Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two For The Road

So about a week and a half ago (yes, it's taken me that long to get my act together!) Dashy and I headed off on our own adventure like Bonnie and Clyde or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Thelma and Louise (only without the running-from-the-crappy-relationship thing). The moon illuminated the still dark sky (and trust me there was a lot of exclaiming about this, "WOW!! Dare! Dare!") as we loaded a ridiculous amount of stuff into the back of Dave's car and then made our way to LAX. Who would have thought that I would need SO MUCH STUFF for three days with a toddler!

When we got to the airport and actually put all the gear together so that it could be transported, it wasn't so much a pile, as a mountain. But I have to admit, if my child was actually progressing normally in the eating-of-table-food department it wouldn't have be so bad. But, since he is such a special delicate, particular flower I had to pack about 10 pounds of food. My suitcase was definitely much lighter coming back. But more about that later.

For the trip, I had one large stroller, one car seat, two carry-ons, and one large maximum weight (read 50 lb) suitcase. Oh yeah, and one 25 pound baby on my back! (I can't thank Marcela enough for recommending the Ergo carrier!! That thing rocks! You carry with your hips not your shoulders and you can just go straight through security carrying the baby on your back. It makes the whole process so much easier. Oh, and you can get the baby on your back yourself while standing up. It's magic!) How much of this stuff was mine you ask?? One book, one skirt, one jacket, and two tops. The rest... all Dashell, all the time. But worth it.

We were lucky to be able to have Dave help us go through security and get to the gate in LA and  for the return my wonderful Uncle Bob and cousin Kirsta were able to help us in the same way. Security, with the taking off of the shoes, pulling out the laptop, declaring the liquids, breaking down the stroller, etc. was probably the hardest part of the trip. It was wonderful to have some help!

Once we were safely on the plane and buckled in (not an easy task where the carseat was concerned. And at one point a flight attendant practically suggested that I carry the carseat, the two carry-ons and the baby by MYSELF to my seat! Do you think I would have gotten arrested if I had socked her one?! I think she felt me seething, and started to backpeddle. Btw... about 10 actual passengers asked if they could help me. So sweet! but not their job. Did anyone, whose actual job it was to help me, ask? Um, the answer to that would be a resounding, "no!") Anyway, back to the safely buckled in part... all in all it wasn't too bad.

This is what I noticed about flying with a toddler... life takes place in 5-10 minute increments. Five to ten minutes to look at a book. Ten minutes to climb on the carseat like it's a jungle gym. Five minutes to wake the guy up behind us by yelling, "BOO!!" over and over. Ten minutes of playing trucks with the nice guy who was just woken up. Five minutes of whining and flailing and apologizing to the guy next to us as he gets jabbed repeatedly by Dash's toy plane. Five minutes of "please don't touch the person in front of us they are sleeping." Five minutes of Dash telling me that they are sleeping. Ten minutes of Dash playing with the water bottle and soaking his whole outfit. Five minutes of me deciding if I care. Ten minutes of stealing the potato chip lid from the guy behind us. Five minutes of asking him to play trucks again. Five minutes of head-butting mommy. Five minutes of crying because it hurt. (It did!! I wanted to cry too.)

But, it really wasn't half bad. I had prepared myself for much worse and maybe that was the key. Extremely. low. expectations! From where I sat, Dash did great. He played with his trucks and the water bottle and read book after book about tractors and was basically happy and very rarely hungry. Diana had told me to pack more snacks than I could imagine needing, so I did. But I so didn't take into account that this was my son, not someone elses child.

At home Dash will almost never turn down a cheese puff, so I packed two cans worth as bribes. The whole trip, Dash only ate three. THREE puffs! I don't think he's ever gone three days and only eaten three puffs. Actually, he barely ate anything the whole trip. Except smoothies. The boy loves a good smoothie. And being the doting mother that I am, I purchased one of those wand-like hand-blenders and packed up pounds of fresh fruit so that I could whip up delicious smoothies on-demand in our hotel room. And let me tell you, it sure did pay off. It's about all he ate the whole weekend. (Until the exact moment we landed back in LA, and suddenly he had a ravenous appetite for real food. Go figure. The boy is a little strange. I guess he only eats in his home state, on even days of the month, that begin with "S"!)

So now that you basically have the whole story, I bet you're wondering why we went on this little trip... my cousin David got married in Virginia! It was beautiful and personal and all the things a good wedding should be. And I am so glad that Dash and I were able to go. The vows were lovely and after the ceremony the bride and groom walked down the aisle to the theme from Peanuts. The cake topper was a pair of rubber duckies outfitted as the bride and groom. (Dash noticed this first and was very enthusiastic about telling me that there were birds "dare!" And that he wanted them. Now!) The happy couple danced a few numbers with zest and true zeal and much fun was had by all.

It has been several years since we have had an opportunity to visit with this side of the family. I think that grandparents are the thread that keep the fabric of a family sewn together. And after my grandmother died, life just seemed to get in the way of planning a family gathering. So it was nice to have an excuse, like a wedding, to catch up with everyone and to meet all the new members of the family.

My cousins Mark and Jennifer adopted three beautiful children (Amber, Jason and Jacob) two years ago and it was so wonderful to have a chance to meet them. Dash loved playing with his new cousins. And I think by the end of the trip, that they had a small soft spot for him too. On our last day, we were saying goodby to Amber and I said how nice it was that Dash, the boys and she had all become friends. Amber looked at me earnestly and said, "We're better than friends, we're cousins!" I think I felt a small tear well up in the corner of my eye. There truly is nothing like family. And this trip reminded me that it's definitely worth spending 5 hours each way, on a plane, by myself, with a toddler to spend a little time with them. Life's just too short not to.

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Our mountain of stuff...


















Dashy ready for take off...

 Telling me that the person in front of us is sleeping...


 The bridesmaids...














The groomsmen...

 The happy couple...



















...gettin' they're groove on...



















The super cute cake...

Aunt Carol and Uncle Bob...


Cousins...


...and a little video that tells the tale of our adventure. Enjoy!

4 comments:

Alexandra Doudian said...

So cute! Taline ran in to watch the video with me and what did she start saying as we watched it ... "Daaaasss" I think she misses her little buddy.

Diana said...

What a fun video!!! I love when he bonked himself int he head with the truck, hee hee!!

Fulanita said...

This is awesome Gwynn! I can't wait to take Luka to Mexico City so i can have some fun stories as well!

Anonymous said...

You captured the adventure beautifully!
GMA