Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So you think you have traveled

This is what I thought before I had Babes (and I only have one, I can't imagine 2, 3, or 4).  Traveling as an adult without kids is stressful.  There are hotels to book, tickets to buy, clothes to prepare….a hundred and one little things to get sorted out to ensure a pleasant journey.  With a kid there are a million and one little things to take care of so that the possibility of a pleasant journey is there.    In the past, once I was on my way the stress of traveling eased and I could relax and enjoy myself.  After all, if I had my tickets, my ID, and packed clothes to wear everything else would sort itself out.  In fact, when I met DH I found my perfect traveling companion, he liked to have a plan, so I only had to pack my bags and show up and he took care of the rest.  I like to think we were perfect together, he found exciting things to do and I never complained, provided companionship, could read a map and navigate us to almost anywhere. 
Now that we have a kid though, it is a different kettle of fish altogether (what the heck is a kettle of fish? Why did I just use that expression).   In the past it was always my goal to walk on board a plane with just my tiny purse and a book.  More than anything I hate carry-on luggage.  I hate the overhead bins, I hate jamming crap under the seat in front of you and I hate everyone in front of you who is trying to do that.  Now I LIVE by carry-on luggage.    There are toys, snacks, changes of clothes, blankets, books, and a myriad of other things that need to be carried on for a 24 hour journey. 
BUT, and Mister Business Man this is directed at you, I can get myself, AND my four year old through security faster than you can with your stupid laptop, and I resent the look I get when I get into a security line ahead of you.  We know the procedures, and we are prepared.  My child and I wear loose fitting clothing with no unsuspecting metal parts that can set off a metal detector and shoes that will easily slip off when we get to the front.  I pack all my liquids in an easily accessible place so that I can whip them out and then back in when I need to.  And even when we had to use a stroller, I only needed more than a few seconds once… the first time, when they told me that I would have to put the stroller through the machine and, well it was my first time traveling with a baby and I had no idea how to do that with one hand.  Whereas you, Mister Business Man always seem surprised that you have to take off your shoes, and take your laptop out of the bag.  IT SAYS IT ON THE SIGN, how many times have you traveled?  Oh and your stupid belt…  How many times do you need to travel before you figure out you have to take it off ahead of time?  I remembered after the first time I traveled, many many years ago, and haven't worn one to travel since.  You can't be that busy, I remember to do all these things AND I am watching a four year old who is trying to lick the security rails. 
Once on the plane, I used to kick back with my book, for a bit, and then I'd sleep the rest of trip, or maybe watch a movie or two.  Now I'm lucky if I can watch a movie all the way through if they play it three times on the plane.  And sleep?  Ha I can get maybe an hour or two!  You may be thinking how hard can it be?  You just sit in a seat.  But then you must not remember being three.  Three year olds have the very short attention spans, unlimited energy, and boundless curiosity.  They have to touch EVERYTHING.  They have to squirm, kick, jump, wriggle, flop…..  I could go on but you get the point.  So as a concerned parent I have to be vigilant against the child kicking the other passengers, annoying the other passengers or being entirely too loud altogether.  So it's a constant struggle to stay one step ahead of the active mind of the child before she finds something to amuse herself.  I can't wait until she's a little bit older and we can do littlest pet shop toy sets.  
And then there's the jet lag…….