Traveling With an Infant – A Laughing Matter??

Traveling usually stinks, even when you are alone.  Throw in a 5-month-old and it’s a whole new ballgame.  We (my sister, her two boys, their nanny, my mom, my dad, Anna, and me) went to Colorado on Thursday.  Alex and my brother-in-law flew in on Friday so they didn’t have to miss as much work.  Glaring mistake #1 – traveling without the husbands…

 

We parked our cars and took a shuttle to the airport.  Apparently the driveway for the ticketing area was closed because he dropped us off at baggage claim (a floor below ticketing).  We found a cart and managed to wrangle ourselves, 6 checked bags, several carry-ons, two strollers, and a car seat on wheels upstairs.  We got our boarding passes, dropped off our checked bags, and headed to security.  People were literally running to get in front of us.  I can’t say I blame them.  This is where the day turned a bit hairy.  I get up to conveyor and proceed to place Anna’s diaper bag, my carry-on (read: more of Anna’s stuff), and my camera bag on the rollers.  I put my shoes and Anna’s medicine in a bin.  The TSA guy takes Anna’s bottles and puts them in another bin.  I’m told to take Anna out of her car seat and with one hand breakdown the stroller and put both on the belt.  By the time we made it through the metal detector my stuff was taking up the entire end of the belt and I was backing up the line.  I was flustered and sweating like a whore in church (excuse the language) – meanwhile, Anna was loving looking around at all the people.  I managed to get my shoes back on and put everything back together and in its place.  We made it to the gate just in time for boarding.

 

We got in line to board the plane and the ticket lady informs us that we have to get in a different line (at the same counter) for a stroller tag.  Seriously, you can’t just hand us a tag from where you are??  She stood her ground.  Jerk.  We eventually were given the okay to head to the plane.  Let me try my best to paint this lovely picture… I was a packhorse in every since of the word.  I had the diaper bag on my back, my carry-on around my neck hanging in front, and my camera bag in one hand.  I had to leave the stroller at the end and carried Anna in her car seat with the other hand.  I proceeded to wedge myself through the aisle toward my seat.  Meanwhile Anna is getting a slight case of Shaken Baby Syndrome from hitting each armrest as it passes.  Anna was really hungry at this point and screaming – much to the annoyance of everyone we passed.  I heard someone in 1st class sigh when they heard Anna.  I shot them a look and smartly said, “I’m SOO sorry MY child is stressing YOU out.”  Needless to say, they shut their mouths…  We were seated in row 32 – the very last row of the plane.  Figures.  I was a mess by the time we got to our seats – and my deodorant was on its last leg.  Luckily, Anna was an angel during the flight – after she had a bottle!

 

We made it to Dallas and knew that our layover was tight.  We wedged our way off the plane and made a dash for to the next gate.  Our plane was delayed for 30 minutes.  Great!  Time to breathe a bit.  We got new stroller tags and were allowed to board right after 1st Class.  As we were getting on the plane, one of the ‘helpful’ flight attendants asks me to try not to hit the 1st Class passengers as I went by.  Here’s an idea – maybe you shouldn’t board them first so that everyone is forced to go pass them like herded cattle.  Just my two cents.  After a big mix-up with the seat assignments, everyone was loaded and ready to go.  I took my phone out thinking I might get to play some games during the flight.  Just then, the captain gets on the intercom and explains that there is a mechanical problem with the plane and it has been taken out of service.  Everyone has to get off the plane.  Shit.  I packhorsed my way off the plane.  We were asked if we wanted our strollers or if they should just move them to the next plane.  We declined thinking we would be departing from the same gate.  WRONG.  Our gate was moved about 18 miles down the terminal.  We schlepped everything and the kids to the new gate.  And then waited.  Eventually we boarded the new plane and we were off.  I reeked of BO by this time – oh well, right?  About an hour into the flight I started looking for my cell phone.  It dawned on me that I left it in the plane that was taken out of service.  Just the cherry on top of this day…

 

We eventually made it to Denver and drove to Beaver Creek.  We were five hours late getting there.  We found out the next day that we were lucky that we weren’t eaten by a bear while unloading the cars.  There was one looking through our window the next morning…

 

The trip home wasn’t as bad as the way there.  Thank God!  We woke up at 3am to drive back to Denver.  We made it through security alright and only slightly worse for the wear.  We had about 3 hours to kill before our plane left, so I let Anna kick around on a blanket.  I developed a system of getting the bags and Anna down the aisle without hitting the armrests – we were also seated near the front.  Anna was grateful.  Our plane departed about 15 minutes late.  We had another tight layover.  Ends up our second flight was boarding as we were circling the airport to land.  We ran to the next gate.  The lady at the desk asks if we are Parsons and Bradshaw – we were surprised.  She explains that everyone is already on the plane and that they were getting ready to close the door.  Apparently, they were paging us on the intercom.  We barely made the flight.  Luckily the flight was uneventful and we landed in St. Louis.  We picked up our bags and took the shuttle to our car.  As we were getting the bags off the shuttle, it started raining cats and dogs.  Why not, right?

 

I drove home and collapsed.  It’s taken about 2 days to recover.  Plus, I now have a huge mountain of laundry to tackle and everything else to take care of at home.  Ugh.  Is vacation even worth it???

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