reality check

beach baby

beach baby

My mother in law always says that the Mr. and I “roll easily” and its one of the compliments I am most proud of, especially as a new mom.  We love to explore uncharted territory on a whim and don’t let much get in the way of our spontaneous style.   Last weekend, we were fortunate to book a last minute getaway to Florida to visit  Mami Claudette in sunny Boca Raton.  We couldn’t wait to get out of the polar vortex here in NY and save our daughter from her indoors-only routine.

We pushed our sleeping princess’ stroller up to the first security check where the guard demanded to see the baby.   I pulled the sun shade up and jokingly referred to her as my phantom baby with real eyelashes.  The young TSA agent took a quick look at her and admitted, “You’d be surprised by what I see at this airport. People have brought fake babies filled with drugs through here, and sometimes women go through carrying a bundle of blankets with no baby inside.”

Queens, NY means business!

We approached the metal detector and I was instructed to wake up the baby and carry her through. Are you f’ing kidding me, I thought.  She woke up with a mild scowl and looked around in the harsh glare of the florescent lighting, getting a little excited to be in the center of all the action.

“Let him do all the work” the metal detector operator barked as he ushered us girls through while the Mr. struggled to place our over-sized stroller(so over it), car seat and assorted metal odds and ends onto the belt. Our boisterous little lady ruined our plans of getting a drink but we passed our time at the gate uneventfully and joined a few other families during pre-boarding when the fun began.

A middle aged lady approached our aisle, “Looks like I’m sitting with your family on this flight,” she said with a smirk.  I gave her a fake smile and tried to get comfortable with  25 lbs of pudge in my lap on Spirit’s tiny airplane seats. My poor baby was overtired and restless.  The constant loudspeaker announcements and bright light were quite disruptive and it was almost midnight. (Note to travel industry: ambient lighting) The crew promised to dim the cabin after “service” — which is what they call making you pay for a $3 coke on an airplane these days.  Our row mate yapped loudly about her Kindle reading list with her pal across the aisle and I wanted to slap her.  Finally after some unbearable screaming, the baby passed out on my chest. I tried to stay as still as possible which isn’t easy for a woman like me sans tailbone in a hard, unyielding airplane seat.

We finally landed at 1 am in a torrential rain storm and picked up our soaking wet car seat from the gate. I gently placed my sleeping baby inside feeling like a horrible mother and we maneuvered our tired selves to baggage claim.  Joe whose father works at my grandma’s building picked us up in his four door that reeked so badly of of stale cigarette smoke, I thought I would choke. My husband climbed into the front seat and proceeded to chat football to keep him from dozing off in the downpour. The car shook and I felt the water slushing on the highway beneath my feet while I held onto my precious cargo. “I’m doing all I can to keep the car moving straight in this lane” said our burnt out driver.

Thirty minutes later, we finally arrived and the baby woke up for what was the 4th time that evening, wailing. We hastily unpacked her travel crib and tried to place her inside.  She screamed, choked and for the first time ever, vomited milk all over us, the carpet and her pajamas. Mami Claudette, (my grandma) woke up, super disoriented  and excited to see us and insisted that all the baby needed was some warm water.  Our princess was really having a hard time settling down. My grandma was trying all her wonderful grandmotherly tricks but nothing  was working because it was 2:30am and the baby was distraught! Finally, the Mr. pulled out his stern, i-mean- business voice and asked my grandma to get back to bed.

The little miss sipped some of that warm water and crawled into bed next to me.  She was in quite the chatty mood and I started to feel like I was at a bad sleepover party with a friend who wouldn’t stop whispering about her crush. She chatted away and crawled over me, precipitously close to the narrow edge of the bed. After many of my sleepy attempts to wrangle her in, shush, sing, pacify and spoon her, she fell asleep.

We all woke up at 8am in a sunny, humid room. We had made it to our final destination safe and sound. Rolling easily sure is a lot more difficult as a mom, but I like to remind myself that a little schedule mishap is not the end of the world. The baby got lots of fresh ocean air and napped soundly in her crib all weekend with Mami C keeping a close eye while me and the Mr. lounged in the warm sand.

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