Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grumble All the Way - Hey!

I am actually doing pretty well on my Christmas to-do list this year. Not because I've done anything that amazing...but because I dialed my expectations waaaay down. Neighbor gifts? I won't even tell you what I originally planned to do - the totally-not-going-to-happen-ness of my original plan is ridiculous! So Plan B: dollar store treat bags filled with candy. Candy that I did not make. They are even delivered...well except for the HALF of our list that wasn't home last night. We didn't leave them on the doorsteps because I failed to put our name anywhere on them and by golly if I'm going to pass out candy produced by the good folks at M&M Mars then I want credit for it.


Of course, I probably should have worried about mailing Christmas cards before I worried about delivering treats to people 2 houses away. Last Saturday I managed to buy Christmas cards and printable labels because won't just typing in my addresses and having them all print out be such a time-saver? Actually no. No it isn't. I've been sitting here for 2 hours trying to figure out why the printer has decided to not print anything. It has been "warming up" for hours and has yet to actually do any work. Which is kind of like my approach to exercise, come to think of it. I could have hand-written all of my labels 4 times by now...but that would be letting the machines win. And as Hollywood has taught me, we can't let that happen. So the Christmas cards are sitting here waiting for labels. And stamps. But after my fight with "David" at Walgreens over whether I should be allowed to take my photos home it feels like I've invested way too much in these cards to just let them sit here and welcome 2012.

My shopping? Done. Well, except for a couple things for a certain spouse who came up with a list for Santa on Monday. And a certain oldest son who decided all other requests can fall by the wayside because what he really wants for Christmas is a shiny gold bell from the harness of Santa's reindeer. (Guess who read The Polar Express at school 2 days ago.) 2012 rule: all Santa lists must be submitted by Thanksgiving.

Wrapping? Not even started. Blank notebooks that need to be turned into books for spy maps, codes, and plans? Hmm. Better get on that. Grocery shopping for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner. Nooooope.

And yet I feel like I'm actually way ahead of where I normally find myself 4 days before Christmas. That is sad.

The baby is screaming - did you know those things like to be fed like every 4 hours?!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Things I'd like to do...

Update my blog...but typing one-handed is so very slow and tedious.

---I now interrupt this post to transcribe Sawyer's current rant: "It's like you're a big, mean bully. It's like you don't like anything of mine. It's like you're a big robber. It's like I'm about to cut all your hair off. It's like we should live in the jungle and roll around and get covered in dirt. That's what it's like. Would you like that? I wish you were never in our family. Cuz it's not very nice. So I guess I'm thinking I SHOULD put it on the wall. You shouldn't have said that because now I'm very mad. See? I guess I'll say You're Stupid. So I guess I'm saying that you're stupid now. I think I should say you're stupid now...since you were mean and I wasn't. You were mean and I wasn't. You just wouldn't leave me alone. So I guess I changed my mind...I'm not letting you go anywhere. Even not to my birthday. I guess you're not going to get to go to my birthday. I guess you're not going to get to go to my birthday. I guess I changed my mind...we're not going to do anything on my birthday. And William doesn't get to. Only Daddy and me. Only Daddy and me get to do stuff on my birthday I guess. I guess you're gonna just do stuff by yourself. And I guess, maybe, I should wob (rob) your computer. I should wob (rob) it. I should maybe just steal your money...YOUR money. Maybe I should just steal your money. Steal it. Maybe I should steal your money. Maybe I should just steal..(pause)...Anyways, there are no more robbers. None more. Cuz there's no more people that could hurt us. So give me my candy back!! Mom, will you give me my candy bag? Since I ate a swandwich...a piece of bread...that's all I ate. So now can I have my candy? So I guess I changed my mind, we're not going to West Virginia and do fun stuff. And I guess when you make me stuff I won't say 'thank you' - I won't say anything to do. I'll never talk to you if you act like that. I'll never talk to you. I'll never do annnnnnyyything. Maybe I should never let you do anything. Maybe you should still come to my birthday but you don't really get food. And only Daddy and me are gonna get to play games. I guess."

---- This had been going on for probably a good 5 minutes before I decided to start writing it down. And it is all because he made a "hand" by taping together some random scraps of paper and presented it to me as a gift and then said he was going to tape it to the wall and I asked him to tape it to the window instead. Of course, he responded by taping it to the wall and I told him he needed to take it down and tape it to the window. Cue rant. This is the type of diatribe I listen to all day every day from him. I love how he forgets what he is yelling at me for and switches to yelling at me to get his Halloween candy for him. And somehow Will gets dragged into the mix and is forbidden from attending his birthday party as well...because every disagreement ends with him uninviting me to his birthday party. This time he also decided we wouldn't go to West Virginia after all. We have never actually had any plans to go to West Virginia, but I guess now it definitely won't be happening. How it all relates to rolling around in the jungle and getting dirty is a question only Sawyer can answer.

Now back to what I intended to write down. Things I'd like to do...
1. Update my blog.
2. Take a shower without the sound of a screaming baby in the background.
3. Stand up without holding baby.
4. Sit down without holding baby. She's lucky I kind of like her, because this is a baby that likes to be held. As in will scream if she is not being held. No matter how long she has been sleeping and no matter how carefully I slowly transfer her to a bed/couch/crib/playpen and set her down and slowly remove my hands...she will be awake and screaming within 2 minutes. I don't really make any attempts to accomplish anything these days so it isn't too much of a problem - but a 30 minute window to shower and, say, use the bathroom would be appreciated.
5. Wear non-maternity pants. Seriously hips...it has been 10 weeks...feel free to go back to normal width now. And I had a c-section so no need for hip-widening in the first place. But they didn't get the memo.

Time to make the baby mad by putting her in her car seat to go get Will. Sawyer usually rants the entire way to the school and back about how "annoyding" it is to have to go get Will because he "was busy." It's just so unfair that he has to stop doing exactly what he feels like for 10 minutes out of every weekday afternoon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

You're only a day away

Just heard from the hospital and we are scheduled to meet baby girl tomorrow morning at 7:30. Which means I have to have my showered self at the hospital by 5:30. Officially the world's lamest way to have a baby...but I suppose we'll keep her anyways.

If I haven't mentioned it enough times to anyone within earshot yet, I really, truly did not ever think I would have this baby on the 23rd of August. With my first baby being 10 days early and my second clocking in 22 days early I was very, very confident this baby would choose her own arrival date as well. But she seems content to just hang around in utero forever.

I'm not sure the boys believe us that she will be here tomorrow - or maybe they are just really unimpressed with the idea. They know that the doctors will "cut Mom's tummy open and take out the baby and then staple it up again" and they are entirely unconcerned about the idea. I don't think they have a total grip on the situation though because Will keeps saying that the baby will come out and then I will go to the hospital for a few days to get better while the baby stays home. We keep trying to explain that the baby will come out at the hospital and then Mom and the baby will stay at the hospital. It will be fun to see their reactions tomorrow when they actually see her. The boys had dentist appointments a couple weeks ago and the dentist asked Sawyer if he was going to have a baby sister soon and he replied "Well...maybe...she's been in there a long time!" I think he was beginning to doubt the whole thing. And I can't really blame him since he has been hearing about the baby since February, and seven months is basically as much of his own existence as he can remember.

Here's to an early morning!

Oh...did I never really mention I was pregnant? That is because I am still hoping to get around to adding pictures to all the posts sitting in my drafts section. Also, Will started 1st grade today and once I post about his first day of kindergarten I will be sure and get a post up about his first day of this school year as well. This is the kind of thing that happens when I'm pregnant.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

My kids are 'special'

WILL

While riding in the car the other day...
Will: Mom? You know what I wish?
Me: What Will?
Will: I wish that Ronald McDonald were real and that I could fly.

On Sunday I was in the shower and Bryce was sleeping in. Apparently someone came to the door while we were thus occupied. I asked Will who it was and he said it was two guys. He said one was older and one was more like a kid. Several minutes later he walked up to me and said "Uhhh Mom? Actually I think they were children of men." Ummmm....ok?

We took the boys to the zoo a few weekends ago. It was free military day and the first Saturday without rain in oh, maybe 6 months or so, so it was insanely busy. At one point we saw a kid on a leash. Will was very interested in it. Later on in the day he told me "Mom? If you want to get me one of those leash things that would be ok I guess." I thought it was funny because his tone indicated that he kind of wanted one but didn't want to admit it - why he would want to be on a leash I don't know - but it has certainly crossed my mind before that he ought to be on one.

SAWYER

The other day we actually had some not terrible weather. The boys spent most of the day outside playing. Later in the afternoon we had to go somewhere and I needed Sawyer to put on clean clothes. I went to pull down his pants and he grabbed the waistband of his underwear and said "Don't pull down my underwear!" with a suspicious amount of panic in his voice. I said "Sawyer? Is there something in your underwear?" He said "Nooo." I said "Let's see"...at which point he reached in and removed 12 jumbo paperclips he had been hauling around in there. Then we had a 5 minute fight about why he couldn't put them back in. He finally agreed to leave them on his bookshelf "for later."

Three minutes ago Sawyer walked into the office and said "Mom? Can I have that pair of scissors?" He was holding a notebook. I said "Why Sawyer? Are you going to cut that paper up into little tiny pieces and make a big mess?" (Not that he's ever done that before.) He said "No. I just want to make a project." I handed him the scissors and with a huge grin he whispered "Haha! I'm sneaky!" I said "What did you say?" and he said "I'm so tricky!" I said "What are you going to do Sawyer?" and he replied "Make a mess!" and ran out of the room.

He's a tricky one all right.

While I was in the shower this morning he took a container of blueberries - purchased last night - out of the fridge, dumped them on the kitchen floor, and then stepped on each and every one.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy birthday Mom!

video

Hope you have a happy birthday Mom! Wish we could be there to celebrate. The boys ate Bomb Pops in your honor. Hopefully this video works.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

To Mom - otherwise known as Moooooooooommm!

Happy Mother's Day. Hope you had a good day even if you had to spend it lying down. Just think - there were probably a lot of Mother's Days when you wished you could have spent all day doing nothing.

I tried to get a picture of the boys/me and the boys for Mother's Day...but see if you can guess who the problem child is lately.

We tried before church on Easter:

"Sawyer, can we please just take one picture?"


"Come on Sawyer, just one picture for Mom for Easter."


"Sawyer you are driving me nuts. All I want is 1 picture."

We tried after church on Easter:


"Ok. Now let's get your brother and remember to look at the camera."


"Come on Sawyer, it will be super fast, just 1 quick picture."


"Seriously? We can't even take 1 picture."

We tried tonight before bed:


"Sawyer. Look at the camera. 1 picture for Grandma."


"STOP KICKING."

I give up.
Did you really have 6 of these things?

At any rate - happy Mother's Day from this one:

and this one:



and this one (the most cooperative of all...please let it stay that way for a few years at least):


Love, Erin and co.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Correspondence

Dear This Week,
I hate you.

Dear Weather,
I hate you.

Dear Mouth,
I hate you.

Most sincerely,
Erin

Monday, April 11, 2011

Misc.

I try to have the boys in bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible. I like them better this way. Lately it is still light at 7 p.m. and apparently it hasn't gone unnoticed.

Last night Sawyer woke up at 2 and was demanding my attention. I was trying to sleep on the couch downstairs so I ignored him for 10 minutes in hopes that someone else might attend to him. It became clear that wasn't going to happen so I went up to see what his problem was. He demanded that I open his blinds so that he could see out his window. Then upon looking outside he declared angrily "It is dark! It was light and now it is dark! It is supposed to be dark and then light and then you wake up! It wasn't time to go to bed!" Can't put one over on that kid.

And in other news, if you want to keep your pregnancy weight gain in check I recommend the following:

11 weeks of constant nausea to be followed by lactose intolerance + heartburn to be followed by 1 week or more of Hand Foot and Mouth disease with oral bacterial infection.

If it worked for me, it can work for you!

At some point I really will post all of the old posts that should be on here. Luckily there aren't any major holidays in the last quarter of the year or anything so it isn't like I am that behind.

Monday, April 04, 2011

I can fly twice as high

Edit: to include tips from a Delta traveler at the bottom! New and improved!

A friend was recently talking to me about flying with children. And while I haven't done much in the last 5.5 years, I have flown with children over a dozen times or so. And I'm not talking Utah to California type plane rides. These are Utah to the East Coast plane rides = 6+ hours of flight time and 8-10 or 11 hours of travel time. That is what happens when home is 2,000 miles away. Granted, I had another adult with me on all those trips except for two I think.

So here are my semi-pro tips for flying with children (and by semi-pro I mean no one has died yet):

Purchasing tickets:
- Fly Southwest. Then you don't have to select seats when you purchase tickets. Of course, the recent hole-blasting-open-in-the-ceiling incident is cause for some concern.

- At least for my usual destinations Southwest is almost always the cheapest. For a while Delta was cheaper. But they were also horrible. They changed our flight times/schedules/connections almost every single time we flew. Once in a while this worked to our advantage. Like the time my family + Megan + Chad were flying to Connecticut for Christmas, but it was cheaper to fly into New York so we were planning to fly to JFK, take a shuttle to the train station, and take a train to CT. Doesn't that sound fun? As per their usual, Delta began notifying me that my flight had been changed the day before we left. They kept pushing our departure/arrival time back later and later in the day. Finally they pushed it back to so late that we wouldn't be able to get a shuttle/train to CT upon our arrival. I called and complained (I'm good at that) and eventually they agreed to put my whole family + Megan + Chad on a flight straight to CT instead of NY (what we would have preferred all along of course). The flight to JFK would have been direct whereas the new flight to CT wasn't so I also had them arrange for a cart to meet us at the gate to take us to our connecting flight. So when we arrived at our layover there was a golf cart guy waiting for us and we piled on all our luggage and got driven to our next gate. It was like being a celebrity. For about 30 seconds...because our connecting gate was only about 150 feet from our arrival gate. Anyways, what was I saying?

- Oh yes, Southwest is usually cheapest. You get 2 free bags per ticketed passenger so if you plan on bringing, you know, clothes or anything they are always the cheapest these days.

- If you fly Southwest MAKE SURE you check in online 24 hours before your departure time. If you don't and you have kids you can board in the "family group" which is after the A group. But it is still better to be in the A group. Isn't it always?

- If you fly Southwest you can cancel your tickets and still keep the credit or change your plans and just pay the difference without any change or cancellation fees. Which can be handy when you have a baby 3 weeks early and Mom isn't scheduled to arrive for another 2 weeks.

Airport:

- Most airlines allow you to check car seats without counting it towards your baggage limit. They will also provide you with a large clear plastic bag to put them in. If your child has his/her own seat on the plane you can bring their car seat on the plane. Keep in mind their feet will probably be against the back of the chair in front of them while they are sitting in the seat on the plane. And they will kick it. However, if you don't have a car seat then the only thing keeping the wee one in his/her seat is the little seat belt...i.e. they won't be sitting down ever...and especially not when the flight attendants are demanding that they be belted in their own seat for take-off and landing. When Sawyer was 2 we brought the car seat and he couldn't get out and it was great. When Sawyer was 3 there was no way he would have had room for his legs while sitting in a car seat on the plane so we checked it and he also did fine over all. It is your call. When the boys were under 2 they were on my lap which is obviously horrid, but cheaper, so we did it as long as possible.

- Clean out your car seats before going to the airport. If you are bringing them on the plane they will have to go through the x ray machine. And when you flip it upside down on the conveyor belt so that it will fit into the machine you might be embarrassed if 10 pounds of cheerios, fruit snacks, french fries, coins, crayons, etc come tumbling out of it. Not that I'd know.

- Bring a copy of a birth certificate for each of your children. Technically they are supposed to have identification too. If you are wanting them to fly for free you may have to provide one to prove they are under the age of 2. Most of the time they won't ask for them.

- There is usually a "family line" for going through airport security. At the Salt Lake airport there is a sign with a picture of a family on it. This is a shortcut. They take you up to the front and you cut all the suckers, I mean, fellow passengers in line. Of course, they are not traveling with children so we know that they will have the last laugh, but we take what we can get.

- Your children will have to take off their shoes and coats/sweatshirts. If you have a stroller you will have to collapse it to send it through the xray machine. This is challenging if you are holding an infant...and the airport security people WILL NOT hold your infant for 2 seconds so you can collapse your stroller, remove your shoes, and take off your sweatshirt. They are "not allowed."

- If you have a laptop you will have to remove it from your carry on and from its case. You may have to do this with dvd players too depending on who is working that day. You may have to do this with small children's gaming units. If you are lucky you will have to do this with your laptop, your dvd player, and your Leapster.

- Everyone knows the NO LIQUIDS rule, but there is also a YES! LIQUIDS! rule. You CAN bring breast milk or formula. You have to declare it - which just means take it out and show it to them and don't just try to send it through the x ray machine in your carry on. It has to be a "reasonable amount" which means nothing besides whatever they feel like letting you have that day. You can also bring baby food and baby juices. I once brought an 8 pack of juice boxes through along with a bunch of packs of baby food. The employee wasn't happy about it, but she called over the supervisor and when I told her I was going to be traveling for the next 10 hours she said it was fine. Then the first lady gave me nasty looks.

- You can gate check a stroller. This means you can bring a stroller with you through security and when you get to your gate you go to the counter and tell them you need to gate check your stroller. They will put a tag on it for you. You can either gate check it all the way to your final destination or if you have a layover they can bring it up to you and then you can gate check it again for your second flight. I think it is very useful to have a stroller because even if your kids don't ride in it you have something to help haul all your stuff to your gate or to your next flight or down to baggage claim. Once you get your gate check tag you will just fold up your stroller and leave it at the bottom of the ramp right before you get on the plane. And that is where it will be when you get off the plane. Try not to leave your purse hanging from the stroller when you leave it at the bottom of the ramp. It is very hard to get back out to the ramp when everyone is trying to get on the plane. Not that I'd know.

- If you are flying alone with children you can get an escort pass when you check in so that another adult can accompany you to the gate. It is like the old days. They show their pass and go through security and then they can stay with you right up until you get on the plane. This would have been helpful information when I was trying to get through security while holding an infant while employees that were apparently prohibited from being helpful in any way looked on.

Packing:

- Always pack at least 1 bag under your allowed bag limit. If you can bring 4 bags for free then pack 3 + 1 empty bag. If you are like me you will be bringing home more stuff than you left with.

- Do not bother looking at a weather forecast. They are usually wrong and then you will be stuck with shorts and tank tops in 40 degree weather. Pack underwear, socks, a bathing suit, a couple pairs of pants, a couple pairs of shorts, several t-shirts, at least 1 sweatshirt, and a medium weight jacket. Now you can go anywhere! If you are going to have access to a washer/drier then pack 4-5 outfits per person regardless of the length of your stay. If you won't then I usually pack 2 outfits per day per child and 1 per day for me because who wants to try to find a laundromat on vacation? (My mom does...she likes it when kids throw up on the sheets in rental houses in New Hampshire.)

Carry-ons/packing for the plane:

- Keep in mind that a carry-on is the only thing standing between you and utter despair and misery when flying with children.

- Here is an actual useful tip (unlike all of the above): Pack a change of clothes for you and each of the children in your carry-on bag. I usually pack a pair of pajamas + underwear for the kids and yoga pants and a t-shirt + underwear for me. They take up the least amount of room and provide you something to change into should your child happen to deposit any type of bodily secretions on you. You might not be the most fashionable flier if you end up in your t-shirt and yoga pants but people probably won't give you a second glance either.

- If you are flying into the evening change your kids into their pajamas. I usually have them change at a layover, but I have also had them change on the plane. I think it makes them comfy and more likely to calm down and maybe, if you are really lucky, they might even fall asleep. Then you put the clothes they had on in the carry-on so you still have an extra pair of clothes in case of emergency.

- Dress your kids in cute clothes / pajamas for the plane. My kids dress like dirty homeless children 99% of the time, but I find that how they are dressed makes an enormous difference in how other passengers react to them when flying. Sad? maybe...but very, very true. Will has Batman pajamas complete with cape and Sawyer has Superman pajamas with cape and for some reason when they are running around the airport in their caped pajamas people smile and compliment them vs. when they are wearing fruit-snack-drool covered non-matching clothes and doing the same thing people give me dirty looks.

- Planes have 2 temperatures: very hot or very cold. There does not appear to be any in between. I always wear a sweatshirt and the kids always bring a blanket. In fact, they each have an "airplane blanket" that I made for them which includes a cinch-able strap and buckle on one end so that they can cinch it up and wear it like a cape. This means I can just strap it on them and I don't have to pick it up off the floor of the airplane a million times and they can carry it during layovers or to the baggage claim or whatever. You probably aren't really picturing what I'm talking about. That's ok. I'm sure a regular blanket will also work just fine.

- You can't bring bottled water through airport security but you can bring empty water bottles. Therefore I bring a water bottle with a sport-type lid for each of my kids. Once I am through security I fill them up at the drinking fountain. Then I bring an assortment of single-serving (and light-colored) beverage powders such as crystal light, lemonade, and apple juice. Then they can have whatever they want and I don't have to pay airport prices.

- Bring enough food for the entire plane. Your kids will probably eat most of it. If they don't then you will at least have bribing materials for your fellow passengers. Have you ever been stuck on the runway for hours? People become willing to pay good money for a pack of fruit snacks real fast.

- Speaking of food, bring an assortment of snacks. I buy all the snacks I wouldn't usually pay for. Individually wrapped. Such as: granola bars, goldfish, animal crackers, teddy grahams, fruit snacks, candy. Then I add in non-crunchy snacks such as: mini-muffins, snack cakes, peanut/butter jelly sandwiches. Sometimes I add something like little boxes of raisins just so I can claim to have something non-processed. No, it isn't healthy, but my goal isn't to have a well-balanced meal - it is to have something enticing enough that my kids will stop screaming.

- GUM. Chewing gum can help make the kids' ears pop. I have had to hand out gum to children around me whose parents did not bring gum - and the whole plane was glad I did.

- If your child starts screaming on take-off or especially on landing the odds are that his/her ears hurt. Try having them take a drink, or chew and swallow something, or chew gum, or see how wide they can open their mouth. (I know that "their" should be "his/her" but that just gets awkward after a while...or once.) If none of this works then have them bury their head in your lap and put a blanket over them...because they are going to scream until you land.

- Activities: dvd player with headphones. The headphones are a must even though your kid won't want to wear them. Also your dvd player will probably only have 1 headphone jack. Two kids can use it if they each get 1 of the earphones. The earbud type earphones are easier for 2 kids to share, but the old school headband style ear phones stay on better.

- MP3 player. Sawyer doesn't care about listening to music, but even as a 2 year-old Will would listen to his happily for at least an hour.

- EXTRA BATTERIES. You will go through a lot. If you have a layover longer than an hour find somewhere to sit where you can plug in and recharge your laptop/dvd player.

- Coloring books/crayons. My kids aren't really into coloring, but they sometimes like the activity workbook type things.

- Aquadoodle. We have a travel aquadoodle that both of the kids enjoy.

- Any toy that they have never seen before. I usually check out the dollar store/dollar section of Target or Walmart. If you can, pack some things separately so that you can swap out the carry- on items and they will have new stuff on the return trip too. More likely they will get into everything days before you leave and you will threaten them and say you took it all back to the store and then they will be happy to see it again when you fly.

- Be prepared to spend your entire flight taking things out and putting them away. You will do this every 20 seconds. It will go like this: Snack, dropped snack, new toy, dropped toy, different toy, temper tantrum, snack, repeat. Do not bother putting anything in the overhead bin. Put everything under the seat in front of you - you will be accessing it constantly.

- Put baby wipes somewhere where you can reach them at all times.

- If you have kid/s in diapers buy some of those diaper disposal bags. There is not anywhere to change a baby on a plane. As in No. Where. As in when you ask the flight attendant where you could possibly change your 2 year old that is rather too big and rather too smelly to change in your seat on your lap they will look at you like you are disgusting and then say "I guess you could do it on the floor back by the bathroom." Then you will discover that there is no garbage to throw a diaper in. There is not a garbage you can use in the plane bathroom. And the flight attendant will pretend that they can't see you trying to find somewhere to put a diaper. So just bring a disposal bag and double bag it and tie it in a knot and bury it somewhere in the recesses of your carry-on. It is the best you can do.

- Do plan on your child having to use the bathroom as soon as they announce that you are prepared for take-off / the seat belt light goes on / you begin to land. If your child is old enough to be overruled, make him/her wear a pull-up. Better safe than sorry. Sometimes the fasten seat belt light will be on the entire ride and at some point you just have to say "Sorry, but we'll take our chances" and take them to the bathroom anyways even though they will immediately come on the intercom and remind "all passengers" that you have to stay in your seat.

- Children's Dramamine. I'm not suggesting you drug your children. I am suggesting that it is available for purchase at Walmart. Even if it is chewable your child won't chew it. If you slip it into a spoonful of yogurt they won't realize it at all, or not until it is too late. I get motion sickness. It is awful. I don't fly without taking Dramamine. My children don't appear to get motion sickness. But better safe than sorry. And if they happen to be slightly more inclined to fall asleep then I think I speak for the entire plane when I say that it isn't a bad thing.

- Do not bring things that roll or things with small pieces. Toy cars are useless on a plane. There is no where to drive them and they will fall on the floor and roll away to where you can't get them. It is a challenge to pick up anything that falls on the floor since you have to do the awkward shove your cheek against the seat in front of you and grope around blindly on the floor with one hand routine.

- Sticker books, pipe cleaners, band-aids, notebook/pen, calculator, Colorforms, cheap handheld games, Magic pen books, baby wipes = things we have gotten mileage out of on the plane (Sawyer likes to clean things).

- Honestly, it is the best when you can get them to watch a movie. If they watch an entire movie that might be almost 90 minutes of calm! That is unbeatable.

- Do not let them walk up and down the aisle. Some people seem to think this is cute and good for them to use up energy. Really it just annoys everyone.

- I don't let them get a drink from the beverage cart. If they have a drink then you end up with a cup of soda that they don't drink and which you have to try to keep from spilling for the next half hour. And they will already have their water bottles which you filled at the drinking fountains right?

- Letting kids bring their own backpack? This is a toss-up. More than likely you are going to end up carrying it all. And the more bags you have the more likely something will get left on the airplane or in the airport. And if they have their own bag of stuff they will have emptied it all out within the first 30 seconds on the plane and then will say they are bored. If you just have one bag with all the stuff in it you will be constantly giving out and retrieving items. But really you will end up doing that anyways. I tend to favor being the keeper of the bag. Especially if there are no other adults with you to help keep track of bags and such.

That is all I can think of for now. I'm sure you have found this very informative. I should write a book. A long, boring book with no pictures.

******************************************

As another frequent flyer with kids, I can relate!!! A couple extra comments:
1 - Make your carry-on a backpack (not a diaper bag) if at all possible.
2- We usually fly Delta instead of SW because we like the security of knowing where our seats are & that they are together...I had to scramble on SW once to get people to switch seats so we could be together. We have the Delta credit card that allows one free bag per traveler in your party up to 9 people. Usually Delta has been cheaper for us plus they have non-stop flights, which I love. Also, many of them have CHANGING TABLES in the bathrooms!!!
3 - If you have an infant that you will be holding, call the airline ahead of time & make sure they mark your ticket as having a lap infant. If there are seats open, sometimes they will alert the passenger(s) sitting next to you that there will be an infant next to them & give them the option of changing seats before they get on board...this has happened to me a few times.
4 - (Also for an infant) If there are 2 of you & you choose the aisle & window seats, sometimes you'll get lucky & no one will choose the middle seat & you will have the extra space to put your infant car seat (just check at the gate to see if you need to check it or if the seat will be available). If not, I haven't met a person in a middle seat that isn't happy to switch! This has also happened to me a few times.
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Thanks Jenny! I completely agree with the backpack comment. It didn't even occur to me to mention it because I always, always use a backpack. Lots of room and 1000% easier to cart around.

Jenny has had much better luck with Delta than I! The diaper-changing incident I mentioned was on a Delta flight. And having them change our flight itinerary up to 5 times before each trip was kind of a big pain. Especially when it means the seats I chose in advance or time I wanted to leave/arrive or airport I wanted to go through for a layover now mean nothing. I am sure a lot of it depends on which destinations/airports you are traveling to/through. By all means fly with whatever airline works out the cheapest for you - goodness knows I do!

In the last 3-4 years I have not flown on a single flight that had empty seats.

( In fact, on at least 80% of my flights they are overbooked and asking people to change their plans. If you don't have to be anywhere at a certain time this can be a good deal. When we went to Florida last year they were asking if anyone was willing to change flights. We had 6 people traveling so I went and asked what the deal was. They said we would be on the next flight out (30 mins later) and would actually get in to Florida 10 minutes earlier. And we would have each received a $200 credit. I signed up but unfortunately they ended up not needing us. Darn.)

If there are empty seats and you are flying with a lap child you can put your lap child in a car seat on an empty seat for free. Jenny mentioned this for Delta but it is true for Southwest as well. But if it turns out that someone needs the seat you will have to gate check the car seat. I was never lucky enough to be on a flight with empty seats when I had a lap child...but maybe you will be! Once again, it probably depends a lot on the routes you fly.

If you are flying Southwest and you are worried about getting seats together give the gate employee a heads up. When I go to get the gate check ticket for my stroller I usually say something like "Will this plane already be pretty full when it arrives? I am traveling with x number of small children and I am wondering if I will have trouble getting seats for us." As a result, I have had the boarding employees board me and my kids very first. Goodness knows the employees don't want to have to try to convince people to move so that you can sit next to your 2 year-old. And goodness knows the other passengers would all prefer to know where the little monsters, I mean children, are going to be before they choose their own seats. PS: This tactic gets a lot better response at any airport besides the Salt Lake airport (and possibly the Orlando airport). In Salt Lake they will look at you like "Lady, flying with 2 (or 3 or 4) small children does not qualify you as unusual in any way."

Usually when you buy tickets you will indicate that you have an infant even though you won't buy a ticket for him/her. Even if you don't you do need to tell the counter that you have an infant because they need to be on the passenger manifest. (Interestingly enough, when Will was 18 months old we had to wait for about 20 minutes until a supervisor could clear us to get on a plane - turns out he was on the terror watch list. Our security forces at work.)

And this should be obvious, but if you have a child that is flying on your lap for free...they have to be on your lap. I can't tell you how many times the last few passengers are trying to find seats and the attendants come over the PA system announcing "We have passengers who need seats, if you have a lap child THEY MUST be on your lap." And then they walk past giving you dirty looks and then after a few more minutes they come and accuse you of having a lap child in a seat and I have to pull out my tickets and assure them that Sawyer is a ticketed passenger and, therefore, gets his own seat. He just looks small ok people? And if I could get away with not buying him a ticket I would! But I am always amazed by the people that think if they just keep ignoring the announcement they will get away with having their free child fly in his/her own seat. So don't be those people.

Phew. I think I will start a travel blog. Then airlines will give me free tickets and I can have sponsors and quit my day job. Oh wait, I don't have a day job...or not one that I can quit. Dang.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Sawyerisms

I have a major list of draft blog posts that I ought to get finished and put on here...but it ain't gonna happen today.

But just to tide you over - a few of Sawyer's latest. (I think 3 year-olds are so funny. They are generally able to express their thoughts and their thoughts are from such a kid perspective that it makes for some hilarious insights. Of course, he just walked over and dumped a bag of cereal on top of me and the computer because I told him he needed to share with Will, so not everything he does is that adorable.)

Last night we took the boys to "Family Math Night" at Will's school. We ended up in a class about ten frames. Which is a math concept I wasn't familiar with which involves putting counters on the squares of a 2x5 grid and is somehow supposed to teach them any number of great mathematical concepts. It seemed a lot more confusing than just counting to me, but whatever. The teacher had a game for the kids to play up at the board where they counted dots and took turns going up to put in the answer. The kids were sitting on a rug on the floor. Sawyer spent the whole time prone on the rug with his legs crossed "writing" on a piece of paper. He didn't appear to be paying any attention to the game. At the very end, Will told the teacher his brother really wanted a turn. Sawyer walked up and took a turn and sat down again and went back to doodling on his paper...he says he is writing but the only letters he writes are Qs and lots of little marks that look like tiny Vs. At the end of the class he handed me his paper and I said "Were you taking notes Sawyer?" and he responded "Yup. I was taking notes of everyone who didn't get a turn."

Then today I was in the shower. It may or may not have been 5 p.m. Sawyer came in my room and kept repeating something I couldn't understand. I told him to come in the bathroom and tell me and he kept saying something about cookies. I couldn't make out what he was saying, but I could tell by the way he kept trailing off and covering his face with his hands that it was a confession of some sorts. As far as I can tell he was saying that he already ate his cookie.....and then he ate all of Will's cookie too. He was apparently coming to tell me as a preemptive maneuver. I said "Oh. Is Will sad?" to which he brightly replied "Not yet!"

When I got out of the shower I heard a scuffling sound coming from the back of our dark walk-in closet. I expected to see one of the boys hiding in the back corner behind where my long winter dress coat hangs. I walked in and pulled the coat aside and found a wall of shoes about 12 pairs high barricading in the back corner and the noise was coming from behind them. I pulled out a shoe and saw Sawyer's eye staring out at me. He said "Mom, can you go out? I don't want Dad to see me in here." I asked, "Why not?" He said "Because he'll think I did this and I'll be in trouble." "I said, "Did what?" and he responded "Built this big wall of shoes!" So I put the shoe back and he sat there in the dark for a while until he got bored.

And I already put this one on facebook, but Sawyer threw a fit about the dinner menu the other night yelling "I only like almonds and figs and olives!" And he really does. A few days later we had Mexican food for dinner and he ate plain sour cream by the spoon full. But the next day he made me take the whipped cream off of his milk shake because it was yucky.

The Primary (children's group at church) sent home a questionnaire for the kids to fill out. Then they use the questionnaires to spotlight different children each week. I was trying to ask Sawyer the questions to fill out the form, but his answer for every question was "Poop" or something using "poopy" as an adjective. One of the questions was "What food do you think is gross?" and Sawyer kept insisting his answer was "poopy flower sandwiches." I told him that wasn't a food and he needed to think of an actual food like that Mom or Dad might give him for dinner. He got upset and said he liked them all and only "poopy flower sandwiches" are gross. We moved on. (I did NOT write poopy flower sandwiches.) Another question was "What makes you laugh every time?" for which his answer was, of course, "poop." Which, while pretty much true in his world, I didn't really want to write. I kept trying to get him to come up with something else, but he was throwing a fit and saying "Poop is the ONLY thing I think is funny." So finally I wrote it down and figured they could just use the other questions. As luck would have it he got to be the spotlight child that very day. And also lucky my awesome friend was the one reading the survey. And possibly because she has a 3 year-old boy of her own so she didn't just skip the "poop" answer. I had stayed home from church because I wasn't feeling well and Sawyer was so proud when he ran in and told me he was the spotlight child. I asked him what they talked about in Primary and he said "Poop!" He was very pleased with himself.

It is a good thing he does some pretty funny stuff sometimes, because some other elements of his current phase I really don't find amusing. Like refusing to get dressed. Ever. Because clothes (or shoes, or underwear, or socks, or whatever) "bug" him. Or screaming for 30 minutes in a biting, flailing rage because I told him he had to wear a swim diaper if he wanted to go to the pool. Or responding to everything he is asked or told to do with a threat. Or using threats to make requests - for example, "If you don't let me have a cookie I will call you stupid, but if you do let me have a cookie I won't!" or "Sawyer, you need to get dressed." "No! Or I'll hit you!" "If you hit me then you'll go to your room." "Then I'll kick my door!"