Trot Trot to Boston (by Daddy R)

So the flight to Boston was, to be totally truthful, uneventful. I’d like to bitch, moan and complain about my daughter who turned into devil-spawn above 35000 feet, but it didn’t happen. She tells me when she’s hungry, she tells me when she has to go potty and she’s fun to “have a conversation” with. I taught her that turn of phrase during the trip and we had lots of “conversations” (smile). We had a great flight, but I did count the hours.

On past flights, A would announce every hour that we had one hour less to our destination. I thought that was odd. On this flight, I totally got it. By the way, if I sound like a dilettante, I was when I started this trip. I’m not anymore: I lost several pounds because I didn’t eat a full meal the whole week, I limited alcohol to maybe a drink despite the constant party atmosphere of a family reunion-week and I was on call all the time for basically eight days straight. Even when relatives were there to give me a break, I was in a constant state of heightened awareness. A couple times I wasn’t sure who had MZ and ran around frantically looking for her. A big bald guy looking for his daughter gets attention quick and her whereabouts were usually determined in one minute or less. I’m not complaining in any way, but I’ve got a new appreciation for what SAHMs do every day and even more for what single parents do. Wow. And I really had it easy: as I said, MZ is an easy kid. I also have a new sense of pride that has nothing on succeeding in work or other non-child-related adventures: I can take care of my kid! WOW!

So anyway I counted the hours on the flight:
- Hour 1 we played games in our seats and had various parts of our meal from Peets. I learned along the course of the week that MZ will most likely eat most things that she has personally requested in due time. If she asked for it, she’ll want it sooner or later. She’s kind of like a cat to my dog-ness. If it’s there, I eat it. If I’m done or I’ve stopped eating, take it away dammit. Not so with MZ. If she wanted it and it disappears before she’s said so, there’s hell to pay. I’m a chucker, so I paid some hell this week. Not sure where she got that particular trait, but anyway, MZ got around to the muffin and fruit from Peets here and there over the course of the flight and finally rejected only a few pieces of honey dew (I would have too, the stuff was flavor-less).
- Hour 2 we went potty and then walked around the plane. She had 0 accidents this entire trip (all eight days!!), because she is…a camel. Her mother is a camel. I have a bladder only slightly larger than our good friend V’s, Henry’s dad. I’ve seen thimbles that hold more than V’s bladder. My bladder is more like a shot glass. MZ’s bladder is more like one of those extra large beer glasses you get at bars with a “Mc” in the name (“Shooter McNally’s”, “Likker McFallingDownDrunker’s”, you get the idea). Anyway, she’s got at least a 40-ounce bladder so she goes potty like three times a day verses what used to be hourly diaper changes. Which makes for lots of flexibility in the day, further enabled by the folding port-a-potty that A found and we pack in the diaper bag. Really, it’s the only thing in the rather full diaper bag that actually gets used these days, and it could fit in my backpocket (well, almost). But back to touring the plane: we met some sisters a few rows back and colored with them, we chatted with many grandmas that had aisle seats and we bugged some first class passengers right by the silly curtain (I personally enjoyed that).
- Hours 3, 4 and 5 are a blur, but there was a long nap for both of us, some reading of the very little Chicken Soup with Rice collection, playing with her baby and associated accoutrements (daddy packed well for baby), and doing odd things to puppy with a seat belt (2 year olds are S&M freaks). There was NOT any Sesame Street on the DVD player on my Macbook. Or double earphones in my iPod. She didn’t want the electronic gear, which was good. She doesn’t know what a TV is really, other than for watching baseball with Papa, and the iPod is fun plugged into speakers, but earphones are not interesting to her.

So we arrived to find that our baggage hadn’t and would be on the next flight, coming in a couple hours. We thought about having it delivered, but when we got to the rental car place, the car we were assigned had a hub cap that was clearly going to spin off on the freeway at speed. After being assigned a new (and better!) car, we had less than an hour before our baggage arrived. She went potty in her port-a-potty in the parking lot of the car rental place (she’s potty trained, but with a limited “hold-it” window). Then we went into the airport, had a little snack (clam chowder from Legal Seafood is the best) and waited for the bags.

I go into this trudging detail to make the point that she was a trooper throughout. She entertained the crowd running puppy around the baggage carousel (again with the puppy S&M) and just generally enjoyed all aspects of being somewhere traveling.

And that was my first solo travel day with my daughter. I’ll do an update on the rest of the week with a bit less detail, but hopefully I’m giving the vibe that she’s a great travel companion and, though we missed Mama a LOT, we made the best of it, in no small part due to her willingness to make the best of it and rise to the occasion. Some folks would argue with me that a 2.5 year old doesn’t have that much conscious volition, but I saw numerous times over the course of the week that MZ consciously held it together or pulled it together when I would have expected a major melt down. I think it took tremendous energy and effort from her, but there are some subtle as well as not-so-subtle changes I can see in her now that we’re back: she’s got more confidence in trying some new things and she’s even more verbal in some areas than she was already.

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