How to Fly With a Toddler In Your Lap

January 20th, 2013. 11:05 a.m.  San Diego International Airport.

“Well, that was easy,” Beef said, “because we prepared.”

Hmm… shall we back up a wee bit?

Posey’s first flight was over the summer, when we schlepped her all the way to London. At the time, it seemed like the Hardest Thing Any Parent Has Ever Done Ever. Looking back at the circumstances, she was a non-crawling sack of potatoes who slept almost the entire time in a SPECIAL BED ATTACHED TO THE WALL, kind of like those sleep chambers in Aliens:

Piece of crumpet.

Flash forward the moment we decide to take her to California. And not just anywhere! Let’s make it a Grand Tour, shall we? San Diego! Orange County! Santa Monica! Pasadena! Brigadoon!  After all, we did okay on the last trip, right?  The one when we stayed in a gorgeous home with great friends who also had a baby and an extra set of all the stuff that comes with a baby?  That went smashingly!

This trip, we have to pack a car seat.  And a pack and play.  And a stroller.  And her mobile, because there is only one song on the planet earth she will fall asleep to.  And this trip, the Squiggliest Baby On Earth has to sit in “our” laps for four hours and nineteen minutes.

So here’s how “we” did it:

Step 1: Ask your parents to get up at 5 a.m. and come with TWO CARS to fit your luggage and yourselves comfortably.

Step 2: Oversleep and try to get past the fact that you are flying to the land of movie stars with hair that hasn’t been washed in two days.  Two days in a row that you worked out and then didn’t shower, because that’s why the alarm is set for 5:00 a.m. on the phone with no juice left.

Things To Check as Baggage:

  • Car Seat: My pediatrician recommended bringing our own car seat. After all, you don’t know where those rental car ones have been, although my first guess is probably in the back seat of a rental car.  Luckily, they make a special bag for the occasion, which I was able to borrow from a friend during a Big Trip to the Suburbs.  It was a lifesaver.  Car seats can be checked for free on United, so stuff that sucker full. Diapers, wipes, and the things that always takes up too much room in the suitcase so thusly I never bring them on vacation: running shoes.  Maybe I hate this car seat bag.
  • Pack and Play: Perhaps you remember my fondness for Ziploc baggies? They make one big enough to protect an entire foldable crib!!!!!!!

Things To Carry On:

  • Stroller: Get a gate check ticket and ride that thing to the plane door.
  • The Mom Tote: Wait, yours isn’t an oversized pink L.L. Bean customized “Oprah’s Book Club” tote bag circa the East of Eden re-launch, 2003? That’s weird. Mine sat in my closet for a decade– and finally, it was Big Pink Tote’s time to shine.  I spent a week stocking it with the following essentials:
  • Laptop
  • DVDs for laptop (Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street*)
  • Tiny child headphones I went to a special store for
  • Pre-chewed Board book, Posey’s fave
  • Talking Minnie Mouse, Posey’s other fave
  • Little plastic blocks to clackity-clack together, Posey’s other-other fave
  • 3 boxes of Horizon shelf-stable milk**
  • An entire tube of puffs
  • 3 baby food pouches
  • Enough wipes for the entire plane
  • A day’s worth of diapers
  • Baby B’Air toddler vest (Really? Really.)
  • 2 Cliff Bars, Gum & Goldfish***
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Bottled water

*I bought this to prepare her for the Sesame-land at Sea World, but instead I got a whole lotta Erykah Badu. I’m pretty sure there’s no Badu World. 

** These don’t count as liquid, so you can bring them through security as long as you consent to a pat down. Got that? Juice box = pat down. 

***So when Beef asks, “What do we have to eat?” there is food. And when he asks, “Do we have gum?” the answer is “yes.”

Dramatic re-enactment. But I was wearing those same jeans.

Dramatic re-enactment. But I was wearing those same jeans.

Our seats are in the very last row.  The kind that don’t recline back. Middle and window. Sweatpants on the aisle looks hungover and ready to nap. Posey starts to freak. I distract her with the board book and Hemisphere Magazine and the barf bag for just long enough until the momentum of take-off catches her fancy, at which point a bottle gets shoved into her maw to protect her ears from popping.  Once we’re up and see two girls go to the bathroom, we ask Sweatpants if we can get out to go change her already twelve-ton diaper. Two Mr. Meanie flight attendants to tell us to sit back down. Sweatpants lets us back in. The fleeciness of his pants makes him agile like a serpent. The seatbelt light dings off.  This time, Mr. Meanie says, “You know there’s no changing table on board this aircraft.” No prob. We change her in our seats and leave a little parting gift on board when we leave.  (For the return trip, I doubled up on diapers.  It worked; she survived.)

Back in our row, the Giant Business Man in front of me reclines his seat into Posey’s face. I don’t stop her from kicking the seat back for hours, because if it bothered him, he is welcome to move into the empty seat next to him that he’s using to keep his coat and newspaper. Strapped into her red vest that somehow makes me feel safer and better about life in general, Posey watches two and a half hours of Mickey Mouse until she falls asleep on my chest for the first time in about a year.  At first, it feels nice.  And then, she feels like a hot lava rock in my lap and I pray that the wet I feel is my sweat and not her pee. Beef enjoys watching Bradley Cooper pay the steepest of steep prices to pay in The Words.

Bad Writer!

Bad Writer!

When it’s time to land, my little traveler gets mad that there’s no Mickey to watch, so talking Minnie will have to do. And she does.

I wrestle with her down the aisle as we wait to de-plane from forty rows back, and I’m relieved to reunite with our stroller, which I’m pleased to say looks like it had a truly excellent time visiting the coal mine.

January 20th, 2013. 11:05 a.m.  San Diego International Airport.

“Well, that was easy,” Beef said, “because we prepared.”

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Why I Begrudgingly Call Anne Hathaway My Hero

anne

I’d like to tackle a truly polarizing topic: Anne Hathaway.

It’s very rare to come across a fairly cultured, in-the-know kind of person who actually likes her, and I include myself in that group.  If you’ve paid attention to her, her interviews, or her speeches over the last few years, you’ve probably noticed the following:

  1. She’s pretentious.
  2. She takes herself very seriously.
  3. She probably uses words like “brave” to describe acting.
"I was in the movie, too... you guys?"

“I was in the movie, too… you guys?”

In 2006, she was on Oprah, along with her Brokeback Mountain co-stars, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal.  During that interview, something struck me:  The other three were obviously very close-knit (and by “obviously,” I mean two of them had a baby together and the other one was named godfather).  Anne was the outsider– she wasn’t dark or deep or layered enough to fit in with their clique.  She probably watched Ugly Betty alone in her trailer with a pile of Jelly Bellies, while Heath, Michelle and Jake smoked and drank and talked about Jack Kerouac while playing Russian Roulette with a rusty knife for the duration of the shoot.  During that hour of daytime television, they weren’t mean to her, they didn’t ignore, her, but her whole being screamed, “Hey, what about me, guys?”

I can’t tell you how much that feeling resonates with me.  My grade school self, my high school self, my college self, my career self.

So what about her, guys?  A few years later, she’s on top of her career.  She’s alive.  She’s happily married.  She is a Golden Globe winner.  She will most likely be an Oscar winner in a few short weeks– all for a part that let her theatre geek nerd light shine, unapologetically (in a film that Beef would like to point out only got a 63 on metacritic).

She cut off her Princess Diaries hair.  She literally starved herself on lettuce leaves to look like she was dying.  She worked really, really hard, the way she wanted to– and it’s paying off for her.  She’s super happy and super proud of herself.  And she super should be.

And yet, if you Google “Anne Hathaway Annoying,” your computer will crash with a bajillion hits.  She’s still nobody’s darling.  I mean, “Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forever more use as a weapon against self-doubt”???  COME ON!  Nerd alert!   In fact, it is the very fact that I find Anne rather abrasive and self-important that I respect her so much.  F those Brokeback Mountain cool kids.  She did it on her terms and did what made her happy and didn’t care what anybody else said or did.

And that, my friends, is kinda brave.

anne-hathaway-les-miserables-golden-globes-workplace-ecards-someecards

Vote for Beef’s Band!

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For those of you who read regularly, you know that Beef is my husband.  He’s also the lead singer and guitarist of a cool band called Cassettes on Tape.  They’re in the running to be named Best Emerging Chicago Artists of 2012, so if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, please visit the voting site and click on the “VOTE HERE” (that’s really hard to find on the page– it’s above the list of nominated bands on the right side of the page.)

Thank you!

Important to note

family

I’m 34.  I’m married, have a baby, have a husband, have a household to maintain, have dreams and aspirations for myself and my family.

I’m self-sufficient.

I don’t suffer fools gladly.

I am great at wrapping gifts.

But at the end of the day, the thing that makes me the proudest…

Is that my mom and dad believe in me, and always will.

Up All Night

So, I’m kind of up all night over Up All Night.  If you don’t know what it is, it’s a TV show.  But not just any TV show– it’s a sitcom that started out with this premise: What happens when a former cool-girl daytime talk show producer has a baby and tries to juggle her work and family?  

I really wanted to know the answer to that question.  For personal reasons.  So did a lot of my co-workers.  In fact, when they released an over four-minute trailer for the show in anticipation of its premiere, we watched all four minutes and forty-two seconds.   That’s like an eternity in online video commitment.  We chuckled as our heroes, Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, grappled with their baby’s super human strength.  We howled over their “who slept less last night” fight.  We emailed it to each other.  We said, “This is gonna be so awesome.”

Then the show started.  It was okay.  It continued.  It was less okay.  And also, what about the TV show you people work at?  When does the fact that you work at a talk show and not a paper supply company, a late night sketch show or a diner factor in?  It didn’t– and then they got renewed for Season Two– by the skin of Maya Rudolph’s pretty teeth.

In Season Two, there was no more talk show.  So now, not only is this now just kind of a regular show about people, but it has effectively USED UP THE PREMISE for, oh, I don’t know– anyone else who might want to develop a show about working at a talk show.  It was sad.  Feelings were hurt.  I binge-ate uncooked spaghetti noodles.

For those of us who care, just adding Jack from Will & Grace playing “Older Jack” from Will & Grace and also a random brother aren’t the only changes.  The show’s switching to a multi-cam format, which means it’s now going to be “Taped In Front of a Live Studio Audience.”  Just like Two and a Half Men!  And Whitney!  Oy.

And then, there’s this news.  Series creator (and former SNL writer, so she’s kinda Liz Lemony) Emily Spivey is “departing.” And here I am, blogging about this show I don’t watch much any more and a woman I don’t know.  At midnight.  And this is why:  I feel like Up All Night is that friend you know deep down is so, so super-awesome, but she can’t get her act together and just keeps going down the same dead-end path and dating the same loser guys.  No, Sweet Friend, getting bangs or switching to a multi-cam format are NOT the answer– and now that Emily Spivey’s leaving, well, that’s pretty much like your own mom just gave up on you.  Whatever you do, Up All Night, don’t have another baby– that fixes nothing.

I only say this because I care.  And also, Happy 2013!