In January, the Parakeet was up for a promotion with Arbonne (very exciting – she did it -and got a Tiffany’s necklace and everything). So, her mom and sister-in-law offered to help. They threw two very fun Arbonne parties and the Parakeet and Little O flew down to Lake Mary, FL for the occassion.
That’s right – the Huz stayed in the Windy City to work. So.. The Parakeet was flying alone with a toddler. The End. Or it could have been..she was so nervous leading up to the trip. Faithful readers know that the O-ster is not so awesome with the traveling. But would it be different in a plane? Were there some secret spells she could cast (no, not Benadryll) to make it all OK? Don’t think she didn’t talk to everyone who would listen about their advice for a plane ride. She bought a fancy backpack because the day job wanted spreadsheets updated while she was out of town. This way she could carry a laptop and push a stroller. She booked evening flights, hoping that if the little guy was tired he may be more understanding about the fact he could not run around. She filled the aformentioned backpack with diapers and books and silent toys and SNACKS…lots of snacks. She put a sippy cup in both mesh water bottle holders. She looked like she had weapons strapped to her back – weapons of hydration.
Then, she prayed. She prayed for good weather and no delays. She prayed for no fits and crying from the O. But mostly – she prayed for NICE people, she wanted to sit next to VERY NICE people.
Their flight out of Chicago was non-stop and miraculously on time. She and Little O ate some pizza in the airport and watched planes at the arrival gate. The check-in attendants were announcing who got stand-by seats and she knew instantly: FULL FLIGHT. Boo. She and O were seated next to a Man and his son (maybe in higschool or just starting college) who were flying one-way to FL to get some weight lifting equipment that they were going to drive back. Hmmm…
Turns out the Parakeet sat next to a very nice teenage boy (they are out there, folks) who probabaly opened and closed his tray table 73,000 times to entertain Little O. It was great. O was cranky, for sure, but there was no total meltdown and they survived. Not a wink of sleep -but really what did you expect?
The flight back had a connection in Memphis. They got to the Orlando airport with lots of time to spare. So, this time the Parakeet got Little O some yogurt from Starbucks. Wow – did he love that!! Then, she found some crayons at one of those over-priced-here-are-the-things-you-forgot stores. Thank God.
They sat in a row with one empty seat. Little O was not so keen on being buckled in, but the Parakeet was very keen on not having him in her lap. He took the crayons in and out of the box for most of the flight and ate about 4 Delta cookies. Who knows Delta Cookies? Enough said. The other woman in the aisle had been in Orlando on business and had a grand-daughter Owen’s age. She was MORE than helpful and retrieved the red crayon from the floor at least 83 times. She did, however, insist on telling Owen what color all the Sesame Street characters should be in his coloring book . The Parakeet tolerated her comments in the name of neighborly cooperation, even though she firmly believes Little O can color things whatever damn color he pleases.
Again – No sleeping.
Then – they get to Memphis. A stunning airport. Kidding – it is very small. The Parakeet got them both to the gate and then let Little O RUN….and seriously RUN. She was having to jog to catch him. She needed him to release some pent-up energy and settle down for another 70 min in the air. He ran all over the little terminal while they waited for the connector. He was yelling and giggling and being adorable. But all the people waiting on their planes kept eyeing her. As she got in line to board, she knew all of those around here were thinking “She is flying to Chicago. Aaarrgghh”. The woman scanning her boarding pass said ‘let me just check where you are sitting’. She glanced at the screen. ‘There is no one else in your row’. An angel chorus began to sing. Then, they lifted the Parakeet and her Toddler and carried them softly to their seats to rest on pillows of clouds.
Seriously – the last flight was the easiest. The Parakeet gave Little O his blanket and a passy. She put a little Thomas the Tank Engine (silently) on the laptop. He stared and closed his eyes and mostly fell asleep. Although, he did somehow manage to have probably 2 more Delta Cookies.
Successful flying with Toddler. He was not amazing. He was not a Hellion. He was 17 months old and they both survived.
Oh, and Florida in January – that was cool, too.
Some Fun Pics: