Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Up and Away

Chiquita and I are off on our very first adventure! We flew from San Diego to Tucson all by ourselves. We are so very big and grown-up!

The flight:

I had every intention to arrive at the airport an hour and a half early, but life jumped in the way (as it does). Zach was sick so we had to make a detour to pick him up from his grandmas house (which was not very far out of the way, but add traffic and...). By the time we got to the airport we had just under an hour till our flight. D unloaded the bags and I wrapped the girlie in her sling. It was kinda tricky lugging the bags (a big orange roller and an army duffle) to the curb check, but I managed (cause I'm all strong and I've got things under control - haha).

Leeloo generally likes her sling, but sometimes it takes a little soothing to remind her. This process is usually accompanied by the use of a pacifier, which she's also not quite sold on yet. So, there I was, bags in tow, diaper bag (black Petunia Pickle bottom for visual reference) slung over shoulder and free hand ever so gently and patiently assisting with pacifier usage (i.e. me not doing a very good job and occasionally poking her in the cheeks). Luckily the Sky Cap noticed and grabbed the bags. He was not only helpful, but he patiently waited while I fished my wallet out of the diaper bag one handed (because it's so much easier to carry just the diaper bag until you realize its a bottomless pit). I got us all checked in and even managed to find the five D gave me for the tip. The Sky Cap smiled, wished us a good trip, and pointed the way towards our gate.

One of the best things about the San Diego airport is that its small and mostly hassle free. Without a baby in tow I can usually get to the airport just before my flight and catch the plane well before boarding. When I walked through the sliding doors I realized that today that would not be the case. I walked passed the security check point and followed a line of people that extended beyond a restaurant, the whole bank of luggage carousels, a bookstore, and the escalators to the parking lot. This was trouble.

D thinks I'm a pessimist. I think I generally have faith that things will work out. We got into the line and began our snails pace.

I have seen people fly with kids before. Stroller, diaper bag, bottles, stuffed toy, books, snacks - everything you could need for any situation. I went the bare bones route and only had the diaper bag with essentials (bottle, diapers, extra set of clothes - its only an hour flight after all), and I felt fairly prepared. What I wasn't prepared for were the dirty looks. You would think I had worn white after Labor Day! Sure people said "Oh, what a cute baby", but you could see the fear in their eyes and hear the inner dialogue that begged, "please please please don't be on my flight!" What made it worse was about 25 minutes into the line the little one started to get hot and bored. So like every mama I shushed and bounced and smiled assuredly at people that this was not the prequel to a total breakdown.

About forty minutes into the line we could finally see the metal detectors. Leeloo is very curious. It is a wonderful quality, but it means that she also likes to be on the move. Don't stand in one spot for too long, because she wants to see it all. Snail line wasn't the best place for her to explore. Luckily one of the security people noticed her agitation and ushered us into the much shorter business class line. Now that we were moving she calmed a bit. It was a good thing, because I needed to prepare for the security check gauntlet.

Two bins: Shoes off, jacket off, sunglasses, boarding pass and pacifier. Diaper bag down and laptop extracted to its own private bin. Then I formed the bin-bag-bin train and pushed them along onto the conveyor belt. We made it through the detector without any beeps, but got ushered aside for a hand swab anyhow. The agent grabbed the bins and cleared us of terrorist activities. Shoes on, jacket on, computer tucked away and off we went.

The reason I wanted to get to the airport early was this myth I heard called preboarding. In my head we'd mosey in, casually go through security while she flirted along the way, get to the gate and onto the plane before everyone else so we could get the first row of seats with all that leg room, then I could settle her into feeding all nicely covered up. Pipe dreams. We made it to the gate while the last handful of people were boarding. Ticket scanned we made it onto the jetway only to get stuck in a snail line again. This time with warmth and stagnant air. Bring on the super fuss.

A lady in front of me was nice enough to compliment me on keeping my cool. Was I cool? The only thing in my focus was the grumpy baby not wanting her pacifier (why do I keep thinking that one day she might like it?). Finally I thought to lift her up out of her sling. Magical. She was hot. She calmed again and we made it all the way, passed the stranger glances, to the last row of the plane. The diaper bag went up, we sat down, I managed to get my breast out with a little modesty, and she began to nurse. Accomplishment.

The flight went smoothly, chica slept for the majority of it. Despite a strange, twitchy, talkative man in our row the hour passed fairly quickly. It's still amazing to me that you can get on a plane and be in a whole different state in such a short amount of time. We landed, our first mama/baby solo trip was a success!

On our way to the airport!

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