EVENT 1 – BOY
I write this from the furthest, farthest, deepest seat in a minivan chugging down I-29, having just left Omaha, Nebraska. My little sister is getting married this coming Saturday and we’re in town for the wedding, which I am exceptionally excited for… and rightly so. I love weddings; family, fun, dancing. It’s fantastic. The thing, however, that I am not excited about is our two connecting flights back to Los Angeles.
I remember a time when flying simply meant sitting in a chair that was two sizes too small next to someone that stunk for 3 1/2 hours. No biggie, though. In that regard it was much like watching a milk tasting contest at the 4H county fair, minus the cotton candy. But you figure, “Oh, well. I might be uncomfortable but at least I can read a book or listen to some music or, at the very least, sleep.
And then your children are born and the first time someone mentions the words, “Baby” and “Plane” to you in the same sentence, your nipples invert and your pancreatic fluids dry up in a frenzy of raw horror.
Today was the third time flying with the kids and, just in case you were wondering, there was no reading. There was no music. There was no sleeping. There was simply thrashing and screaming and fits of demon possession and torment from my son.
He throws himself from my lap and lays in the aisle of the plane, releasing a banshee’s squeal. A couple people in my peripheral glance over… more choose to ignore it, being kind enough to pretend that they aren’t wondering if someone is slaughtering a hog in row 29.
I pick him up and wander the aisles with him for a bit, trying to satiate his need for… what? Food Comfort? I look up and realize that everyone on the plane is staring at me like, “Who’s the crazy guy with the kid? Did he find that kid in the jungle? I bet he did. That kid acts like he was raised in the jungle. By wolves. That had the rabies.”.
Meanwhile, my daughter sits on my wife’s lap, sleeping soundly, completely passed out, looking like a cherub.
This is my son. This is just the noise that he makes. After traversing the cabin for the better part of 20 minutes, we make our way back to our seats and my wife whispers, “Do you want to switch for a bit?”
Deus ex machina. She’s a true Godsend.
I set Rory on the carpet and he rolls over onto his stomach and just starts punching and clawing at the floor like a possum trying to get into roadkill. Jade passes our sleeping daughter to me and I’m so excited that I’m going to be able to sleep when… she opens her eyes and begins to wail. “WHY HAVE YOU AWAKEN ME FROM MY SLUMBER! I AM THE DRAGON! FIRST OF MY NAME AND LAST OF MY KIND! PREPARE! TO FACE! MY WRAAAATH!!” And everyone is looking at me again like, “Good job Idiot-Dad. Now we’ve got the double deucer to contend with”.
The plane finally lands in Denver. We get lost in the airport for 15 minutes before stumbling upon our terminal. Only one more hour and a half plane flight before we’re home.
EVENT 2 – GIRL
I remember when I was younger, it would make me really uncomfortable when some dude would bring his daughter into the men’s public restroom. It didn’t matter how old she was. If she was advanced enough to walk, she was advanced enough to make me shudder. I’d stare at the tile wall in front of me and bite my cheek, trying to force the moment to pass. The worse was when she’d speak, “Daddy, blah blah blah” AH! My spout would dry up like a desert oasis and I’d be unable to proceed. I’d hazard a glance over my shoulder, almost daring myself to get a glance at this mini-monster. They were always different; blondes, redheads; brunettes. But it didn’t matter.
I’d watch The Dad take The Daughter into the stall and I’d always wonder, “What goes on in there? Those stalls are so tiny. Is he going to the bathroom? Is she? How does she not fall in? Where is everyone standing?” These questions and more I had… and they were all answered today in the Denver International Airport.
Our plane from Los Angeles to Denver slams down early and our connecting flight from Denver to Omaha is leaving early so we’ve only got a very small window of time to find our terminal / eat / use the bathroom. Sure, I could always use the restroom on the plane but… I don’t know. I have what some may call “issues” of “phobias”. I don’t like to pee on airplanes. It’s not the scary flushing device that feels like it’s going to pull you through the drain or the way everything closes in on you until you can’t tell which wall the door was on. I think it’s primarily that I associate them with flying outhouses… a conversation that is neither here nor there.
So passing through Denver’s Airport, which, incidentally, is my all time favorite airport, I’ve gotta pee. I’ve got The Girl on my shoulders and I just think to myself, “Maybe it’s time to see what this fear looks like from the other end of the stick.”
Quinn and I walk into the crowded bathroom and it definitely feels like she’s getting unfriendly eyeballs from roughly 2 our of every 3 men. I hold her hand tight, praying that she doesn’t touch anything and get syphilis. My first reaction is to step up to the urinal and just tell her to “stay” like a bipedal golden retriever but I quickly shake awake from my stupidity as I imagine her twirling in circles in the center of the floor and then tugging on some stranger’s leg while he’s trying to drain the main vein and saying, “HI!”.
We hit the stall and she doesn’t have to pee so it makes our first foray into this “Toddler in the Bathroom” thing a slightly easier transition. I set her on the floor and lock the door and she immediately begins trying to open it. I say, “Just hang on. Hang on”. Sometimes I do this “game” where I try to just get them to stand still while I finish whatever it is I’m trying to do.
It’s definitely crowded so I’m sort of shuffling to twist my body around and, Instead of “hanging on” she walks over and places her hand on the toilet seat and I scream. It’s a high pitched squeal; the sort of noise that would probably come out of Fran Drescher if someone poked her unexpectedly with a needle. “EEK!” I grab her wrist while I’m still peeing and go, “NO! NO! ICKY!” and who knows what everyone else in the bathroom is thinking.
I’m sure there’s some kid out there, staring straight ahead at the wall wondering just what is going on in here.