Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the one where she whines about traveling alone with three kids

Can you believe I've only posted twice this month?? What with recovering from Simon's birthday party, decorating for Christmas, planning/preparing/hosting a Christmas party and getting ready for three weeks away from home, there hasn't been much time left for blogging. I AM FULL OF EXCUSES.

So I am now in Regina and, let me tell you, the trip here was ten shades of awful. AWFUL.

After a 4:30am wake up call and a final check to make sure we had everything, we left for the airport shortly after 5am. This might've been overkill considering that there's almost zero traffic at that ungodly hour, but I was spurred on by the message in bold and CAPS on our ticket itinerary that warned NO INSURANCE FOR FLIGHT CANCELLATION. In the end, the timing was perfect as it gave us enough time to unload our four suitcases, four carry-ons, three kids, two car seats, and one double espresso chai tea latte (and a partridge in a pear tree) check in, drop off the car seats with the over-sized luggage, make two bathroom stops (hey, I had to take advantage of my last chance to use the washroom ON MY OWN for the next many, many -and, as it turned out, MANY- hours), and let the boys run around a bit before saying goodbye to daddy and heading through security. Perfect timing.

Also perfect was the security guard who, seeing me alone with three kids, took me out of line and opened a side door to let me straight to the front of the line. Bless you security guard at the Ottawa airport. You were kind and funny and compassionate and a perfect gentleman.

Unfortunately, that was THE END OF THE PERFECT.

Not long after the plane was fully boarded, the captain came on and informed us that because of the fog, the visibility was too poor to take off. We'd have to wait for the conditions to improve. And it would likely be an hour. AN HOUR. Then an hour later, he came on to inform us that while the conditions had improved, we'd burned so much fuel that we now had to wait for the fuel truck and then join the line up for de-icing. By the time we finally took off, we'd already spent TWO HOURS sitting on the tarmac.

Oh and I didn't mention that not only did Andrew burn through all the toys I'd brought him in under thirty minutes, but he was feverish and my attempts to give him some baby Tylenol resulted in him vomiting THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF HIS FRESHLY FILLED STOMACH all over the aisle, himself AND ME. And do you think I'd brought a change of clothes?? Of course not. So I stripped him down and hung all his wet, sour-smelling clothes from our fold-down tables, wrapped him in a blanket, and prayed for him to fall asleep quickly. If you consider "quickly" to be after-forty-minutes-of-non-stop-screaming, then my prayers were answered.

Rather than recount every puke-smelling, scream/fight/squabble-filled, spilled juice covered minute of our 4 1/2 hour turned 6 1/2 hour flight, I will say that we landed in Calgary in one piece. Barely.

As we got off the plane I had Andrew on my hip in the wrap, Liam by the hand, Simon in the stroller and my cell phone on my shoulder as I frantically dialed my friend, Heidi, to make sure she didn't drive all the way out to the airport with her twelve day old baby to see me in -30 degree weather only to find my three hour layover had turned into a 30 minute one. Luckily she hadn't. Unluckily, as soon as we entered the terminal, I realized that Simon had left his backpack on the plane at the exact moment that Andrew started screaming and Simon jumped out the stroller (causing it to snap backwards because of all the heavy bags hanging on it) and ran off in one direction while Liam ran in the other. I kid you not, it was like a scene from a movie.

Thankfully a kind lady (who must've been related to the security guard from earlier) offered to help me. She found a flight attendant who went in search of our lost bag, and then kept an eye on Liam and tried to entice Simon off of one of those airport courtesy carts while I figured out how to get to our next gate. We  made it there with five minutes before boarding... only to find out that this flight, too, was delayed due to a mechanical problem. A 40 minute delay became an hour and a half delay, which was made bearable by the fact that we had not yet boarded and the boys had room to run. And by run I mean, ride the moving sidewalks back and forth, back and forth, for the better part of an hour (my apologies to anyone who had their bags/legs knocked into by two cute-yet-crazy boys wearing matching blue sweaters).

(Have I mentioned that Simon was going on day three without a nap?? He didn't go to bed until after 11pm Friday night because of our Christmas party, Saturday we were out running last minute errands, and Sunday we decided to drop the nap in favour of an early bedtime since we planned to leave the house by 5am. This is a child who still naps every day. Who still needs to nap every day.)

After a relatively uneventful flight from Calgary to Regina (one in which Simon was asleep in his seat before the flight attendants had even started their safety demonstration), we were greeted by the most bone-chilling cold weather. Those who've never experienced weather colder than -30 degrees (Fahrenheit and Celsius meet at -30, incaseyoudidn'tknow), it's hard to explain HOW FREAKIN COLD that is.

(Many of my fellow Canadian readers will have experienced that stinging sensation in your lungs when you inhale air that cold. They'll know that squeaking sound the snow makes when you step on it, almost like the sound styrofoam makes. They'll be familiar with the Cold Car Dance... that one that involves rocking back and forth, shivering madly and muttering obscenities to the cold through chattering teeth while you wait for your car to warm up.)

However, in spite of the cold, it's so good to be here. It's so good to see my mom and sisters and brother-in-law, and to see my boys play with their cousins. The weather is warming up (It's supposed to be -2 C tomorrow! A veritable heat wave!), Andrew's fever has broken, and I'm no longer so tired that my face hurts. And no matter how awful the trip was, it was SO TOTALY WORTH IT.

Only nine more sleeps til Christmas!


  1. Hey Amy! I'm so happy to have news! :) That was a trip! Ihad to take the bus with three kids a couple of times...I cannot imagine in a plane!!
    I hope you will have a good time with your familly and we all gonna miss you! (Jorick his wondering if Liam will miss him, so cute!)We love you xoxoxox
    Elise and familly

  2. I'm SO SORRY that your trip was such a nightmare!! I have to admit though that the way you wrote it (with the boys going in different directions, the stroller falling over backwards etc. etc) that I literally burst out laughing!! I could literally see it!! Glad you are all there and enjoying your time AND that the weather has warmed up!! Love, Mom/Mora/Nana

  3. Oh my - not sounding fun at all but I totally understand how worth it it all is. Did it this summer on my own with three kids too . . . there are always snags, a few miserable people, and at least one kind-hearted soul that reminds you of the goodness in the world. Glad you are there all safe and sound and I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  4. have every license to whine as much as you want!!!! Last January we traveled to Boston with my son...then not quite one...and I wasn't alone...and by the end of the flight I was ready to drop him off at my mom's and drive away...and everyone on the plane was ready to kill I know some of your pain.

  5. That's hardly whining...I'm impressed you all survived! Memo to self: pack extra clothes in the carry on. And more activities. And maybe some tranquilizers :).

    Hope you have a fantastic holiday -- I loved your description of cold weather, it was so bang on. The Cold Car Dance made me laugh out loud with recognition!

  6. OMG that sounds absolutely horrible. I am so glad you survived it. And that you had such a wonderful family waiting for you at the end of your trip/ordeal :) Take Care.

  7. Wow... nightmare!!! I was thoroughly enjoying your horror story until you ended it with "9 more sleeps until Christmas"... WHAT?? I had no idea it was that close! I am still so unprepared!

  8. Amy, You are the best! I am waiting for your book. I am going to be first in line to buy it! So glad you made it even through all the chaos. Enjoy your time! AND, so glad it is warming up! I got out of my car yesterday and couldn't breath as the wind and cold hit my face and by that point in the day it had warmed up a couple degrees. AHHHH!!!

  9. Sorry for laughing out loud as I read this. It's warmer here today than it has been all week! That's not saying much though. I'm glad you're home. Can't wait to see you and the boys. I finally get to meet Andrew!!!

  10. So so much sympathy. Glad you made it.

  11. Suck it up, I babysit my three kids all the time. Anyway, it couldn't have been as tough as my day. I had to drive myself to work after packing my own lunch, I left my coffee at home, then I had to make my own supper and do the dishes. After that I wandered around the house bored out of my mind waiting for bedtime. When do you guys get back again?

  12. Wow. That sounds like it was crazy. And as for the -30 weather... yeah. I know how that is. Really. Although sometimes I prefer breathing in that crisp cold air to having a furnace blasting in my face all day. Am I strange?

    I don't think I'd attempt to go to an airport with three kids by myself. I agree with Kimu... you ARE a superhero! And Kudos to those superheros who helped you out, too! More people need to be like that! :)

  13. You will need all of 2010 to get over the trauma of that trip! Yikes!

    My new favorite thing to read on your blog are Peter's anonymous comments. :)

  14. I agree with Kimu, you're a superhero. This was EPIC! I can barely travel with my 2 yo now that he can walk and run around. Doing what you did earns you a medal of honor. For real.


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