This year for Thanksgiving, we took H on his first plane ride down to Orlando to visit Grandma and Grandpa and the rest of Abe’s family. We’ve been back for a few days now – I think that I might be getting close to recovering from the pain.
We were really nervous about this trip and for months leading up to this “vacation”, we were trying to mentally prepare ourselves for the inevitable. H is a stubborn and strong headed little toddler, which generally means that he does not like what other people try to make him do. You need H to sit still for 60 seconds? He doesn’t want to? That means it’s not happening, end of story. He’s totally at the point where meltdowns are normal and because he’s so strong headed and determined in life, they can last a long time…
We read somewhere that when it’s time to board, that one parent should go onto the plane right away and get the car seat settled and the bags. Then the other parent should wait until the last moment to board with the child to shorten the length of time on the plane. This was the worst fucking advice. Because of this advice that we followed, H saw daddy get onto the plane and then had the Most Epic Meltdown in the universe. In the middle of the gate area, on the floor with hundreds of people walking past us left and right because he refused to move from the middle of the corridor. He screamed and cried and screamed “DADDA!!!!!!!!” You’d think that Daddy died. Tears, snots, screaming, absolute mental breakdown. People stared of course, not that I cared. But there was nothing that I could do. I just sat on the floor with him and rubbed his back and told him that everything was going to be Ok. Then I gave up, and put us in line to board (still crying and screaming). We got onto the plane and the crying ceased. He was then so tuckered out from his epic meltdown that he was willing to sit in his seat and watch his iPad for about 1 show long, and then mom cried. It was just really horrible. I like couldn’t handle it, and did I mention that this flight had a connection? The rest of the flight was a combination of freaking out, napping, and then a meltdown when we started to descend with ear pain or something. It was overall pretty horrible. Also, I had to change like 3 diapers because he drank like 30 ounces of apple juice.
It turns out that once we landed, we noticed that he had a 102 fever. His fever remained off and on for the remainder of our trip and his cough got worse and worse. That night, he actually did pretty well in the hotel and slept in his pack and play in his own bedroom. He puked in his bed – that was a nice surprise in the morning. Then he did pretty well playing with his cousins when he wasn’t going crazy with boredom. The best cousin moment was when he was chasing around his cousin Avery who is only 6 months older, while rubbing his chest with the please sign, and saying “Please! Please!” as he held up the other hand for a high-five. She ran away saying “no no no no”. It happened again later with a hug that was refused. They were really funny together, they called each other “Baby”.
There was one day that we took the kids to a big playground, and H was in toddler heaven. He ran around like a mad man letting out all of his pent up energy. He slept well that night (he puked that day too of course). He chased and terrorized peacocks, who apparently lived there. He climbed up a high ladder all by himself and celebrated by jumping up and down at the top and cheering for himself. It was a really great field trip for all of the kids that day.
I wish this didn’t happen, but it did… H was running back and forth an back and forth across a big leather couch, and then suddenly stopped and exploded puke all over it. I caught some of it, but we had to wipe that thing down big time. The funny part is that pretty much nobody reacted. The other kids on the couch totally didn’t even budge, they just kept on doing whatever they were doing. That night we debated about bringing him to an urgent care facility – but it was Thanksgiving night so most of them were closed and healthcare in Florida is not something that I really have faith in for whatever reason. I just wanted to wait to go to his regular practice where they know him and all of his issues and stuff. Anyhow, we ended up waiting after calling the on call pediatrician, even though she told us to bring him somewhere.
Because of the really horrible experience on the way down, we changed our flight home. We cancelled our flights, bought one way direct flights with another airline, and left a day earlier! We even paid an overweight bag fee, because nothing was going to stop us from getting our bodies and our stuff home as fast as possible. We should have gotten direct flights to begin with, we’re fucking idiots, but that was one of the many lessons we learned on this trip. Another big lesson: some kids are not meant to travel! Honestly, this kid is not setting foot on a plane again until he’s like 5. Sometimes you have to do this kind of thing for family holidays, but I’m not sure that this family will survive another one of these lovely experiences.