Tuesday, November 22, 2011

FlyBaby CryBaby

It was a short flight from my favorite airport to another airport with a super-fast train back to the city and my mom was taking us to the airport. This was going to be an easy piecy, simple trip home. We get to the self check-in automat and I proudly show my mom that you just need to swipe your credit card to get the boarding passes. Except the automat says "card read, please try another one" (directly translated from Swedish, why it spoke swedish to me I have no idea). It repeats this announcement with my 4 other cards and I finally just find my booking reference in my Tripit entry on my phone. EI35T. "Your flight has been cancelled, go to check in desk for assistance". I go to the premium counter because I am silver and because it has no queue and is 3 meters away from me, still with my mother pulling my luggage and Zoe on my back in the Beco. While showing my card, the middle aged, grey clad woman asks me if I am silver on SAS. I reply (honestly) that I am silver on BMI. Then she can't help me. I have to go across the terminal to the economy counter to find out what they are going to do with me. Thanks. I get to the other counter where they put me on the next flight, now I have 2 1/2 hours of wait time and a toddler who will be home 1 hour past her bedtime.

Security was fairly easy even though I let Zoe walk herself for the first time. I heard myself say "stay with mom Zoe, stay here" over and over again because I was terrified she would go the wrong way, go behind a counter or just disappear among all the busy people. She stayed with me and I carried her through the metal detector.

Waiting in the airport, Zoe behaved exemplary considering the situation. After pushing her up and down the terminal for 45 minutes in one of the small luggage carts that had a seat for babies, she wanted down and push the luggage cart herself. We found a corner where she pushed the luggage cart around for another half hour until we really had to board the plane. She started crying because I had to take the carryon luggage out of the cart and this is when I had to take a deep breath. It will be fine, I told myself and I kissed Zoe and hugged her while she cried that tired, hungry, I-don't-want-to-do-this cry. Really, this is when I had to pull myself together not to have a meltdown myself. The thought of being on a full airplane with other people monitoring my slightest move and Zoe's every peep was not my kind of fun. She stopped crying and was fine until I had to take her to a window seat (I specifically ask for a window seat with her because otherwise she can easy wriggle herself out of my lap and into the aisle. She will also not understand why she is not allowed to go into the aisle. In a window seat she is stuck). Then she started screaming and kicking and all I could do was to hold her tight, talk softly to her and try to prevent her from kicking our neighbor and I eventually calmed her down. The flight attendant came and gave us the extension belt that they still use for infants in Europe and the little infant lifevest that goes in the seat pocket. Asking if I knew how to use it I nodded and said friendly that we had tried before. I proceeded to pick up my phone so I could turn it off but the flight attendant came back telling me that I had to strap her in now. I didn't have patience for her type so I looked up at her, and said in a very calm but firm tone "I am turning off my phone. (pause) I will strap her in when I am done turning off my phone." She looked at me a bit confused but then left. Not only were we still steadfast on the ground, I also knew that the moment I put a belt on Zoe she would start crying again. Which obviously happened after I had turned off my phone and continued the settling-in process. I ended up nursing Zoe for take-off and she was fine for 10 minutes.

The rest of the flight was cry, scream, kick seat in front, calm for 5 minutes, repeat. I was happy when we toughed down foggy Stockholm but of course the de-planing process was full of screaming, crying because we were still stuck, now with all the other passengers' eyes on us. I let her walk out herself because I knew there would be baggage carts right outside. Zoe was proud as a pea walking down up the aisle herself and waved at people who were waiting outside the plane for boarding, like nothing had happened. I put her back on my back before we exited customs and after a short train ride we arrived at the train station where Mark picked us up. She was ecstatic to see him but also tired beyond belief and so was her mommy.

Next time we are taking a short, easy one hour flight we are bringing more snacks (on the plane all I had was chocolate which she ate 3 pieces of) and 23 episodes of Pingu on my phone. I will also check my flight before we leave and in case of cancellations see if they have another flight at a time that does not collide with Zoe's bedtime. Although more likely I will end up in the very same situation again anyway.

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