Watching my children grow is the most mind-blowingly magnificent thing I've ever seen but also the most depressing, most unexplainably sad experience of my life. I pridefully celebrate the arrival of each milestone, while mourning the death and forever-ending of the last. There is no stopping it- no pausing it even. It's inevitable and it makes me sad.
It seems like overnight my son went from toddling in baby diapers to shitting in the toilet like a man, beating his chest while exclaiming his testosterone-fueled sheer triumph at the size of his "huuuuge poops".
My daughter, in fact, has completely bypassed her youth, emulating the mannerisms of a lady who might be starring in a Telenovela rather than attending a pre-k class. I've never seen someone so small be so dramatic and expressive. She loves to act like an adult, speak to adults, be with adults, and walk and talk like a grown-ass woman. She calls me, her Mommy, "Mom," and her Daddy, "Dad". She sneaks her bikini tops under her t-shirts so she can feel like she's wearing a bra. It's a bit terrifying.
I'll get back to that later, but no matter what kind of two- and four- year old, no matter how grown-up you think they may be, flying on a plane with them is the worst idea you've ever had.
Shit, it sucks. There's no way around it's imminent suckiness. And although there's no way to make it an enjoyable experience, there is a way to make it worse- fly riiiight around nap time and keep your two year old up three hours past his bedtime the night prior. It'll be a doosy, I promise.
I've spent the last ten days with my mommy (I, unlike my womanchild, have grown out of my too-grown-up-for-a-mommy phase) in Idaho which was a literal breath of fresh air from the muggy burning hell of a Las Vegas summer we're having. I enjoyed her help, beat her so mercilessly at Scrabble that she cried, and let my laziness levels peak at an all time high, soaking in my mommy-sister-wife vacation. Anyway, it had to come to an end, and it did.
Troy met us for the last four days, so he was flying back home with us. It was a short flight, only about two hours, and due to the help from my husband, the quick flight, but mostly to my laziness induced coma, I didn't pack any sort of toddler distractions for the flight. I didn't really think I'd need them, and most the time, they don't work anyway.
So there we are. In the airport, my son, an absolute ticking time bomb, and my teenage princess diva of a preschooler daughter with a swollen and mucousey eye who, in alignment with my luck, came down with her very first case of "pink eye" the night prior to the flight home. With some ibuprofen, the redness and swelling went down enough for it to be overlooked by strangers, so that was good enough for me.
So, yeah, on the plane Landon was an absolute tornado in (but mostly out of) a seat belt. He was kicking (his dad, for the most part, who was in the row in front of us, and unable to assist me), he was screaming and jumping, he was grabbing and pulling at his sister and me. He was in a fit of exhaustion and discomfort. He was actually delirious. It was awful.
About an hour into the abuse, I bought, from the airline attendant, the kids each a snack, hoping that satisfying his hunger might calm him. And plus each snack pack came with those little golden pilot's wing pins that they used to give us kids for free, but now come with a four dollar pack of eight goldfish and two Oreos.
The snack doesn't work. Landon is demanding Avery's cookies and is being a total dick. He's still kicking and shouting. Whereas initially I was sitting in the front-ish of the plane, I now feel like I'm in the center of the aircraft and all the passengers are seated, circling and facing me, staring and shaking their heads at my parental incapability. I'm mortified. I tried fastening the airline's stupid wing pins onto the kids' shirts as a distraction, almost impaling my never-still son through the heart as a result. Avery thought hers was cool because it resembled any kind of semblance of jewelry and she's apparently turning thirty-eight on her next birthday.
I'm on the verge of tears when the pilot announces that we are beginning to descend. Landon is clawing at me, in the aisle seat, to let him into the aisle. Big Girl Avery asks what "descends" means, and Desperate Mom lowers her voice and threateningly explains that "descends" means that anyone who is not in his seat with his seat belt on will be arrested and put in jail.
What? It worked.
Landon was terrified, but he sat in his seat for the rest of the descent, wide eyed and fearing for his freedom. So. That.
Anyway, we gather ourselves and head off the plane. Almost there. Just need to take a tram from the C-gates to the passenger pick up, where my sister-in-law is already waiting for us. We scurry to the back of the subway-car-like tram, and squeeze into the furthest seats because it's quite full. A woman sitting with her friend was admiring So Sooo Big Avery and said to her, "I love your pin!" referring to the winged airline pin I had fastened to her shirt and first layer of epidermis. Avery took this opportunity to engage in conversation with the much older woman, and to perhaps show off a bit, explaining, "I have a pin but I ALSO have a pink eye!"
Woman looks at the floor, gives her friend an I'm-getting-my-tubes-tied-today sort of a look, I apologize, and she rushes out of the tram as soon as it stops, making damn sure not to touch anyone nearby who could possibly have an chance of being in our family.
Anyway, we're home! We did it. Don't get me wrong, I still love and appreciate my kids' "phases", whether it be "the terrible twos" or the "freaking act your age fours" but am happier to do so behind closed doors. And not on a plane. And with antibiotics.