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Thursday, October 19, 2006  

Terminal Cuteness

Want to be the one who closes out our Donors Choose challenge by pushing us that last little bit to the goal? Better hurry, or someone else is going to do it, and then nobody will realize how cool you are.

* * *

Whenever we’re outside and an airplane flies overhead (which is pretty frequently, as we’re directly under the approach vector to MSP’s Runway 1-2), M. Small always stops what he’s doing, points at the sky and announces, “Plane!” Sometimes he’ll change it up a bit and say, “Airplane!” It all depends on how garrulous he’s feeling at that particular moment.

A couple of weeks ago, we started responding, “Would you like to ride in a plane?”

“Yeah,” M. Small would say. “[I want to] Go in it!”

Last week, he finally got his chance.

We’d been putting off flying with him for a while. We always had excuses not to put him on a plane. “He’s so active and noisy.” Before that, it was, “He hates being in his car seat that long.” Before that, it was, “His feedings are too close together.” Before that, it was, “His immune system is still developing,” and before that, it was, “If we disconnect him from the machines, he might die.” Always something.

When we finally accepted our friends’ invitation to come to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta, we had a decision to make. Buy him a seat, or don’t buy him a seat? The rule is that children two years and under can ride in a parent’s lap. But his second birthday was going to fall on one of the days we were out of town. I know it’s not uncommon to buy a one-way return ticket for an adopted child, but that doesn’t usually happen two years after the adoption was final. Trash and I both gave some thought to what it would be like holding a squirming, bitching bundle of hyperactive claustrophobia in our laps for three hours inside a sealed metal tube.

Best nine thousand dollars we ever spent, getting him his own seat.

Wednesday morning was a smorgasbord of excitement. There was the ride to the airport in the back of Trash’s stepmom’s car. He’s been to the airport a few times to pick up one or both of us (leaving him the keys is so much cheaper than a cab or parking), but has never actually entered the terminal before. He got to ride on a luggage cart (which now costs $3.00 to rent, instead of the $1.50 it cost last time I looked, but the deposit? Still only a quarter), go through security, and have a heart second breakfast at the McDonald’s in the concourse while saying “Hi!” to the nine million people who walked past.

Then he got to ride on the moving walkway, which of course we had to return to once he’d been liberated from the luggage cart. It was like an amusement park ride to him, until I let him run ahead of me and he reached the end and faceplanted onto the grate. Now those recorded “Caution: you are reaching the end of the moving walk” don’t seem so silly to me; just age-inappropriate. The should really say, "Slow down, little dude!"

There was also the large replica airplane hanging from the ceiling near our gate for him to admire, and another thousand people to say "Hi!" to, and the giant floor-to-ceiling windows at the gate, through which he could gaze out and behold the glorious spectacle of…

Luggage trucks. This is what fascinated him. They look like trucks, but some of them have three trailers behind them, so are they actually trains? What a conundrum.

Oh, and then there was the jetway door. Somehow he was able to make the connection that the door behind the ticket podium leads into the jetway, which in turn leads to the plane. "[I want to] go in it!" he kept insisting. "Go in the plane!" Except a) we weren't boarding yet, and b) our plane hadn't actually arrived. But he didn't care; even a jetway with the end hanging out in space was better than nothing.

Eventually, of course, our plane arrived, and after a few more moving walk rides, a diaper change, and a minor meltdown, we all got on the plane. Which is a whole other entry.

posted by M. Giant 7:56 PM 6 comments


My niece is the same age and loves airplanes and helicopters. How a 2 year old can tell the difference in the sound of them is beyond me. Her first plane ride was when my sister brought her home from Kazakhastan. She slept the whole way. She was 11 months old. All she wants to do now is go on a plane again.

Glad your experience was good.

By Blogger Libragirl, at October 20, 2006 at 1:41 AM  

We took our daughter on a plane when she was 9 months old. We didn't buy her a seat. Huge mistake. On the way down she was OK but then entire flight home was one temper tantrum after another. It didn't help that it was after her bed time and she has a weird aversion to being held anyway.

By Blogger M, at October 20, 2006 at 10:38 AM  

My niece's first plane ride was to visit grandma on the opposite coast. We all thought she had a pretty good grasp of the situation until she announced she was going to sit next to grandma on the plane.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 20, 2006 at 1:30 PM  

My first plane ride was when my parents took me, aged 18 months, and my sister, aged four, on an intercontinental flight to emigrate to a country none of us had ever seen.

Later, they would threaten a Customs official that they would leave me at Customs while they went shopping if he didn't allow them to take through the soy-based milk formula they had brought. (I could drink no other that they knew of.) If you threaten to leave toddlers at the Customs point, they will bend rules for you.

By Blogger Sami, at October 20, 2006 at 7:02 PM  

Flying with kids is fun. I know you and Trash will look back on these experiences with fondness.

I was flying with my kid from six months on. My family lives across the country from me and my job had alot of travel. There were a few particularly memorable flights including the one where I forgot to pack a back up shirt for myself and wore a poop, breast milk, animal cracker encrusted shirt under a silk jacket into a business meeting.

There was another flight when the plane slide off the runway in Moline and we both hit our heads. Very scarey. He wasn't very good in the early days....there was a flight that resulted in various action figures being flung about the plane. I tried to make people understand that this was a bonus. Sit near the baby get a crappy happy meal toy flung at your face.

By the time he was two was an accomplished flyer. I had gone back home for a wedding shower-bachelorette party. The next day we had to go home. I was severely hung over. Pre-9/11 my son ran down the jetway while I struggled with a carryon and the stroller. When I got to the plane he was seated in first class with juice and a cookie. The flight attendant told me that he had walked onto the plane, sat down, and politely asked for some juice and a pillow.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 20, 2006 at 10:12 PM  

I understand the fascination with moving sidewalks. We recently had a 90-minute layover in Newark and I spent about two-thirds of it following my 18-month old son up and down the walkways... and every time I passed a woman going the other way with her son. They're definitely kid magnets.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 22, 2006 at 5:20 PM  

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