I'm back! Jack and I had a very fun and wonderful visit with his Auntie, Uncle and cousin. There were a few wrinkles, of course. Issues? When travelling with a preschooler? You don't say!
The trip started out very well. I was so relaxed that by the time Jack and I wandered through security, grabbed a snack, played in the kids play area and meandered to our gate, the last few people were boarding the plane. Oops. So much for pre-boarding. We may have been the last two on the plane. Our seats were, of course, at the very back. I arrived with my hands full, looking slightly mystified, when a hand reached out to grab my tea. Why, thank-you kind stewardess! Maybe a minute after I got all of our stuff stowed and Jack and I settled into our seats, we were backing away from the terminal. That worked out pretty well actually. Who wants to be on an airplane any longer than is absolutely necessary? The flight went well until the very end when all of the electronics had to be turned off and stowed. From then until we landed and deplaned, Jack screamed "iPAD, iPAD, iPAAAD!!!!!!" at the top of his lungs. I was very glad to be at the back of the plane. The funniest part of that experience was the pilot saying, "I think someone needs a WestJet spanking!" (Since I can't convey the perfect timing and delivery of that line, you'll just have to trust me that it was hilarious rather than creepy.)
Jack had a nap in the car on the way back to Auntie's house. When I eventually woke him an hour and a half later and pulled him from the car, he had a major meltdown. I can't blame him really. He woke up in a strange place, tired and probably missing his home and his dad. Anyway, Auntie had some fabulous toys for Jack and a really comfy bed, and within a short time all was well again. The time change was a challenge for Jack, and ultimately for me too. We were up at 5:00 am every day. Apart from being in a bit of a sleep-deprived fog that I'm beginning to think of as a natural motherhood state, the rest of the visit was lots of fun.
The trip home was exciting. We got to the airport a little early and sat with Cookie's Aunt to have a bite to eat. We said our goodbyes and made our way through security without any trouble. We arrived at our gate expecting them to start pre-boarding right away, but instead were greeted by a somber looking crowd. I could tell something wasn't right, and then I heard the word "delayed" from one of the other passengers. Apparently there were mechanical problems with our plane which hadn't arrived yet. It was already past Jack's bedtime and we had been up since 5:00 am.
Time to make the best of a bad situation. I plugged in the iPad and let Jack watch a movie. About two hours later than scheduled we boarded the plane. Then we sat waiting for the wings to be deiced for at least another half an hour. It was somewhere in that waiting period, with the seatbelt sign lit and seatbelts securely fastened, that Jack informed me he had to go pee. I told him he needed to wait until we were up in the air, but I knew that would not go over well. I also had no indication of how much longer we were going to be sitting there. I rang the assistance bell, and got the stewardesses' attention. Luckily we were just a few rows from the front so I could have a little chat with them. I asked, "Can he go to the bathroom?" Heads furiously indicated, No. "Well, just so you know it may happen right here," I say, pointing down at Jack's seat. That created some movement. One stewardess called up to the captain and the next thing you know she's nodding and the guy in the aisle beside me is jumping out of our way. Phew. Crisis averted.
Once finally in the air, Jack laid down on his seat, legs across my lap and head on my coat, and fell asleep. I watched Just For Laughs and then some discussion about our upcoming election - it's debatable which was more comical - and played Angry Birds on the iPad. Life was good for a few hours, and then... there was the descent.
I woke Jack up and wrestled him into his seatbelt. He was none too happy about that. From then on, through the descent, deplaning, picking up luggage, getting in to the car, driving home, getting into the house and going to bed he railed and screamed. On the descent he screamed, "Take it off! Take it off, NOW!! Out! Out! Out! iPAAAD!" on a continuous loop. He wouldn't let me put his shoes on and wouldn't walk off the plane, so there I was; camera bag, purse, my backpack, Jack's backpack, coats, and a precariously carried and screaming preschooler, struggling off the plane to the happy sounds of stewardesses chanting "Goodnight! Thanks for travelling with WestJet!"
Just outside the plane everything, including the preschooler, fell to the ground while I opened the stroller and then secured the screaming preschooler in it. The captain - possibly (it's all a bit of a blur) - opened up a bag and pulled out some stickers. He kindly offered some to Jack who screamed even louder. I said, "I don't think much is going to work right now. It's very late for him." "It's very late for all of us," he said. Well, that was no lie. I had stopped bothering to check the time a while back, but it was somewhere around midnight at this point.
Jack screamed the whole length of the airport about wanting to get back on the plane. Why did no one ever warn me about opposite land? By the way, it's quite possible that your child will, at some point, likely between the 3rd and 4th birthday, begin to request the opposite of what is currently happening which is also the opposite of what he wanted 30 seconds earlier. Despite your rationalizations that the child is not doing it to drive you crazy, it will. Next, we ceremoniously appeared through the doors of the waiting area to greet Jack's dad with more screaming. We collected our suitcase and wrangled Jack into his carseat. The driving refrain was "SHOES! I want my SHOES! Give me my SHOES!!!!! I NEED my SHOES! Please.... can I have my shoes?"
We finally arrived home, Jack still shoeless, at about 1:30 am. Jack was so overtired that it took us a while to settle him. In the house he screamed, "I don't want to go to bed! I want to go out somewhere! I'm... yawn... not.... yawn... tired!" He finally said "Mommy, I want to brush my teeth." After being allowed to do that by himself with the door to the bathroom closed and no help as requested, he came back to his bedroom and I gave him a big hug. I said "I love you so much, Jack." And then he laid down and said "Yes, I love YOU so much TOO!" He was asleep within a couple of minutes.
What an adventure!