Every week you hear from me about life, motherhood and my adventures with JDub. Today I want to share a rare and special post from The Mister. Recounting our recent big adventure this summer ( more on that soon), here is how it all started…Traveling with a family (a dad’s perspective).
I left my wife curbside near the terminal with an impossible load; two open top carry-on bags, one giant roller suitcase, one duffle size check bag, a car seat, a BOB (stroller on steroids) with a two year old, John William, in his jam-jams in it. Their mission was to make it 20 yards to the baggage check line while i park and try to catch up.
I park, chug my coffee. I’m jogging from the parking lot to the check in counter holding on to my minimal things; wallet, phone and for some reason the last of the perishable foods which includes three apples, a bunch of bananas “nanas” , a small tub of dates, etc. At this pace, i decide I’m carrying too much ridiculousness and deposit the bananas and dates in a trash can. Starting to sweat (Austin is 77 degrees at 0500) i arrive at the baggage claim just in time to see the airlines baggage counter staff servicing our line leave, line of travelers intact, to “help the gate”. Hum. My wife is frustrated i left that pile of two weeks supplies for three people for her to negotiate. “Please tell me you brought the bananas?” She had negotiated a near future nana with our terrorist toddler John W in exchange for delaying his tantrum. Fail. “I’m sorry babe”.
She quickly focuses on the next task. “Should we split up and you go stand in the TSA security line?” Nope we decide to stay together. Better sometimes not to trade a current known problem for a potential unforeseen problem. The devil you know for the devil you dont know rationale. So the two of us are creeping four bags, the BOB, the car seat smartly strapped to a luggage carrier forward six inches to two feet every 3-4 minutes for a goal distance of 15 feet, all the while trying to ensure the toddler is content aka the juggle. We have the usual toddler distractors; personal e-book loaded w movies, books, games. Toy trucks, race cars, treats, oh man the list of crap, ah-hem, toys is crazy. Mom aka wife, you are awesome.
So we literally make it to the departure gate just in time for us to board. We haven’t stopped moving forward on this mission. No bathroom breaks, no nothing. The BOB, broken on our last trip by the airlines, no longer folds flat despite my wife’s best efforts in front of a line of people aka “everyone” waiting for us to board. At this point, my thoughts, probably affected by a full bladder and the unending juggle, are “this is horse$&@”, I think we should go home, this trip hasn’t even started, much easier, lets turn this wagon around…Bill (me) shut up you old fart”. I blink, laugh to myself and keep moving forward.
Once inside the plane, little JDub is getting antsy while we try to configure the car seat into our narrow isle of airplane seating. Every now and again i note another family with young ones and give them that knowing nod that says “this S$&@ is crazy” and also the occasional Word of encouragement “nice work mom and dad”. I could never have fathomed the responsibility of having a child without first having John. Oh people told us before John was born but you really cant “get it” until you have one, can you?
It hits me, first good (Dad) thought of the early day. I grab the diaper kit and JDub and head to the tiny airplane lavatory so mom can have a precious 3-5 minutes to regroup and properly configure our seating. Ah, there is a changing table in here. Sweet. It unfolds above and over the small toilet. Im trying to entertain my 95th percentile for height toddler with talking my own version of a sesame street like fun voice. “We re on a plane John, we re in a tiny bathroom in a plane John, there’s water in here John, a sink, a mirror, who is that in the mirror?” You get the point. John doesn’t fit on this table. I’m wrestling his pants down while he is sitting center on the changing table facing me. I’m talking the whole time so as to keep his attention in the hope he does not psychologically meltdown. “The terrible twos”, not sure what the major and minor theoretical diagnostic criteria in a DSM IV would be but every parent knows it when they see it. So far so good. He’s reaching for the water, the soap, the tissue. Im almost done changing him, I’m stalling because i know every second is valuable to mommy out there. After all, we re in this together. We re a team, shes the quarterback, JDub is the ball. The crazy “A” jumping, reaching, crying, screaming, playing, jacking things up and making mommy and daddy look ridiculous ball. “Keep your eyes on that ball!” I have to pee. I zone in on the half moon opening of the distal toilet adjacent my knees inviting me. I think to myself, “that is ridiculous…too much gamble…don’t try that”. The low target is bordered on the sides by hanging toddler legs in jam-jams wearing vans shoes. JDub is facing me, 12 inches in front of my chest and waist, 16 max. Im going for it. I’m talking the entire time to keep the little anarchist calm thinking “don’t move your feet son or i ll fill your shoe up”. Small success. That was stupid. Where’s your head?
Do you remember the public safety announcement, “this is your brain (picture of an egg) this is your brain on drugs (an egg breaks into a hot skillet and begins to fry)? I feel like JDub is my hot skillet. Mommy does this way better than me.
This is me traveling with my child. Tiny priority one. I try and keep my head on a swivel because it is unrelenting. I must forget the last failure because another challenge is beginning and unraveling simultaneously and the plane isn’t finished boarding.