I'm back. The visit with my parents (and brother, who came for the weekend) was great. I can't believe I survived the travel part.
The flight there was as uneventful as possible, although 80 minutes turned into 105 minutes because of headwinds. El Pequeño cannot sit still for more than 15 seconds. Ever. He's got to be bouncing on my lap, or singing, or crawling at my feet, or trying to crawl over the seat in front of us. No toy holds his attention for more than a minute. El Chico is such a good, easy traveler, it's like traveling with an adult. So I'm still blindsided by what a pain in the ass El P is on a plane.
The trip back was a different story. Our flight left at 7 am, and the airport is an hour from my parents' house, so I was up at 4 so we could leave at 5. Of course we left late, so when we got to the airport we had to be expedited through the lines (us and 10 other late New Yorkers) at check-in and security. We got on the plane at 6:54 for a 7:00 flight, and I was thankful to have made it. Ha.
At 7:30, the door to the cockpit was still open. And the cockpit was empty. A few minutes later two pilots came onto the plane, and our flight attendant (who was the spitting image of Leslie Nielsen, complete with officious manner and blank look) made the annoucement that the company had forgotten to schedule a co-pilot for our flight! A pilot who had his own flight in an hour was coming to help our pilot set up the cockpit for the flight, but he couldn't stay.
I wouldn't say I'm exactly a frequent flier, but I've flown 2-20 roundtrips every year for the past 15 years or so. And this was the first time I've ever heard of a company forgetting to schedule a co-pilot for a flight. Part of me wonders if the co-pilot showed up but was drunk or high. At any rate, they called some guy who got out of bed, put on his pilot duds, and had his butt in the co-pilot seat by 8:00.
We pushed away from the gate and taxied out, then sat there. And sat, and sat. After 30 minutes, the pilot announced that one of the lights on the computer had been blinking, and they fixed it, but whenever something like that happens they have to file an incident report. So we had to go back to the gate so they could do the paperwork.
At this announcement I almost puked. El Pequeño had been awake for 4 hours at this point, and we'd been seated on the plane for almost 2 hours, and he was bouncing around on my lap and trying to grab at my face. He's a real face-grabber, despite all my gentle scoldings and distractions and redirections. He lunges and grabs and cackles and scratches. Which is normally barely tolerable, except that I'd forgotten the baby nail clippers and hadn't done any nail clipping in 5 days. So instead of a funny, overenthusiastic baby grabbing my cheeks, it was Edward Scissorhands on speed. Or a wolferine. A wolverine trying to gouge out my nostrils, rip out my hair, bite through my sweater, wing my glasses across the room, buck his head into my chin, and hurl himself off my lap.
And we weren't even close to taking off yet.
If Leslie Neilsen had come down the aisle at that moment I would have whipped out my credit card (because it's a "cash-free flight" now) and spent the money on 5 or 6 of those little bottles of vodka or rum or valium or whatever they had.
We took off shortly after 9, and landed at 10:15. I somehow managed to get the two carseats in the bags and a heavy duffel and my big travel backpack and our coats and El Chico's backpack to the taxi line. And then I installed the carseats with no help and no one holding El Pequeño while I wrestled with the fucking Britax monstrosity (that El Chico grew out of before he was even 3). And we got back to the apartment and I got all the stuff out of the taxi and into our building and into the elevator and into our apartment.
And then I found a beautiful chocolate bundt cake with ganache frosting and pink M&Ms on top waiting for me that El Grande made. And he left me a bunch of fruit-flavored chapsticks and a Toblerone dark. He is very sweet, when he's not downing wasabi like it's water. But I still think it's somehow his fault that I've given birth to a wolverine.
Next time I will zip El P into the carseat bag and check him, and bring the carseat on the plane with me.