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Friday, February 08, 2008  

Traveling Companion

My parents' vacation rental house is about an hour from the airport in Fort Myers, which gave M. Small plenty of time to pass out in his car seat on Wednesday afternoon while they were driving us to catch our plane home. I was ambivalent. On the one hand, he was being kind of grumpy, and not such great company while he was awake. On the other, it meant he was going to be awake for the whole flight home.

5:57 p.m. EST: As I wrestle to get the car seat strapped into his window seat, he keeps trying to squeeze past me into the aisle while other people are boarding. At 6'2", I have never before been so grateful for the complete lack of space between one row of airplane seats and the next. For some reason, it's a lot harder to get that thing buckled in on the right side of the plane. Remind me to get us seats on the left side of the plane fro now on, at least until he's sixteen.

6:03 p.m. EST: "I have to go to the bathroom." You never like to tell a kid who's only been potty trained for a couple of months that he's going to have to wait. But that's exactly what I do. I hear someone a couple of rows away saying, "We're off to a great start." I make a mental note to disable his oxygen mask at the first opportunity.

6:04 p.m.: EST: "Can you read me a story?" Only too happy to, my boy! My dad had even taken us to the local Books A Million that very morning, since M. Small was almost as tired of the three books we'd brought down as I was. So of the new books he had, did he want one of the Curious George paperbacks, or one of the Cars ones. "I want Ratatouille, he announced. This was in reference to the book I'd read to him in the store but hadn't bought, on the grounds that it was a hardcover the size of a barn door. He's still asking for it, two nights after we got home. We may need to pick that up soon.

6:28 p.m. EST: Somewhere over Tampa, I decide I can't put off his need to visit the potty any longer. I don't think the seatbelt sign has gone off yet. Ask me if I care.

6:50 p.m. EST: "Can I watch Ratatouille?" Sure, kid, I'll just pop in the DVD her on the airplane and you can go to town. Fortunately, my parents bought him a portable DVD player last year. It is a lifesaver. I can't even tell you how many times it's saved his life.

6:51 p.m. EST: "I have to poo." Back to the bathroom. Poo is not forthcoming, although he does give it a go. At one point, with me standing over him perched on the plastic horseshoe and the two of us taking up nearly every cubic inch of space in there, he actually says to me, "Could you give me a little privacy?" That would be a no.

7:15 p.m. EST: The movie is put aside for a while, and we read stories. I'm particularly proud of one of our acquisitions, a two-in-one Cars tie in that has several sheets of stickers in the middle. He spends a pleasant hour taking stickers off the sheets and placing them over similar illustrations in the book, lending it a Picasso-esque quality. Now I know what animated films would look like if Pablo were alive and working for Pixar.

7:15 p.m. CST: Whoa, what happened there?

7:28 p.m. CST: For the first time in history, a parent asks a toddler, "Are we there yet?"

7:42 p.m. CST: After watching a bit more Ratatouille, M. Small decides to watch his I Love CAT Machines DVD instead. A half-hour of construction-equipment porn follows. M. Small asks me repeatedly, "Can you get me a power shovel?" I reply, "You have an excavator. What's the difference between an excavator and a power shovel?" He is happy to explain: "Can you get me a power shovel?" Unsurprisingly, the flight attendant is of no help whatsoever.

8:04 p.m. CST: On final approach, M. Small grabs my glasses of my face and drops them into the space between his seat and the bulkhead. The seatbelt sign is back on, so I can't get up to go after them. We have a big argument. This is partially my fault. While we were in the pool at Nana and Grandpa's, he would occasionally snatch my specs and drop them in the drink. This was funny, until I realized the bottom of the pool was cement and it was scratching the lenses. Ten minutes before I'm going to have to guide him half-blind through a busy airport, it's not remotely amusing. He smoothes it over by telling me how much he loves me, kissing me, and advising me, "Be happy." I defy the seatbelt sign for long enough to get them back. He has learned his lesson, and will not throw my glasses again until the next evening at home, popping out one of the lenses.

8:22 p.m. CST: We dock at the jetway, and the bing of the seatbelt light going off is immediately followed by the metallic popcorn sound of 180 buckles coming undone at the same time. I take M. Small out of his car seat, and he seems startled to realize that there are people in the row behind us. "They were there the whole time," I assure him. He rallies quickly, however, and as we wait to get off, he helpfully explains to them where we are and how the airplane works.

8:46 p.m. CST: Trash meets us outside the airport, and asks if he slept on the flight. "No," I say. "And I'll be sleeping in the car on the way home, if you don't mind."

posted by M. Giant 9:18 PM 1 comments


They must teach stuff like "Be happy!" to kids in secret toddler school because it's so sweet, in theory...

By Blogger RandomRanter, at February 14, 2008 at 10:03 AM  

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