We did it! Charles and I survived our first airplane ride together (and second, and third) this past weekend when we visited my dear friend Liz in Phoenix.
Here’s the thing about traveling with a toddler (especially if you’re pregnant and want to not only get to sleep earlyish but also must avoid alcohol – combining those restrictions, of course, makes getting a babysitter and going to a wine bar difficult to justify): the trip is all about him. You can’t go somewhere far, far away and think that you’re going to schedule relaxing time to catch up with one of your best friends. The best you can hope for is some quality catching up while you herd the toddler to various toddler-friendly activities.
Fortunately, Liz, while she does not have children of her own, is a friend to kids and seemed to understand this from the get-go. She accommodated my requests to get takeout as opposed to sitting in restaurants, she plied Charles with toys and sweets as soon as we walked in the door, and she had fantastic toddler-friendly activities planned for us. In return, Charles only broke one glass and only dropped about 60 goldfish crackers in her previously immaculate car.
The flights to Phoenix were a dream – I’m sure the people on the flight thought I was some sort of supermom. That is, of course, if they didn’t see us struggling before the flight. Sure, we killed a lot of time in SeaTac’s atrium watching planes land and take off,
but once we arrived at the gate, all our gear in tow, Charles did not want to stand in line and he was overtired, so he began throwing tantrums. God bless all the wonderful people who said things like, “What is he, about two? I have a three-year-old at home, I know exactly what you’re going through.” Unfortunately, Southwest does family boarding after the A boarding, so we had people in front of and behind us. Thankfully, some of them helped us on (for the return trip, I asked for preboarding and got it not because of having a toddler and all the stuff that goes along with him, but because I am pregnant. Because pregnancy counts as a disability while kids, disabling though they may be, do not). Charles thought that takeoff was scary (the first thing I have ever found that frightens him!) and had me hold his hand, but then he promptly fell asleep. He woke up when we landed in Salt Lake City, had his first peeing-in-an-airplane-bathroom experience (he loves flushing toilets, so flushing that one with the noise and the blue stuff was awesome for him), and got settled for the last leg, during which we sang songs, ate junk, and read books. He was quite the delight.
Our first day in Phoenix, Liz took us to the zoo. It was a nice 75 degrees and super dry and we enjoyed every minute of it.
The zoo is thirsty work.
“Pet GOATS, mommy!”
The next day, we went to the train park. I don’t know what you picture when you read “train park” but believe me, it is cooler than your wildest imagination. Here is the website. Charles never wanted to leave, and in fact coerced us into going again the next day. So yeah, aside from the time spent at meals and watching movies and hanging out, we were mostly at the train park for the rest of the weekend.
He’s a climber.
First ride in the train and we’re not sure what to expect.
The Carousel, aka, “Horses, Mommy, Horses!”
The photo that made me realize that, whoa, I am getting really big.
The little train.
We also took an afternoon trip to Sedona, because mommy wanted to see things like this:
Charles was not so interested in the red rocks, so after some mandatory photos, we took him to a park.
We returned from Phoenix with similar airport troubles as in SeaTac, and Charles was awake the entire flight, but life was made so much easier by this contraption. I wouldn’t consider flying without it – keeping him in the carseat during the flight made everything so much easier, and if he wasn’t being towed through the airport, he wanted to do the towing. Everyone needs a task, you know. I also will not consider flying by myself with Charles and the next baby. Our next family trip will have to include Tony, there is just no other way.
All in all, it was a wonderfully relaxing time, and Liz and I did get to catch up in between chasing after Charles. I tend to think that anyone who is around Charles for extended periods of time probably comes to think of him as good birth control, but I was very proud of him. He wasn’t too cranky and he’s always been very adaptable to different situations.
Oh! And do you see that last photo? It is the last time you will see that diaper bag until the new baby comes along – I realized yesterday that being diaper free means we are also diaper bag free! Hallelujah!