Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Family Vacations and the Fairy Godmother Dumbstick

When I was a teenager, my dad used to tell me, "You'd lose your head if it wasn't attached to your body."

He was a detective. Really. He knew these things. But he forgot to tell me about the "having kids" part, becoming a father and the fact that my fairy godmother would someday hit me other the head with her step-sister dumbstick.

It's big and ugly, but feels like a feather pillow. Her dumbstick, not her step-sister.

Ah, we traveled the world before kids. The sights, the sounds, the glamour, the intrigue, the sex. Since, we've traveled a little with Beatrice, and that's been manageable, brain power and focal strength mostly remaining intact.

Traveling with two uniquely distinct tiny child humanoids? Whack! (Whoa, your step-sister is really cute, you know?)

It all starts with a series of simple missteps.

First, we overpacked for our family trip to see my parents in Oregon (or, maybe we still underpacked). Meaning that at five in the morning, 30 minutes before we have to leave for the airport, both suitcases are pushing 50+ pounds and so we had to offload into a third. Mama rocks at the packing, though; she taught me how to do it with laser precision. But when you're packing for two rug rats, all bets are off. It's like you have to pick up the kids' rooms and shake them into a "Honey, I shrunk the kids' stuff" machine thingie and pack them nicely into their respective two suitcases.

I mean, three suitcases. Not including the stroller, carry-on bags of food, toys, video-stuffed iPods and iPads, diapers and other assorted baby/toddler things. Oh, and the adult stuff we absolutely have to carry, like money and IDs and mood lifters.

Although traveling as adults for business and pleasure can be tedious, you get the process down and whip through the security line and head to your gate unscathed. Most of the time. This time at the airport with both girls (being very good by the way) the security line looked menacing at first, until another traveler told us to get into this other line for kids. You know, the first class, premium business class traveler line.

So we did, with three other families. Then, one of overworked and unhappy TSA employees started barking, "This line is for first class, premium business class travelers only. Please move to the other line if you're not traveling first class or premium business class."

"But we were told to get into this line with small children?" Mama cried out.

"This line is for first class, premium business class travelers only. Please move to the other line if you're not traveling first class or premium business class."

"Screw you, Jack. We ain't moving," I whispered to Mama. None of us moved. And we whipped through security and headed to our gate unscathed.

The flight to Portland was a blast for both girls, but especially Bea. She watched the planes take off from San Jose, then reveled in our plane taking off, watching the world fly by and sink away from the window and snap back again at landing. We did have the decompressing ears to deal with, but the girls survived.

But here's where the dumbstick double struck me us. We got off the plane, cruised to baggage claim, both girls calm and post-flight sedated (from the early morning flight, not meds), loaded up the $4 handy airport cart (wasn't it only a dollar last year?) and made our way to the rental car zone.

We then loaded our rental SUV, after I sweated it up installing the car seats, and I realized something was wrong. Something was missing. No, not one of the girls, or Mama, thankfully, but one of our suitcases. The third one we loaded that same morning. We had left the third bag in baggage claim.


So we had to load everybody up in the stroller -- because keeping the B-hive buzzing helps to keep them calm, if you know what I mean -- and headed back to pick up our third bag full of baby/toddler joy.

More family travel fun soon, as well as more dumbstick strikes.

Right on. This is mint. Every single minute of it.

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