we've all been there. on a plane, sitting next to, or even within earshot of (which is not an accomplishment given the tight quarters on said aircraft) someone's crying baby. on more than one occasion i've breathed the myriad of 'would someone shut that kid up'-isms, and silently judged the parent erstwhile vowing that when i have kids, MY kid won't be like that. he will be calm, behaved, pleasant. Passengers would quietly marvel at my kid's inherent angelic qualities as he sat on my lap and charmed them all with his coos and fascination with their jewelry, seemingly unaffected by the unfamiliar surroundings.
i've traveled on a plane two times so far with dutch, once with zach and once by myself. except for the occasional fussy bout, he was a champ, and i approached this trip expecting nothing less. 'expecting the best and prepared for the worst' was my motto and despite zach's voiced concerns for what might happen, i always dismissed them and called him a pessimist.
scene 1, act 1
after waiting about an extra hour in the airport due to a delay in our flight, we calmly board the aircraft and find our seats. per uszche in this holiday season, the flight is full and find ourselves seated next to a lovely gentleman, who informed us that he has a 14 month old niece who he adores and is used to being around kids. i breathe a silent prayer of thanks, and we situate ourselves. already feeling confined, dutch begins to move from me to zach, me to zach, me to... well, you get the picture. after about 30 minutes of quiet fussing and a barrage of snacks from the overstuffed diaper bag, little man has had quite enough of this adventure and begins to cry. any of you who know my son and have seen him at his most dramatic moments knows that his cry is not just a cry, but a high pitched wailing of sorts, complete with screams and varying levels of 'loud'.
scene 1, act 2
flash forward one hour and we are still sitting on the plane in the same spot we were in to begin with - at the airport. armed with the knowledge that we are going to be sitting there for what is a minimum of one more hour, i go into survival mode. i am sure by now the people in the front of the plane are beginning to wonder what kind of torture i am submitting my son to to make him cry this hard and this long (is she pulling his fingernails off one by one? maybe she has starved him and he's dying of hunger. honey, get out your phone and call child protective services, this isn't right...) and despite all the well meant nuggets of advice and suggestions from other and more experienced mothers on the plane (oh, honey, we've all been there, don't worry), nothing works to calm this kid down and the crying has reached it's peak and shows no signs of dissipating.
(cue the captain) ladies and gentlemen, it turns out that we will have to replace one of the tires, and we estimate this to take approximately one hour. the man sitting behind us voices what i'm sure every person on the plane was thinking but didn't have the guts to say aloud 'oh jesus christ!'
(cue more crying)
scene 1, act 3
one hour later
(me) aisle seat. seated, defeated, wishing desperately that the guy in front of me would make good on that offer to buy me a shot of tequila. on my lap sits one red-faced, puffy-eyed, shirtless, shoeless toddler, still crying and sucking my will to live down to an all time low.
(zach) a glance over to the middle seat occupied by one zach lowrie, head in his hands, willing our son with every fibre of his being to 'please just shut up' and occasionally sending very apologetic 'please don't hate me' looks to nearby passengers.
(cue the captain) ladies and gentlemen, it seems that the staff has surpassed their allowable limit to fly and the flight has been canceled.
scene 2, act 1
we deplane and find ourselves at the smallest baggage carousel i have ever witnessed. our son has found his sanity (as well as his shirt and his shoes) and is as happy as a clam in his stroller as we wait for our baggage. since no one is there to claim their bags (they are all waiting in line at the ticket counter to get their free hotel voucher for the overnight stay they are about to endure), the bags pile up and in no time we experience a bag jam. this is of no particular consequence to me as i was fine waiting for my bag and was enjoying the return of my hearing after the previous 2 hours of toddler screams, EXCEPT that i was witness to what i can only describe as an idiot move by a nearby woman and it made enough of an impression on me that i immediately vowed to blog about it.
girded by her self-righteousness, this woman busied herself chewing out one of the only two baggage handlers who had showed up to help alleviate the bag jam. other passengers were pulling bags off the carousel and apparently she was very ruffled that her friend was 'forced' to be one of those do-gooders. for a good 5 minutes, she barraged him with reasons as to why she felt that he was not performing his job to par and who was going to pay for the medical bills if a passenger helping (ie. her friend) was to get hurt, all the while forcing MORE passengers to begin helping pull luggage off the carousel because the one guy who was authorized to actually do it was being waylaid by some stupid woman. yes, i said stupid. i understand she was fussy, we all were, but seriously, can you let the man do his job before you tear into him? she strikes me as the same kind of person who would kill an abortion doctor, and find herself perfectly justified in doing so.
as much as i wanted to tell her as much, and free the baggage handler from the situation, i held my tongue; pretty sure that i'd already made enough enemies for one night.
scene 3, act 1
back at home 6 hours after having left for the airport, we find that ourselves with our sweet little man, full of smiles and 'this's' and 'that's' (his favourite two words, to be used interchangeably), content to push his little trolley around the house; no sign of the monster we'd seen just mere hours previous.
mental note: in lieu of the applesauce, cheerios and sippy cup, pack the children's benadryl, a flask of a very potent liquor, and enough cash to buy everyone on the plane an apologetic drink of their choice.