With the possibility of a second child coming next year, we thought it would be best to make it out to see family in Phoenix while travel was somewhat reasonable. Travelling with two under the age of 2 would no doubt be way more difficult.
Not that travelling with a 10 month old is easy. This would be her first trip on an airplane, how would she handle it? We’d travel three time zones away, how would her schedule handle that change?
To top those elements off, she’s recovering from an ear infection. How would this affect the pressure change in her ear? Would the medicine for it cause her to overfill a diaper at 20,000 feet?
Thursday is the big day, and as a last cautionary task I take Eva to the pediatrician to check the progress of her ear infection, and for advice on how to help make the flights easier. The ear is improving, but they stopped short of recommending we go. Of course, they probably can’t look at a normal healthy person and say, “Yeah, you definitely should fling yourself 20,000 feet in the air at 700mph where your body can’t adjust to the air pressure changes with 100 other people of whom 20 are probably sick at this moment”. She gave us the tip to have her drink during ascent and descent.
So we decide to make a go of it. We pack up the car and head to the airport. Once again, our little girl has as much luggage as the two of us combined. Our first obstacle, security. The first obstacle also comes with the first blessing, a separate line for strollers. Now granted, flying out of Dayton doesn’t usually come with long lines at security, but it was nice for us because this was a whole new experience. What do we do with the stroller? What do we do with her medicine? What if her magnetic personality sets of the metal detector?
Her medicine has to be refrigerated, so we store it in a bottle cooler with an ice pack which we have to declare to the TSA agents. Steph carries Eva through the detector with no issue, and they scan all our stuff. I walk through and wait for our stuff to make it to the other side when I heard “Thunk, thu thunk” followed by the belt operator switching the belt direction back and forth. Our car seat is stuck in the x-ray machine. Apparently there is a right way to put a car seat through, and that is upside down. After a minute or so of messing with it, they get it loose and we move on (although, when you’re holding up a line of people trying to get their stuff through, one minute feels like 15.)
We find our gate and get a tag to check our stroller at the bottom of the gate. We then wait to load onto the plane. Our airline of choice (or necessity) is Southwest. Two and half hours to Denver, then one and a half down to Phoenix. Southwest, as you may know, has a choose your own seat policy. We have to find a row for ourselves, and Eva must have a window seat due to the car seat. Southwest boards patrons in this order : Priority (those with handicaps or children flying alone), Business, A, Families with small children, B, and C. Luckily, we find rows on every flight.
This first flight, we strap Eva into the seat and she starts to cry. She’s hungry. Perfect! She needs to eat on the way up. So we make her bottle and give it to her. Unfortunately, she’s super hungry and downing that bottle at light speed. We actually have to take it from her so some would be left for takeoff.
We finally take off and she finishes the bottle quickly, so we jam a pacifier in her mouth to hopefully encourage sucking during take-off. She does, but is still fussy. Do her ears hurt? Are we terrible parents for forcing her to fly while recovering?
She plays with her giraffe, and eventually falls asleep. So, the fussiness was tired related. She will sleep the rest of the flight.
As concerned parents our stress level is turned up to 11, but it starts to relax now that she’s doing fine. It also relaxes a bit because of the fun crew we have on our first plane. Here’s a couple of their sound bites:
“When Capn’ Crunch turns off the seat belt sign, you’ll be able to get up.”
“We have two lavatories traveling with us today, so you can visit with either one of them if you wish”
“Now is everyone here for the flight to Honolulu?”
“For those of you that didn’t pay attention to our safety presentation, good luck!”
“Your bags have missed you and may jump out of the overhead compartments to kiss you on the head”
Our plane is to land in the C concourse at Denver, and they tell us that there is bad news. Everyone has to go to A for their connecting flight except for five passengers. Dang. Those five are those connecting to Phoenix. Woo Hoo!
We start the descent and Eva is still out. Our original plan was to give her a bottle of water to drink, but instead we let her sleep. We land with no issues, and Eva awakes and is…happy. Whew!
We walk off the plane and we notice a big change. We left Dayton at 78 degrees to arrive in Denver at 28 degrees…..and snowing. Eva’s first accumulating snow was at the Denver airport.
“So that’s what snow looks like!”
We eat dinner and check our messages. A couple of friends who knew that we were travelling had texted to see how things were going. That was nice to hear. I check the Vikings score, and then mope. See, living in Ohio I don’t get to see the Vikings that much. Finally, they were going to be on TV so I could watch them, and we are instead flying over Missouri. The Vikings, feeling my pain, play a terrible game so I don’t have to regret missing it. Thanks Vikings!
We jump on the next plane and take off. A new first, we go to get de-iced. If you’ve never been, it’s like going through the car wash, only if instead of water they used anti-freeze.
So after that 15 minute detour we took off. If you wanted to know what snow looks like when it’s flying past your window at 200 mph, it looks like when the Millennium Falcon jumps into light speed. Eva is so exhausted that she falls asleep during de-icing and doesn’t wake up until we land. We land in Phoenix, which is in the 80s. It a little after 10, but by the time we get to my brother’s place and settled, it’s after 11 (or 2 for us), so we go to bed.
5:30am our adorable alarm clock woke us up. Steph grabs her and sets her down in bed to change her. Her hand feels funny. Its wet, did she leak? It’s more than wet, that means….”Scott! She pooped and it leaked. It’s on me and on the bed!” She hands her over to me to clean herself, flip on the lights and assess the storm damage. Poo on the pack n play sheet, on the side where she rubbed, on the bed sheet where we placed her, on mommy, on daddy’s shirt and of course on Eva’s pajamas. The medicine is working.
By 6:00am we are doing a load of laundry. Family vacation with a 10 month old.
After breakfast is over, Eva plays a little and finishes the job she started at 6 am. By 8:30, Eva has already had two outfit changes. What a diva.
“How come we don’t have a coffee table?”
Friday we visit the local aquarium. We pass a multitude of lawn signs, including one asked for people to sell them their unused diabetic strips. A little tangent here. We live in Ohio, which means we get to decide who is President, and our vote is way more valuable than those silly people in Texas, California and Nebraska. So we sometimes think that we have the monopoly on lawn signs, contentious senate battles, and commercials that pick a little flaw and blow it to massive proportions. Arizona has all of these things, and their signs are prettier, their commercials are more silly, and somehow Paul Newman is running for some sort of board even though he’s been dead for years (right, like there could be two people named Paul Newman). Anyway, back to the aquarium.
Super excited for the aquarium.
Mom and Eva in the tank
So the end of the aquarium is the gift shop. We decide to let Eva choose a stuffed animal. There is a whole wall of them, and we knocked down a whole shelf of them. (It wasn’t our fault, we swear!) Eva didn’t care about any of them until…
She was so excited for the clown fish. I think Eva’s long battle with orange may be over.
“I’m not letting it go!”
I’m allergic to cats, so we’ll never have one at home. There were cats here, and Eva was so interested in them.
Saturday Eva wakes at five, but we gently suggest she sleeps more. She concedes, but at six wakes us again, this time with a gift down below. Contained this time, so no laundry today!
Saturday is college football day and in PST, football starts a 9:00 am. I could get used to that.
We have brunch and Thanksgiving in October planned. We wake Eva from her nap to go to the farm for brunch.
Brunch is not for the weak. Eva suffers a hand wound while there. A paper cut.
After we get back, Eva takes a nap. Later, we wake Eva from a nap for her to eat lunch. This is now the second time we’ve woke her from a nap today, so she’ll remember this. She decides that the rest of the day there will be no more naps.
“I got the turkey”
While the four of us try to figure out how make a Thanksgiving meal work (OK, three of them while I stayed out of the way), Eva decides that she will attempt the stairs. Fortunately (or unfortunately) she’s actually pretty good at climbing them.
Thanksgiving in October is served, and we openly praise our relatives who’ve hosted Thanksgiving meals before us. How they made enough food to feed 20, and it all came out hot and cold as needed is really beyond me.
A rookie Thanksgiving (complete with Hawkeye cup!)
After dinner and the traditional five pounds added, we crash in the living room. Well, everyone except Miss I Don’t Need to Sleep. Every attempt at a nap or bed was thwarted until Mommy did her magic at 9:30.
“I can’t go to sleep. I’m watching football with my uncle!”
Up at five the next morning, we pack and head to the airport. We say our goodbyes and head through security once more. This time we put the car seat in the right way.
Let me tell you, as a father who changes his daughters diaper, family bathrooms are a God send. Men’s bathrooms are gross because guys are gross. I’m constantly amazed at the changing tables in each restroom, ranging from “Has this one ever been used?” to “Who dumps popcorn in these?” The family bathroom is nice, clean, and doesn’t have a line (usually).
The Klein family heading home
On the flight to Denver she fills her diaper because it’s just more fun to go #2 at 20,000 feet. Steph had the honor of changing it. Not to play favorites, she does it again on the flight to Dayton, so I get the chance to change her as well. Now, changing a diaper on the plane is an experience. You really don’t want her to roll off the table at 20,000 ft. Fortunately, the airline understands this concern, and makes the bathroom tiny enough that there is no room to roll of anywhere!
We land in Dayton (the roughest landing of the trip, oddly enough) and are joyous that Eva travels well, and lament the fact that she travels better than both of us.
We head home and check to see if anyone missed us. You know those commercials with the obnoxious texter who is bordering on stalking? We discovered we have one as well. Mitt Romney. He (by he, I mean his surrogates) left 5 messages on the answering machine, left pamphlets in our door, and left signs at a number of houses around us.