I've done my fair share of traveling with the kids by myself, and it's always left me stressed, exhausted, and swearing I'm never going to do it again. I keep telling myself it will get easier as the kids get older and gain independence and require less equipment for travel. (Have you ever run through an airport juggling a roller bag, a backpack, a booster seat, and a car seat while pushing a stroller and holding the hand of a preschooler?!....Not fun!). I grasped onto the hope that my children are finally old enough to travel well as I packed them up and headed out last week for a family reunion.
The trip started off seamlessly. We left for the airport on time with limited tantrums over clothes (Little C) or the capacity to stuff one more Lego creation into a carry on (Big C). In fact, the trip really didn't get interesting until after we had to speedwalk to make the connection for our second flight, our hands filled with greasy pizza and Happy Meals. My optimism for a drama-free trip was still mostly intact when I buckled the kids in to prepare for our final destination. Until I heard over the intercom...
"Passenger Mr. Roller Big C, if you are onboard, please press your call button." Let the drama begin.
I pushed my way against traffic to the front of the plane and approached the flight attendant. "Are you looking for Mr. Roller OR Big C? Because those are 2 different people. Big C IS on this plane. Mr. Roller is not." I had clearly confused the man by pointing out that they were paging the combined names of 2 people so he called an expert from inside the airport to speak with me.
"Is Mr. Roller Big C on this aircraft?"
"MR. ROLLER is not. He is supposed to be (insert tongue biting to keep from going into the details of why my husband would once again not be attending one of my family reunions), but he's not. However, BIG C is my son, and he IS on this flight." Long pause, empty gaze, head scratching. Why was this so confusing? Were we really holding up the entire flight for this?
Fortunately, the woman left to figure it out on her own, and I was permitted to return to my seat where my children were ready to kill each other. "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom." Of course.
"Hurry up," I told Big C. "We're about to take off." I settled Little C into her seat and sat down with my book, figuring Big C would be out any second.
"Ok folks, we're closing the main door of the aircraft. Please prepare for take off." What the heck is my son doing in that bathroom?!
I unbuckled my seatbelt and knocked on the door. "Big C, what are you doing in there?"
"Well poop faster!"
"Ma'am, you need to take your seat." Once again, I'm being scolded by a flight attendant. Once again, I'm holding up the flight. I swear that woman stood in the aisle impatiently tapping her foot until Big C exited the bathroom and watched us sit down. Lady, I can't control my child's bowel movements!
And then there's the normal travel annoyances like sharing the teeny tiny airplane bathroom with Little C because I don't trust what she'll do in there by herself. The fights over who gets to sit by the window. The long layover in a crowded airport. The tray table goes up, the tray table goes down, the tray table goes up, the tray table goes down. My begging them to take a nap and my subsequent frustration when they finally fall asleep...5 minutes before landing. Strangers' dirty looks because I brought my 8-year-old son into the airport ladies room with me (sorry, but I'm not leaving my child alone in an airport!). The shoe throwing tantrums while waiting at baggage claim. Mom, I can't carry this anymore. Mom, I'm hungry. Mom, I'm thirsty. Mom, I'm bored. The tray table goes up, the tray table goes down...
No, traveling with kids is never fun. But at least I got a blog post out of it.
What are some of your best traveling with kids stories?