I've just returned from a solo trip to Chicago with the Snood and WOW! flying with a 3-month-old is kinda different from flying with a 6-month-old.
Flying with a 3-month-old is like sort of like having an occasionally cranky handbag as your carryon item, whereas flying with a 6-month-old is more like locking yourself in a cage with a crystal meth-fueled wolverine for four hours (or four-and-a-half with headwinds) while irritated spectators stare at you as if to say, "Could you keep it down over there?"
As we landed in Los Angeles I actually heard a guy in a row behind us growling into his cell phone,
"We had a screaming baby on the flight the whole way."
First, the Snoods did not scream the whole way. He screamed about once an hour for about 10 minutes each time. Secondly, let me just say this to cell phone man:
I worked for years as a waitress at a huge chain restaurant (let's call it Planet Wollyhood). The thing that drove me crazy (aside from, you know, working at a dead-end job that I despised) was that I would regularly get stiffed on tips by my tables.
Now, I understand getting stiffed by people to whom I gave terrible service.
I mean, if I drop a salad on your baby, or you overhear me referring to you as 'the hatchet-face at table 12' then go ahead and stiff me - it's only right. BUT - if you know your food is late because the kitchen is backed up and I am coming to your table every 5 minutes and telling you exactly what is going on and then rush your food out as soon as the chef puts it in the window and then you stiff me -- you officially suck as a person.
I feel the same way towards cell phone man as he continues to glare at me while we deplane. OK, I understand that you drew the 'great short-straw of life' and ended up on a plane with me and my Snoodie. I realize it is not that fun for you that said Snood expresses every emotion with the high-pitched shriek of a rabid barn owl.
BUT -- you see me over here working my tail off, don't you? I mean I'm pulling out bottles, I'm walking around the plane, I'm returning to my seat as soon as the Snood starts fussing on these walks, I'm pulling an exciting array of toys out of my well-stocked diaper bag AND I'm making quiet, yet funny faces for my baby's amusement - so CUT ME SOME SLACK ALREADY, CELL PHONE MAN!!!!
*end angry tirade towards cell phone man*
I get off the plane. Now, this would normally be the part of my journey where I hand the Snood off to my husband and move directly into the recovery/cocktail mainlining portion of my travel day.
Unfortunately, this is not possible as my husband is currently on a business trip. To China.
Instead, I pick my stroller up at the gate and limp towards the baggage claim area, where I collect my suitcase and Snood's jumperoo. (Word to the wise - never travel without the jumperoo!) Foregoing the wait for an airport shuttle I decide to walk the 1/2 mile to David's office where my car is parked.
It is further than I remembered, it is hotter than I realized, and my suitcase seems about 30 pounds heavier than it did when I left Chicago. I manage to make it to the car and I head for home.
By the time Snood and I reach the apartment I don't even have the energy to to get my luggage out. I leave everything in the back of the car and carry Snood upstairs, where I content myself by staring at the walls while counting the hours until I can put both of us to bed.
The next day I wake to a burgeoning plane-caught head cold. My ears feel like someone has been sticking ice picks in them and my throat is throbbing. Nevertheless, I manage to head back to the airport where Snood and I have a great lunch with my brother's in-laws, who are eager to meet the baby on their layover from Sydney to the East Coast.
I mention jokingly that I've been spending an awful lot of time at the airport lately, heh-heh.
I get home from lunch and manage to drag my luggage up to the apartment. This gives me such a sense of accomplishment that I feel no urgency to actually unpack. Instead, I put Snood down for an afternoon nap, find a comfortable spot on the couch, and indulge in a multi-hour 'Real Housewives of Orange County' marathon.
By 5pm Snoods is awake and I drag myself off the sofa, filled with hope. My husband's flight is landing in 30 minutes! I figure that all I have left of my day is getting Snoods some dinner and maybe putting him in the bathtub. David might even make it through customs in time to tuck the Snood in at bedtime!
I start prepping for dinner and find myself in need of a bib. And so it is that I finally open my suitcase...
...only to discover that it is, in fact, not my suitcase at all but rather the suitcase of one Dylan Nelson of Tarzana.*
You see, Mr. Nelson's bag had the unfortunate luck to look quite a bit like mine (though, now that I look at it on my living room floor, some of the differences, such as Mr. Nelson's prominent bagtag and the fact that Mr. Nelson's bag is approximately two times larger than my own, really should have clued me in). His bag also arrived off the carousel at LAX at the same time as Snood's jumperoo. These two factors combined to trick my post-flight addled brain into thinking it was mine. So, I took it.
Relaxing evening of calming bedtime rituals - OUT.
Strapping my highly reluctant son into his car sear for yet another airport trip in order to reclaim my actual baggage and reunite poor Dylan Nelson with his missing underwear- IN.
I leave David a message explaining that instead of welcoming him home from his trip with a nice dinner I'll be driving back and forth to the airport, in tears, with an angry Snoodle, for at least the next two hours.
By the time we reach the airport I have a detailed plan worked out. I will hand over the Snood to the nice-looking nun with the change cup to raise as her own. I will then board the next flight to Rio where I will live out the rest of my days selling home-made bead necklaces under the name 'Conchita Marquez'.
But just as I'm figuring out what supplies I will need for my journey, I arrive at the terminal to see perhaps the greatest sight of my life to-date: My husband, having arrived home from China, is waiting for me at the entrance to the baggage office.
He runs interference for me with the baggage police (I overhear just enough to make out the phrases, 'traveling with the baby', 'very sorry', and 'needs to get more rest'). He then drives us all home, gives a very tired Snood some dinner and a bath and puts us both to bed.
My eyes are only closed for only a few minutes before I fall into a really deep sleep. But in those few minutes a thought occurs to me. While I realize that statistically it is highly unlikely and that it is no excuse for my SNAFU even if it is true, I smile as drift off to sleep with the following thought:
Maybe cell phone man... was Mr. Dylan Nelson of Tarzana.
* names have been changed to protect my identity from the person whose luggage I actually held hostage for over 36 hours.