Sunday, August 25, 2013

Flight of the Agitator

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It’s good to be No. 1 at something, even if it’s not necessarily positive.

That’s why I’m not upset in the least that we are the new world record holders for Most Stereotypes Met While Traveling with Small Children.

Oh yeah, we totally busted that record when our family flew this summer to Miami. That’s in southern Florida, which is about a 2 1/2-hour flight, which is about 150 minutes, which is 9,000 seconds, and you can be sure that I and my Darling Valerie counted every single one.

There was at least one big positive to having two little kids in tow at the airport. In Miami the agents let us skip to the front of the security line so that we didn’t have to trudge with the kids for 30 minutes

Once on board, Cooper is just short of four years old and Penny’s almost two, you can be sure that other flyers were simply ecstatic to see us board the little American Eagle Express plane.

How small was the plane?

Before the flight the airline workers assembled it using Legos.

When the pilot said it was time to take off, the airport strapped us to a giant catapult and snapped us to our destination.

We landed and took off at Gate D60G in Miami, which is outside, as in “D farthest from the airport.”

Most kids exist in perpetual motion. Penny lives in perpetual commotion.

You know when you’re at the playground, and there’s a kid who seems to get into everything and/or into trouble, and every other parents knows their name? That’s my girl.

Not long into our flight down we realized Penny couldn’t sit behind a stranger since she was kicking their seat, so we had to swap rows with her and Cooper, which also meant moving the car seat.

If anything was dropped under the seat – which of course never happens with two young’uns – the only way to retrieve it was to lay down in the aisle and reach under the seat.

We tried the DVD player, books, snacks, sharks with lasers on their heads, and nothing worked longer than five minutes.

Trying to manage a tired, hungry, and claustrophobic kid can’t help but make you feel like a terrible parent.

At some point you reach that point where you turn into Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV: “If she cries, she cries.

For about ten minutes “eating her feet” is fun, but if you stop she gets upset all over again and Penny says in her own language, “I am altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it any further.”

(Yes, I just compared myself to Ivan Drago and my daughter to Darth Vader.)

On the flight back home there were several bathroom trips as well, and even though I pretend to have no knowledge of the Mile High Club, I can say that I’ve changed a diarrhea-infused diaper in a teeny airplane’s teeny bathroom on a teeny table over the toilet.

Thankfully our fellow passengers seemed largely sympathetic. I only noticed the stink eye once, but that might only be because I couldn’t see the other passengers while my rear end was a foot in front their faces.

At least we gave them a great story to tell their friends and family, about how “you won’t believe the flight we had with this crying toddler and her clueless parents!”

It makes you wonder, in the Biblical days did David sheepishly apologize to everyone else in the royal caravan when he was taking a fussy Solomon on a trip?

I can’t confirm that David wrote Psalm 18:6 while he was trying to calm down his son, “In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears,” but it is pretty close to how I felt at 36,000 feet over Tallahassee.

But hey, no matter what happens on any flight for the rest of our lives, unless there are zombies or snakes on an airplane we can say that “we’ve had worse.”

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