Sunday, July 15, 2012

Runaway baby

It was supposed to be one of those easy trips, a single flight down to Copenhagen to start off our holiday. Zoe was in a happy mood and although I was a bit stressed about leaving for almost a month and making sure I had packed everything, we got out the door just fine. Zoe helped carry her own back pack and I rolled the two suitcases while instructing her to stay close. She did well all the way to the airport and after checking in we just had to wait in line to drop off one of the suitcases. Zoe was her chirpy little self but she must have detected a slight nervousness on my part when I saw the long snaking line going all the way back up to the other part of the terminal. I judged the waiting time to around 30 minutes. This is usually the time where I hope that other people will see the obvious: children between the age of 1 and 3 (4?) are not patient. They do not just stand there in line patiently and wait while their parents push the luggage cart forward. They jump around a bit and walk in and out the railings until they do really naughty things. But people don't see that we need to skip the line, in fact they mainly stare you down and wonder what you are doing in an airport with a toddler. Or at least it feels like that. The large amount of summer travelers were not an exception and the people behind me kept walking so closely to my cart that I couldn't get back in front to continue moving it forward. At one point I got so annoyed that I pushed the woman in my attempt to get to the cart handle. Did they think that if they squeezed up against me the line would move faster? We were two people away from the check-in desk when Zoe had enough. She looked at me with that cheeky smile that says 'Mommy, I'm going to be naughty and run away'. Before I could grab her, she started running, really fast, down alongside the queue. At first I thought she would come back and I yelled at her but I then realized she wasn't. I panicked because by now she was turning a corner. I ran after her and caught up with her about 150 meters down. Again, I was wondering why nobody had stopped her. I was embarrassed that I had the ill-behaved toddler and angry with Zoe. I grabbed her arm and carried her back, yelling at her. My cart was untouched and people had gone around it. Why would anybody push it forward with the queue while I tried to catch my runaway daughter? I mean, what in the world was I doing there anyway? How stupid could a woman be traveling alone with a kid? I got to the counter and threw my suitcase on the tape, got it tagged and left the cart right there. I was so mad at Zoe. When we got out of the crowd I sat her down and yelled at her, I shook her and pinched her little arms, I wanted to hit her. "Don't do that Zoe, don't ever run away from mommy!". She started crying when realizing how mad I was. I started crying myself. Who was I to shake her and scream at her? I sat down on the cold floor, in the middle of the busy airport and hugged her and tried to calm down. There I was, being the crazy mom who loses her temper with her child in public. But like before nobody paid any attention to us other than stare as they walked by.

We got on our plane and Zoe slept on my lap the whole way to Copenhagen.

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