motivation. Part of that lack can probably be explained by the fact that as my blog nears its first birthday, I'm starting to enter the crisis mode of "Why am I writing this blog? Does anyone even read it? Do I have anything worth writing about? Haven't I written about all this already?" You know the one. So, I'm trying to work all that out. In 100 degree weather, so bear with me.

In the meantime, I have been meaning to tell you about my solo-parent vacation with Charlotte! And, I know you've been waiting with bated breath, so without further ado...

I realize I haven't written about it, but a couple months ago my little sister got engaged to a very nice guy named Patrick. We like him because he's nice and polite and treats my sister very well, but mostly we like him because he makes wine for a living, and, well, we like wine. So, we were all meant to celebrate this engagement at Patrick's house in a little town near Napa. Chris and I had determined we would drive to save money on airfare, and we'd drive up on Friday so we could rest up for the party on Saturday. Then it turned out Chris had to work on Friday night, which meant we'd have to leave early Saturday morning, and he'd only get a few hours of sleep. We might not even make it on time for the party, and everyone would be sure to be in a foul mood after the eight-hour drive, especially Miss Needs Constant Entertainment in the Car. The happy couple wearing their totally cool and not nerdy shirts from my hippie dad

So, we bit the bullet and shelled out the money for a plane ticket, rental car, and one night in a hotel by the airport. It hurt a little to spend the money, but mostly I was freaked the hell out about travelling with Charlotte without Chris's help. The flight is only an hour to San Francisco, but then I'd have to rent a car and drive an hour and half to the house, up a winding road, in the dark. Not to mention dragging around a suitcase, backpack, AND a wily toddler.

Not only that, but Charlotte has been extra clingy lately, and I knew that even though there would be an abundance of family members willing to help me with her, I'd still be on my own since she won't let anyone near her besides me or Chris (or sometimes just me) most of the time. This prophecy turned out to come true, but more on that in my next post.

So, Friday afternoon the three of us piled into the car so Chris could drop us off at LAX. He walked in with us and stayed while I checked the bag and located the security line. He helped me strap Charlotte in the Ergo, took a picture, and kissed us goodbye. The dread starting setting in as he descended the escalator and disappeared from the horizon. I felt like I'd just been dropped off for my first day of school.Moments before we set out on our own

I got through the security check, but not without making it very apparent to all that I don't fly very often. I forgot to take my cell phone out of my pocket. I forgot to take off Charlotte's shoes and put them with mine in the basket. The security guard asked me if I could take the baby out of the carrier. I asked in the nicest way possible if that was totally necessary because I couldn't get her in it myself. This was true, though out of necessity, I learned how to do it over the course of the trip.

After more blunders and deference on my part and some gruff handling on her part, the security guard waved us through, and we started the long walk to the gate. I must have had the look of someone who needed to be rescued. Maybe it was the way my shoulders were drooping from carrying a backpack full of snacks, diapers, board books, and toys on my, well, back, and a 25 pound toddler on my front. Maybe it was the look of resigned fatigue on my face as I trudged up the hill toward our destination. I'm not sure. But a ridiculously nice airport employee on a golf cart drove up and asked me where I was headed, then DROVE me right to my gate. I could have kissed her. In fact, maybe I did. Who can say?

When we reached our seat I started to put the backpack containing my entire arsenal for keeping Charlotte happy on the plane, in the overhead compartment, when I hear the flight attendant get on the speaker and announce the overhead compartments are full, so carry-on bags will need to go under the seat. So, now I'm trying to shove both my backpack and my purse under the seat behind me.

Yeah. You expert travelers out there are laughing at me. Apparently, your bag goes under the seat in FRONT of you. Which the flight attendant finally told me after I struggled for five minutes as people waited to get past me, trying not to trip on the binkys and stuffed Elmos and books that were flying out of my purse. When I finally got us settled into our seat, I heard the flight attendant get on the intercom and explain to the captain that the hold up was a lady with a baby trying to get into her seat.


Oh! I almost forgot the best part. The part where I insist to the surly man that he is in my seat, only to find out that, no, he is not in my seat. And my seat is not by the aisle as I had hoped, but by a window. Trapped. Where I have to climb over two sets of legs while balancing Charlotte to get to the bathroom. Luckily a really nice (and really high) chick offered to switch with me as she wanted a window seat anyway. Presumably because it enhanced her... experience. Either way, I was grateful.

The flight was deliciously uneventful. I had a bad moment where I thought Charlotte was going to freak out during take-off. The plane started to move toward the runway, the engine rumbled, and I tried to elicit excitement out of her: "We're going to fly now! In an airplane! Are you so excited?" To which she replied, "No. No. All done?", and I was like "Shiiiiit." But, she clutched her Elmo in one hand, extra binky in the other, and didn't make a peep the whole time we were ascending. She was remarkably well-behaved for the rest of the flight and while we roamed the airport picking up our bag and renting the car. And, she fell asleep on the drive up to Napa. So, scores all around.

The weekend was great. I had a glass of wine in my hand at almost any given time. Charlotte was clingy, but charming as always. Everyone got along, and the party was lovely, complete with awesome food and awesomer wine. Charlotte and I shared a bed the whole weekend since I didn't have the playpen, and it was so sweet waking up to her little face in the mornings. She even slept with me in the hotel even though I had a crib in the room because she had gotten so used to it. When I woke her up at 5:30 the morning of our returning flight, she bolted up, pointed at the television and said "T.V.!", which just proves that I am an incredible mother.


See? With the wine glass?

The most surprising thing about this trip is how much closer I feel to Charlotte now that it's over. I kept telling Chris about how I was going to check out on Monday because I knew I would need a break from Charlotte. And, in fact, when Chris took me out to breakfast at an outdoor cafe in Santa Monica and ordered me a mimosa, I was happy to drink it and screw around on my Blackberry while HE chased her around and showed her the fountains. But, I also missed her when she took her nap and have been reveling in how much cuddlier she's been with me since we embarked on our adventure. I was so nervous about being on my own with her for three days that I didn't even think to expect that we'd have fun, just the two of us.

But, we did have fun. We giggled while waiting for our plane. We laughed during our dinner together to escape the four-hour traffic jam we encountered on the way to the hotel from Napa. We tickled and cuddled in our bed before passing out from exhaustion after our drive. Who wouldn't want to wake up to this hair?

And, she was so GOOD. She handled the long car ride like a champ. She got upset a few times, but a few repetitions of my crooning "Old McDonald" to her or handing her a snack usually did the trick. Of course, there was the time that she squeezed her fruit puree all over herself and Elmo, and kept repeating "Uh oh. Uh oh." I acknowledged that there was indeed fruit all over her face and hands and that I would clean it up as soon as I could. She kept insisting: "Uh oh! UH OH!" and then inquired, "Keen? Keen?" "Yes, Charlotte, I will clean you as soon as we stop." But that wasn't good enough for her. She kept insisting that I clean her RIGHT NOW. Because, she can eat sand and play with garbage, but having some fruit puree on her person is completely unacceptable. I finally decided that we would either die because I crashed the car while cleaning her off or because I drove it off the Bay Bridge to escape the whining, and I quickly wiped her face and hands while traffic was stopped. Then she started in with "Uh oh! Elmo. Uh oh! Elmo" while gesturing frantically to the fruit on Elmo's foot.

Yeah, that one I will deal with later, kid.

She didn't get enough sleep, but she never got too out of sorts about it. Napping was hard for her because there were so many people in the house. So, as the party was approaching on Saturday evening, I took her for a walk in the Ergo because I had this wild idea she might fall asleep in it. Which, she did! I texted Chris because I was so excited that it had worked! To which he replied, "So, what now? You just walk around for an hour?"

Oh. Right.

I was able to sit in a chair and got 45 minutes out of her. But, out of everything that happened on the entire trip, the thing that made me love her the most, the main reason I walked away from this trip feeling oh so gushy about my wonderful little girl, is this:


Nay, she fell asleep before we even took off, STAYED asleep throughout take-off, and didn't wake up until five minutes before we landed.

I know, right? I watched the in-flight entertainment! I pitied the poor mother with the crying baby, while enjoying my narrow escape from the same fate! I had to pee, but I didn't care!

So, the bottom line is that travelling with Charlotte was great...this time. She seems to have a new personality each day, so I can't say that she would handle other trips as well, especially longer trips. But, this trip was good. And, I learned from it. You wouldn't have recognized the calm, prepared, and organized mom on the return flight as the one who was holding up the line and dropping toys all over the plane a mere two days before.

Then again, it was only an hour flight. All the organizing in the world ain't gonna help you on hour four of a six-hour flight when you've run out of snacks and your kid is screaming about wanting to watch Dora instead of the romantic comedy they're playing.

I think I'll make sure Chris is with me on that flight.


  1. Loved this post :)

    I would of been way too terrified to do it!

  2. Thanks! It was pretty scary. LOL

  3. Congratulations! Sounds like you two had a wonderful time. Wine + awesome hair + plus excellent sleep would make any trip amazing :)

  4. Great blog! I'm glad to hear that your trip went well. What is the name of the wine you were drinking? I'll be visiting Napa and would love to try some! :)

  5. @Disgrultled- Thanks! Isn't her hair insane?

    @Maggie- Hi! Thanks for the compliment. The wine was from Cade where my future BIL works. Enjoy your trip!

  6. Congrats on surviving the trip!

    You and your sister look so much alike. Also looking alike: E and C when they're sleeping. They could be twins. Maybe all sleeping toddlers look alike? Dunno.

  7. Maybe they do. It's like a standard cute face they put on so we'll forget how obnoxious they are when they're awake. :)

  8. Congrats on a successful journey--I'm so glad you went and enjoyed yourself, and enjoyed C!

  9. Megan, I am a newbie to your blog but enjoyed this post! Congrats on the beautiful daughter!
    — Tonija (p.s. I worked with your mom at the vp)