As soon as we approached the counter, I knew we were in over our heads. Matilda was freaking out, loving her new "leash" and determined to test the radius as far as it would allow, and Daphne was already reminding me how soon she would need to nurse again. Fabulous.
Oh, the plane is running late and by the way - we can't sit together. Apparently there is some rule about only having one lap baby per side per row - due to the number of oxygens masks, etc. etc...something that I'm sure I would be thankful for in the event of some "sudden change in cabin pressure" - but at the moment I'm just thinking "are you serious? Do you understand this means my toddler will most likely kick a stranger in the face at some point?"
We try to appease Tilda with some health food (french fries to the rescue) and bargain beverages ($5 for a smoothie, sure) as we wait for the new departure time. Both girls get changed - twice - both girls get fed, and we join the line ready to board. Oh, what's this? No priority boarding? Really. Really?!
Holding Matilda - hopped up on smoothie, overly stimulated by the busyness around us, and thoroughly convinced by now that her leash is some kind of torture device - is like trying to hold on to a buttered boar. That is to say, seriously, a greased up wild swine.
We board. People glare. People get nervous as we approach their row and I can almost feel their exhales of relief as we pass by their seat.
Luckily, we are able to sit in adjoining aisle seats right across from each other. My mom has the baby and I have Matilda - as it would remain for as much of the trip as possible unless I needed to feed Daphne. Take off goes well, and the Matilda-happy-fun-show-hour begins. I'm in full blast entertainment mode. The two totally annoyed ladies next to me have completely tuned us out, which is fine by me...now, if I can just keep Tilda from grabbing the lady's hair...or jacket...or arm...or hey, where did she get that magazine? Crap, sorry ma'am.
Busy busy busy.
Here is your game. Over it. Here is your sippy cup. Over it. Fruit snacks. Toy. Video. Color. Over it. Over it. OVER IT! Don't worry, Matilda girl, we only have - oh wait, 2 more hours to go...before we change planes and do it all again. Oh my gosh, what was I thinking?
My mom and I swap so I can feed the baby and somewhere in the mix we exchange seat as well. Luckily, she had an open seat next to her and a very forgiving woman in the window seat. Whew.
We get down to the final hour, and approach the golden hour of what should have been Tilda's nap time. One yawn later and she fully skips sleepy time and bounds straight into a manic escalation. In other words - a caged, rabid tiger cub.
Whimpering turns to whining, whining turns to pouting, and pouting erupts into the screams of a panther caught in a bear trap. Not just crying, people, I'm talking outright screaming.
Everyone else on the plane just turns their heads away and slumps in their seats, debating (I'm sure) whether to rip their ears off or strangle me or my child. I'm trying everything I can to quiet the beast. I'm out of tricks. She's exhausted, she wants down, and her teeth are killing her (did I mention she is still cutting those darn molars? UGH!)
My mother mouths to me (since no one can hear anything above the screams at this point) if I had anything to feed her. I shook my head meaning "No, it didn't work" to which she interpreted as "No, I didn't have anything". Whoops.
Above all the screaming, above the airplane's white noise, and above the deafening impatience of the people around us, my sincere and heartwrenched mother yells with all her might, "DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY CRACKERS???"
Wanna know how to take super-insanely annoyed passengers on a plane and piss them off beyond reason? Try asking them for something. Go ahead.
I shot my mother a look and quickly explained it was a useless request. Poor mom, I know she was just looking out for my sweet wild monkey girl when I turned and saw the people sitting in front of us glance back with the harshest death stares I've ever seen.
Ouch. I thought they were going to burn a hole in my skull with their eyes - which is probably exactly what they were trying to accomplish.
Sorry folks. Oops, Matilda just kicked your chair with all her might for about the 15th time in the last 20 minutes...sorry again!
Land this plane already!!!!
Finally. We. Land.
We're in Dallas. Since our plane was late leaving, we have virtually no time to get to our connection. My mom has the baby in tow, and we quickly find out our gate is A39 and we have to get to gate A19. Great - both A's - that sounds close, right?
I carry Matilda and both our bags and we power walk about a quarter mile, hop on the SkyLink, and finally find our gate. A quick change and I'm nursing the baby as my mom is feeding Matilda bites of macaroni and cheese with one hand, and feeding me bites of bbq pork (thanks, Texas) with the other. Good grief. God should've given mothers about 4 more arms - cause all of ours would've been in full use.
The second flight goes much better. Much shorter. And with lower expectations.
Also, I'm mercifully blessed with an open seat next to me - which I completely allow Matilda to climb up...and down...and up...and down...and....again again again until we are either scolded or landing.
We make it. We truly did it. Even our bags make it. It's a freaking miracle. My mom and I use what speck of energy our bodies have left in them to high five each other and silently swear to never ever put ourselves through it again.
Oh - wait - I was flying back in less than a week with my sister. I was doomed!
That's right - I did it all again with the invaluable help of my sister (and her magic bag of tricks - seriously, she just kept pulling out new toys, it was so awesome!)
The kicker? Matilda actually slept (yes, you read that correctly - not a typo) for about half the second flight back into California.
My mom almost hung up on me when I told her.