The Springs: Jewels of Florida
Our vacation to Colorado was very pleasant with only a few exceptions. On the flight out we were stranded on the tarmac with mechanical problems for an hour and a half and I thought I was going to hyperventilate. At one point I heard the flight attendant behind us (why do they always put families in those horrible seats directly in front of the lavatories... no, no - don't answer that) say, "If it fails again they'll cancel this flight." I tried to imagine what we would do if that happened: stay at the airport to see if they would assign a different plane? Allow ourselves to be connected through some random city? Go home? All of the options seemed lousy so I was relieved when the plane finally passed whatever it was and we were able to take off. Not only did this put our travel plans back on track but the roar of the engines wasalmostloud enough to drown out the enraged shrieking that Caroline indulged in for eighty-five of our stranded ninety minutes. She stood on my lap and twisted her body like a wrung-out mop - screaming and screaming and screaming. It was awful. Also, my plan to sit between Caroline and Edward with Patrick and Steve across the aisle was stymied when the flight attendant said that each car seat had to be next to a window. I offered to scoot Edward's seat upwards so that it was more vertical and a (very slender) person could technically squeeze past - thus honoring the letter if not necessarily the spirit of the FAA regulation - but she said, "No". Steve and I threw rock-paper-scissors to distribute the babies and I got stuck with Caroline while Edward practiced saying duh-duh-duh and smiling at a sunbeam on the other side of the plane. Go ahead and guess who threw rock and who threw paper. Yeah.
Apart from that I offer the following airplane travel notes: Cheerios are worth fifty times their weight in gold; you cannot possibly have enough Ziploc bags; if it is at all possible slather the baby with diaper cream prior to boarding and avoid a change until you land; a spiral notebook and a package of colored pencils will last a six year old for over an hour but a laptop that plays DVDs is niiiiiiiiiice*; be prepared to dole out Lifesavers and M&Ms at regular intervals to both encourage and reward good behavior; bring your own little trash bags; a cheap umbrella stroller is really the easiest thing with which to travel; when the woman leaving the plane touches your hand at the end of the flight and moans, "Oh HONEY, I don't know HOW you survive on a daily basis" take it as a compliment.
The three days at the hotel were good/bad. Caroline and Edward slept in a little sitting room adjacent to the bedroom where Steve and I had Patrick on a roll-away bed in the corner. The first night Caroline and Edward woke each other up every hour until about three in the morning; at which point Patrick woke up with a nightmare at four, to use the bathroom at five and with the sadly mistaken idea that we were going on some sort of family mountain hike at six. I told Steve that if I wasn't so tired I would stowaway on the very next airport van and he replied that he would be driving it. Then the babies stopped being freaked out by each other and actually started sleeping well and things became much much better. After the hotel we spent the weekend with very old friends who were so gracious and hospitable that I almost forgot we were destroying their house with our avalanche of child-related crap. They stocked Patrick's favorite foods and let him use their telescope (I am pretty sure he will never forget it.) They walked the babies in endless loops while I slept until nine-thirty. Their enormous German Shepherds gently but thoroughly licked Caroline and Edward clean after every meal (Caroline squee'ed with pleasure and the dogs looked at her like she was a unusual puppy - it was cute.)
I was apprehensive about this trip but it wound up being a lot of fun, all things considered. I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it can actually be to travel with children, so that is my moral for the day.
* I hurriedly stuck about a dozen DVDs into Patrick's backpack before we left. On the flight out I gave Patrick my laptop and a pair of headphones and I told him to pick whatever he would like to watch. He selected a National Geographic special on the human body that I thought I had disappeared back when five seconds of it would bring my morning sickness heaving forward. It is, no doubt, educational but wow is it graphic. The part where the camera goes from the uvula all the way through the intestines is particularly unnerving. However, I had just spent two hours singing every song I have ever learned (We Shall Overcome! 76 Trombones! Anarchy in the UK!) in a futile effort to calm Caroline down and I was not about to argue with Patrick's choice for a quiet activity. Fifteen minutes into his video I heard the woman behind me (across the aisle from him) say, "Oh gross" followed by "It's like watching someone's endoscopy" followed by "whatever happened to Disney". Although I have had a few enemies in my life (that girl with the red boots in kindergarten, the mother of my high school boyfriend) it has been years since I have made a new one. However, between Caroline's shrieks and Patrick's taste in videos (not to mention my singing) I am absolutely positive that the woman in 23C hates me with the passion of a thousand dying stars and I only hope that she had as nice a time as we did once she finally got off the plane. I owe her.
Video: The Springs — Pulse (Audio)
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