Thankfully, all my worry about the trip there and the trip back were for very little. But I could easily see how the trip could have gone very, very wrong. Luck was with us and we had an excellent trip on the way there and a good trip on the way home.
Heading to Texas!
We arrived at the airport about 7 (our flight was scheduled to leave at 8:20). We paid the skycap to check our bags curbside which was great because I didn’t have to worry about getting it all in. Kissing Daddy goodbye was hard, I always miss him when we go, plus this time I suddenly realized that I would have pretty much sole LA responsibility for the next 6 days. Sure I’d have my father and step mother, but since she didn’t know them as well it would be mostly me.
I breathed a sigh of relief as we arrived at security to find a short line. The attendant waved me through a family/pilot/attendant line and I didn’t have to wait at all. I took a deep breath and told myself to just take things one at a time and not rush. After clearing my pockets I did shoes and then loaded our carry on up computer diaper bag. While unhooking LA from our wheeled carry-on an attendant came up to ask for help. When I explained that this was my first time doing this and I was on my own she helped. She also shouted at another attendant that we’d have to put the car seat through “Big Bertha” because it was a bit wide for the regular x-ray machine. LA stayed in her carseat until it was time to go through, she was happy the whole time.
As we went through the metal detector our first helper shouted over “She’s on her own for the first time with the baby…. somebody help her!”
On the other side they had her car seat and moved it over to a bench for me so I could buckle her back in. Then they brought most of my other stuff so I could put us back together away from the crowd. That made it MUCH easier. They did take a bit of time scanning LA’s snacks etc. And at this point they took away her playdough, the guy apologized, but I told him it was ok. I only brought it because my friend used it to distract her son on a transatlantic flight. He was really nice and even showed me how they do the scanning and assured me it was safe for her food.
LA was pretty much happy this whole time, although she did request Cookie.
At the gate I found out there were spare seats all the way to Texas so we were able to bring the carseat on! Horray!
We boarded after A and premiere…. I ran into my first big issue. The car seat was too wide to roll down the aisle. Luckily the pilot and the attendant were there. They were both flirting shamelessly with LA, and she was doing the same back. The pilot said that since this was her first ride we’d have to get her picture in the cock pit when we landed. (this made me very excited).
He told me to carry her and the bags back and he’d bring the car seat… but the seats I’d grabbed were no good. Here is a note, if you have a baby car seat you can’t sit right before or right after the bulkhead. So we moved me back and then the pilot carried the car seat back for us!!!!
LA sat by the window (also where a car seat must go), I sat in the middle and a nice man who works for Southwest Unions had the aisle. This is where I also ran into a problem. How did I hold a now squirming LA and buckle the belt into the seat. Thankfully, the gentleman has an 8 year old daughter and he was happy to help, he hooked it right up. LA started fussing a bit so I pulled out my cover and nursed her. She passed right out and slept through take off and the first leg of our flight to Birmingham!
When she woke up I buckled her in her car seat and she sucked on her sippy cup for our second take off (we didn’t have to change planes btw). Then I gave her snack and that occupied her for a while. We tried various toys… the only big problem I was that when she was done with them she’d toss them on the other side of her car seat where I couldn’t reach, this was annoying. The beads worked best and for the longest amount of time. She enjoyed her stickers quite a bit and some of her other toys. The big hit was the sunglasses….
She wanted out of her seat after a while and wanted to ride with our new friend Southwest guy. Luckily he really liked kids so he didn’t mind. She nursed through landing and voila we were there!
Again, thank God for Southwest guy… he unhooked our car seat and carried it off the plane for us. It just took a moment to hook up her carseat to our wheelie and we headed for baggage. Unfortunately the pilot had already left because we were so long getting off… so no picture for me. I probably could have hung around and asked about the cockpit but I didn’t want to be a bother.
The toughest part of the trip was corralling her while we were waiting for our luggage at the carousel… mostly because she wanted to ride with the luggage and had energy from sitting still for so long.
Oh… forgot her cutest moment!!! While we were preparing to land she started signing “bird.” I looked all over for some birds but didn’t see any. I signed “plane” for her… but she was insistent. “Bird! Bird! Bird! BIRD!” I asked where she saw birds and she pointed at our wings. When we came down she pointed at the other planes, squeaked and signed “bird!” over and over. So all I can figure is she thought we flew in a bird! Which makes sense to a child if you think about it, more sense than a giant mechanical plane really! She was totally fascinated with the clouds and the view below… it was adorable!
So the lessons I learned on the flight there…….
1. The staff is really helpful! And it behooves them to get you through as easily as quickly as possible too… so they want to help! Let them!
2. People are nicer than you think… at least some of them. Sure some will give you the evil eye for daring to bring your child on THEIR airplane, but they are souless, child hating zombies cleverly disguised as humans… ignore them. Accept the help from the nice people… someday you will grow up to be one too.
3. Babies seem to sense what is going on and if you try to make it fun they will cooperate.
4. Remember to breathe… it will be fine!