Saturday, July 28, 2007

Plane ride...

Boarding the plane, I was brimming with hope after a succcessful waiting period in the airport with Lily Lu. We had just finished a delightfully nutritious meal of hot dogs and pizza, and I was privately congratulating myself on my stellar mom ability to manage through security with a stroller, a diaper bag, a giant purse, a sippy cup with fresh milk, and a little girl with some extremely happenin' pink boots whom everyone was "oooohing and ahhhing" over.

"I'm good at this," thought I. "Here I am, little pregnant mom with little cute girl boarding a little plane for a little ride with little cute things to keep her content." In full control, loaded with crayons, gummy worms, binkies, books, and her favorite toy keys and cell phone I thought it would be a quick one hour jaunt from Vegas to home.

WrOnG. wROng. WROng. STUpiD sTUpid NAive NaIVE MothER.

To briefly describe our return home from Vegas this week in a nutshell: The worst possible experience of human motherhood with a toddler on a plane that literally at one point made me wish we were sitting in the emergency release door section so that I could pull the lever and attach cushions to myself and my daughter, assuming that we would survive such a fall more easily than the monstrous flight home we had just embarked on.

A bumpy ride? To say the least. But not because of the plane or any current wind conditions: it was Lily Tyler Haack.

Lily Tyler Haack, you say? That radiantly darling child of which you spoke so fondly of in your last post?
YeS. If I could claim an alien possession of my sweet daughter's body to justify her behavior on the plane I would, but alas it was/is my child. Not only did she throw tantrums when I wouldn't allow her to get down and run up and down the aisles, she threw her gummy worms at fellow passengers in between saying " Hiiiii." Not only were we sitting next to two men, one of whom was rather large, but the kind flight attendant informed me I needed to put Lily's diaper bag, stuffed full of distracting hopefuls, under the seat. Consequently, everytime Lily was ready to switch from the current toy (approx. every 2.5 seconds) I got to bend my pregnant belly down and drag out the bag from under the seat while holding my child on my lap, seeing how she flew for free because she is young enough to qualify as a "lap child". Moving like this in a space of 14 square inches provoked profuse sweating from both myself and my child.

Sitting, squirming, smothering, sweating little pregnant mom with little cute child with little fun toys.

Ohhh, but that isn't it! The grand finale came in the last 13 minutes of the flight, when Lily officially snapped. I blame it on possible ear pain (despite the fact she had a pacifier), because what ensued even I didn't imagine my child capable of. SCREAMING, INCOHERENT, FREAKING OUT TANTRUM. KICKING, BITING, SOBBING, FLINGING HORROR. For the last 13 minutes not only myself but every passenger on board endured the most painful wrangle with a child that had officially lost it and loomed in a new realm of toddler plane-induced dimensia. Nothing I could do would console her. No gummy worm or promise of Mommy's gum could calm her. I calmly tried to calm her, and calm her, and calm her, to no avail. SCREAMING, SCREAMING, SCREAMING. Soon I panicked: Was it her ears? Has she mentally snapped because she has an undiagnosed case of severe claustrophobia and I forced her into a space too small to breath? Am I going to arrive home with a human vegetable that is now a residual trace of a wonderfully normal little girl because I pushed her to her claustrophobic capacity? Or is my child just this naughty? AAHHHHHH!

Once we landed we rushed to deboard, racing other passengers who at this point were also scrambling for their lives to get off. The poor men next to me. While trying to be polite, I'm sure they were anxious to get off and tell their fellow mates about the screaming little brat who made their ride the most miserable flight experience yet. I know there were a mixture of moms aboard who took pity, some others who thought I should just give her a good beating, and others preparing speeches to their daughters about why they shouldn't have children young, because they had just witnessed one young mother incapable of handling anything.

We were first off the plane, but had to humiliatingly wait while an attendant brought our stroller to us. I got to confront every passenger who looked at me and my red faced child, now beaming and pointing happily to other "aaippann" (airplanes). My worries about a claustrophobic melt down fluttered away as she smiled and laughed. I'm sure Lily and I single handedly solved at least two passengers' internal dilemmas of whether or not to utilize permanent birth control, as they stomped out on their cell phones making an appointment to hurriedly be nuetered. Trying to hold back a torrent of tears at this point, I blubbered as many apologies as possible to many graceful passengers, one grandmother of which insisted I take her straight to a doctor for her ears, to which insisted back that not only would a doctor be consulted (for her), but a team of qualified therapists as well (for me). Two people asked politely if I needed any help, and I responded that unless they had any powerful, illegal narcotics to spare at this point I could handle the situation. Haah, handle the situation.

After missing Tyler for a week, my visions of a beautiful airport scene running to him with our little girl for passionate kisses and hugs amounted to handing Lily immediately to him while I tried to stop shaking and not cry.

But... we are home. We are home. Hallelujah we are home! By the time we reached the car I couldn't help but return to loving adoration as I watched her kiss her daddy and fall soundly and happily asleep. Wow, motherhood. It does, at times, make you appreciate the days of old: reading a magazine and complaining about "other" people's children while riding an airplane.


Anonymous said...

I am having an anxiety attack right now!!! I have to come home NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW. STOP it Lily you are too big. Does she even know me? She is so darling.

Nonna said...

This is not possible! How could this adorable granddaughter of mine misbehave? Reading your post makes me laugh! It also makes me think how wonderful grandparenting is! Hang in there Rachel!

Joan Koplin said...

She keeps getting cuter (plane ride tantrums and all).
Honestly, there is no excruciating torture quite like the experience you described though. I'm SO glad it is OVER!
I am still waiting for an email from you, Rae---'Till then!