Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Notes from the Travel Trenches

Its not our first plane trip with three kids. Its not even our second. Yet for some reason during the flight we just took to Tennessee to visit our Southern family, we finally felt the somewhat unmanageably large size of our family of five. Maybe its because Terza is now officially a toddler. She was only a toddler for about seven hours before we got on the plane, the evening of her first birthday, but in those seven hours, she seemed to age seven months.

To say that we now officially have our hands full is to put it mildly. 

Up until the day she turned one, Terza had only taken a few wobbly, consecutive steps. I now realize that was probably just because our apartment is so tiny she could only get five steps in before she encountered an obstacle in the form of a wall or a piece of furniture which threw her way off balance and caused her to plop to the floor. At the airport, though, it was just wiiiiiiide open spaces, a magic kingdom of carpet and row upon row of leather seats to alight on momentarily for balance, an aspiring toddler's dream come true. The kid just took off in Newark Airport, racing around the gate area, low enough that she passed right under those cordoning-off-barriers meant to keep people in lines. 

It wasn't just the fact that Terza is now mobile that made me feel like I was traveling with thirteen children rather than three. It was also the delay.

Delays in air travel, just like traffic in a car ride, takes you over the edge from This-is-a-pain-but-I-can-handle-it! to Good-God-why-did-I-ever-take-these-kids-out-of-the-house-much-less-out-of-the-state-and-moving-forward-is-there-someone-I-can-sell-at-least-one-of-my-children-to? 

We were only delayed two hours but as those two hours took us from arriving at 9:30pm to arriving at 11:30pm, it made a pretty significant difference. By the time we'd gotten our rental car, installed the infant car seat, uninstalled it because I flatly refused to use such a piece of junk to secure my baby's well-being, re-installed it when we were informed it was the only one they had, and then drove the long way up through the mountains to where my in-laws live, it was 1:30am.

Now I realize other kids just fall asleep very sweetly in the car or on the plane or wherever they happen to be at just-past-bedtime, like they've taken a gentle hit of opium or something, and this sounds lovely. If this were the case, I'd probably have three more children and no blog since it would essentially eradicate the majority of what I have to complain about. My children are made of different mettle. In fact, I think they are actually made of metal, or at least whatever batteries are made of. They never run out of energy. Even Benadryl won't knock them out. I know this because I tried it on this particular plane ride. Only for Primo, and only because his allergist instructed me to, since he's allergic to dogs and my in-laws have a bunch. Yet despite the fact that we gave him the dose before the plane took off, he was still wide awake and bushy tailed two, even three hours later, though at the three hour mark, he crashed hard  -- not, in fact, going to sleep, just whining about how tired he was and fighting ruthlessly with Seconda.

Even the baby who is a BABY, didn't succumb to sleep until almost midnight, even though I nursed that kid like it was closing time, and plugged her mouth at every opportunity with pacis. Despite being demented with exhaustion, she was pretty good-natured about the whole thing, just kept bashing her head into my chest and into the plane window and the tray table like a bat with screwed-up sonar.

Eventually, we got into the car and after I yelled at everybody and promised them I'd never take them anywhere ever again, they finally ran out of things to shout about and fell asleep. Then it was just a matter of transporting their bodies into the appropriate sleeping spaces in the dark. But by 2am, we'd done it! Which gave us a whopping four and a half hours of sleep before the first rugrat roused.

Ahhhhh, vacation. Only R and R if by those letters you mean Ruination and Riot. Still, its ruination and riot in a new backdrop.