We made it home from our trip late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. We're still recovering, but the important thing is that we survived. There are some scars, both physical and emotional, but we're mostly intact and that's something that even 2 weeks ago I was not convinced would happen.
Since the whole story is long and sordid, and since I haven't posted anything in a while (which is no way to run a blog, I tell you what), I'm going to break it into three parts. This will also allow me to catch some much needed sleep in between blogging, work, diapers, bottles and Project Runway (go Blayne!).
Episode One: On a Wing and a Prayer
It's no secret that I was totally freaked out about the idea of flying with the Ninja. In my head, I was weighing the potential options available to me should he have a major meltdown at 30,000 feet. No one wants to sit next to a crying baby, least of all his/her parents. I sweat when I'm nervous or overwhelmed (I also sweat when I'm over-caffeinated, watching baseball or trying to convince Kitty that I was in fact at the gym and was not watching baseball), and I was preparing to end the flight looking like I had participated in (and likely lost) a wet t-shirt contest in row 31. As it turns out, the things that I had thought would be huge problems were not so bad, while the things I hadn't even considered were crippling.
On the way there, the boy was a dream. He was smiling, playful and went down for naps easily. His only meltdown came as a result of us missing the timing on the descent, and not having a bottle/boob to help him equalize the pressure in his head. This sent him into a 10 minute screaming fit that was only broken when Kitty surprised him with a splash of water in his open mouth, which shocked him enough to take the boob (or convinced him that swallowing helped, if you listen to Dr. Kitty). On the way home, he slept the entire time. Even the two hours we sat on the tarmac at JFK. He awoke only to smile his winning smile at the flight attendant and cement his position as the best baby that has ever flown. Ever.
I don't have a picture of him on the plane to illustrate the smile, so I'm using this pic of him meeting his great grandmother Parker last weekend. I'm pretty sure that she thinks he's the best great grandson ever, but we'll get to that later.
With all of the focus on waiting for Finn to melt down midair, I hadn't even considered the stuff that turned out to be the real problem. Namely, the logistics of flying two adults and an infant in two coach seats. When I booked the tickets, I felt like I was getting away with something by not having to pay for his seat. When we were in midair, I would have paid $2,000 just to be able to set him down in the aisle for half an hour.
With the baby on the boppy and the boppy on the lap, there is very little room for anything else - person under the boppy included. Trying to juggle the boy, the boppy, the drinks on the tray, the headphones, the iPod and the magazines required a level of coordination & dexterity that neither Kitty nor I possess. Also factored in is the claustrophobia of being completely buried in all of this crap in a tiny space in a tiny metal tube flying through the air. I'm sweating just thinking about it.
Never again. From here on out, it's either First Class (still only two seats, but free drinks) or a seat for the boy in coach. We'll probably choose the latter, because it will be cheaper, will allow us to check more bags without taking out another mortgage, and if the Ninja does melt down, we can always just pretend he's a lone business traveler and that we don't know him.
Check back later this week for more pictures and stories about Finn meeting the rest of the family. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to change the name of the blog back to its original title as a week on the East Coast has screwed up the little guy's internal clock enough that we're back to the good old days of 2:30 AM awakenings/screaming contests and yoga ball endurance marathons.
At least he saved those for home. I'm not sure how we would have fit a yoga ball onto the plane.