Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mom and Son Adventure

When I booked a flight to see a friend up North, I thought handling a toddler in an airport was no big deal.  By the time I landed at my destination, I thought I would never fly solo with a toddler EVER again.

Aidan wanted to run everywhere, and I tried chasing after him with a stroller full with our coats, his diaper bag, my purse, the Ergo, and shoes I was trying hide.  There was no room in the stroller for a toddler, and he certainly wanted no part of sitting.  I tried entertaining him with lunch, which led me to picking up a perfectly good sandwich and apple off the floor.

On the plane, I tried snacks - Aidan thoroughly enjoyed shoving Ritz crackers into my mouth, and after the third cracker, I decided I had enough with snacks.

Doodle, play Duck Tales intro song, open and close the window, open and close the water bottle top, play with the airplane light, try to touch the air conditioning, and read airplane magazines. Screech, try and kick, hit mom.  Check my watch. Oh wait, I don't wear a watch because I have a phone. So realizing I had no idea when 1.5 hours would be over, I started counting.  Yes, in my head, I was trying to count the seconds, then minutes, and eventually get to an hour. I'm sure there were some happy passengers, especially the lady in front of me...luckily for Aidan, she thought he was cute and understood. 

But much like the first few weeks with a newborn where you swear you'll never have another kid again, I forgot the terror the flight was - it helps that I had a wonderful time with a great friend. Not yet brave enough to book another solo flight, though!

I mean, how can you remember a stressful flight when you can wake up four days in a row to these two?  To watch them interact (and feed off the others' emotions) is amazing and I miss it.  Note to self, latest flight as possible so you can enjoy the morning time when toddlers seem to be the sweetest.

So what do you do with double the trouble in a cold state?  You take them to a lot of indoor play spaces and let them wear themselves out.  If it hadn't been for my visit, I would have never thought to research children's museums - I didn't know they had such great experiences for toddlers.  So thanks, Kim!

But you have to remember to feed these boys, and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to eat at Max Brenner's (Can you say chocolate?!).  On the day we ate at MB's, there were three of us and three toddler boys.  The boys played off each other.  One would start beating the table, the others followed.  Screeching, no problem (Aidan seemed to have the loudest lungs), forks for drum sticks, tossing food, tossing toys, and grabbing for our drinks.  Chaos.  Someone should have recorded it.  While we tried to keep the chaos to a minimum, there were many shared laughs.  Looking back, I think we have sold some of our sanity for energy to keep up with these boys and agree to said lunch date, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Never Staying Still for a Picture

What's also amazing about these toddlers is how quickly they pick up the others' behaviors.  For instance, pre Pennsylvania trip, Aidan would not sit still for me to read a book to him and would spit his milk.  Post trip, Aidan brings me books and sits in my lap to read (one sitting was 5 books!) and he has not spit his milk.  However, I have heard Mr. Connor has done some spitting of his own. BUT, I don't know if Aidan is a fault for that behavior.  In addition, it's possible that Aidan and Laith were inspiring to Connor who seemed more intrigued by milk as he watched those boys chug the good stuff.  Oh, Aidan also picked up Laith's storytelling, and Connor began trying to climb more than one stair.  Can you imagine if they had more time together?!  They would probably scheme against us...

We were also fortunate (hahaha) to experience the snow in a Northern state, ya know, where they are prepared for it.  Aidan was able to borrow a real winter jacket because there was no way I would have one, let alone pack it in my suit case.   Aidan hated wearing a hat, but was happy when he held the snow shovel, Lily (the dog) was running around or kissing him, and when going down hill on a toboggan. Why isn't it called a sled...what's the difference?

The flight home, while not as exciting because I was leaving, was less eventful.  In fact, I would classify Aidan as an angel.  The wait, the flight, and the drive home was easy.  Aidan patiently waited in the Ergo while I unloaded our stroller full of stuff.

By the end of the trip, I was ready for another visit, and I completely forgot the misery of the first flight, well until I sat down to write this blog.

But here's what I learned:
  • When limited to one carry on, flying during the summer is preferred.  Good gracious, packing real winter clothes sucks - I did bring and wear long johns.
  • I packed Aidan way more outfits than myself.  
  • Dogs are awesome - when Aidan needed cheering up, Lily to the rescue!
  • Barnes and Noble is a great pit stop for restless toddlers
  • Two moms and two toddlers are always better than one mom and one toddler - at least you can laugh together
  • Baby toys are entertaining because someone the toddlers know the stuff is packed up to be put away, thus it's more fun if you pull it all out.
  • I believe my host has a Men in Black type pen that wipe out my memory of any whining, crying or temper tantrums because I honestly don't remember any of this.
  • Don't trust toddlers around place mats - water will go every where.
  • I want a Cosi's to open near me.  Seriously, good bread.
  • I am jealous of the soft, indoor play spaces in the malls up North.  Oh, except the mall in New Jersey where we went to meet another friend!  No notice, and it's closed. Um, what are we suppose to do with three energetic toddlers?  Oh  yes, let them run wild in a crowded mall...not!
  • Speaking of New Jersey (and I blocked it out), I was not impressed. Filthy, lots of traffic (on a Sunday!), foul language around a lot of kids, and while I'm not a fashionable person by any means, I'm not quite sure I would jump on the style I saw in the mall.  If I'm suppose to believe Jersey has nice places, someone is going to have to hold my hand, blind fold me, and take me there.
  • Be prepared to eat your toddler snacks and share more of your sandwich than you want to.
  • They don't do separate (restaurant) checks, which was no big deal splitting amongst friends, but it was weird to me. 
  • Columbia and Philadelphia airports were very helpful and kind to me.  It's not easy going through security with a toddler strapped to you and trying to take off boots that have a little heel, but there were plenty of employees willing to help me.  They also said I had the easiest stroller to fold up - City Mini for the win!
  • I CAN do this again.

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