Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bad Mom/Good Dad

We travel with our kids... a lot.

As such, I have oodles of nightmare stories "poop on a plane", "missed the plane", "barfed in the car", "flight canceled - three kids under six (plus sixteen college kids)", and so on. I promise that I won't regale you with all of them.

But, one of them keeps coming back. It isn't because the experience, by itself, was so horrifying. It was the response of the public.

So, we were taking a bunch of college kids to the Bahamas, and it was the first leg of the journey. Flying as a family to Miami to meet the students. Our kids at the time - five, three, and one. It was December 27th and we were headed from the winter to the tropics.

This trip, I might add, requires that I carry over 200 lbs of clothes, dive gear, dive lights, batteries, laptop, books, snacks, kid stuff, and other items.

Carry-on for this particular trip included: snacks for kids, toys/diversions, laptop, digital camera, lecture notes, course notes, class handouts, diapers, wipes, sippies, a spare set of clothes for child in potty training, and the usual stuff you might carry. Stuff that I: didn't want stolen, needed no matter what when we arrived, and needed en route.

So, when the baby (toddler) pooped in his pants right before they called our flight in the first puddle jumper - we debated. We didn't want to miss the flight. We didn't want to change a poop in the aisle of a 16 seat plane then sit with poopy diaper for two hours). Finally, we gambled and he hastened in to change the kid while I held the other two and paced.

In short, J tried to shortcut the changing routine by pulling T's pants just to his ankles and not completely removing shoes, pants, etc. as he was in a hurry. T found it funny and dipped his foot into the poop - then smeared it all over his little shoes, his pants, sweatshirt, and his socks. Making the best of a bad thing... J threw out the socks, rinsed and wiped the shoes and put them back on T, threw the pants and top into one of our baggies and tied it shut.. then bagged the toxic waste and called the HAZMAT team.

So, now we are traveling in December sub-freezing weather with three kids, the baby nearly naked in a t-shirt and wet sneakers. Then, we get to the first stop of our journey for a four-hour layover.

Please note that airports do carry the following: perfume, booze, t-shirts, hats, golf balls, kitsch, and many other items. They do not sell: children's pants. Basically, the kid was gonna stay naked until we re-united with 200 pounds of luggage in Miami.

Here is the interesting part of this experience: When my dear husband was with this naked ragamuffin in the (cool) airport... people smirked, gave knowing looks, and smiled at him. You could see the inner dialogue: "poor dad, came unprepared... how amusing". When J left to help the other kids burn off energy... people walking by a mom with a naked ragamuffin in December the response was different. People glared at me, scowled, didn't make eye contact, and were generally pissy. Here is the dialogue to me: "what is the matter with that woman and why is her baby naked? How disgusting... what trash".

I swear I am not making it up... I even got independent verification of the phenomenon.

What is wrong, people? Why the hate? Geez, there is only so much shit you can carry; 40 lbs of carry-on and 30 pound toddler is enough while we are toting two other kids that need hand-holding.

What was your worst or most interesting travel story?

1 comment:

richgold said...

Daughter #2 peed just before boarding the city bus last fall. (I'd asked her if she needed to urinate before we left the destination. She did not).

We got on, as it was a direct to home. I walked her to the back of the bus and held her between my knees, while I sat. The bus driver INSISTED she sit. Didn't care that her wet deriere sat on their newish, cloth bus seats. (I did advise him.)

BTW - the less fun part of the voyage was his YELLING at me from the front of the bus.

I pity the person who had to sit in that seat as we were on the cusp of rush hour.

(And, while holding the child between my knees isn't a normal stance I take with any child, there was little difference between that and having an adult stand in the aisle, with the exception that she was MORE stable.) The other option to NOT seeing the child-unit was to walk 40 minutes (adult speed) home, as the bus driver threatened me with a request to disembark.

The joys of relying on city transit. Woo hoo.