Mornings with Children | Day 18

DAY 18


Something that smells like rotten horse flesh hits my nose and I’m suddenly certain that one of my kids needs to be changed.  WIth the twins you sort of have to eyeball them as they run and try to guess by the way they walk.  If they’re hiding it well, you just have to dig in and get the visual confirmation.

I grab my daughter as she runs by me and I don’t even have to ask.  It’s her.  She smells like carrots left in the sun.  She smells like a garbage disposal.  She smells like New Jersey.

I go find the diaper and wipes – a father’s utility belt – and clear out some clean space on the floor.  As soon as my son sees me lie my daughter on the ground he comes over, stands above her, squishes up his face and says, “Ew!” and I can only assume he has learned this from me when asking him not to touch the dirty diaper.  He points again, “Ew!”

I take off her pants and peel off the sticky diaper and, “Ew!” and I say, “Yes.  That’s right, buddy.  Ew.  That’s icky, isn’t it?” and he thrusts his finger at her accusingly and goes, “EW!”

I pull out a few wipes and start to clean house.  I’ve seen a lot of nasty diapers and honestly this one isn’t so–“EEEWWW!!”  I say, “Yep.  It’s ‘ew’ alright.  But we’re–” “EEEWWW!

I say to him, “Okay, now I think you might just be overreacting.  It’s really not that–”  “EW!  EW!  EW!!”  He points his finger over and over again.  He is now the judging finger of God, lightning striking from his hand.  “EW!  EW!  EWWWWW!!!“.

“Alright, buddy.  That’s really enough.  We’re almost done.  There’s not even any poop left.  We just have to put a clean diaper on.”  He squats down next to the crumbled up dirty diaper and just starts hammering into this thing, sure not to touch it, “EW!  EW!  EW!!!………EW!!”

I finish dressing my daughter and ask my son if he’d like to throw the diaper away.  This is a game he loves; throwing things away.  I point to the trash can waaaay on the other side of this enormous reception hall we’re in and I say, “Way over there!  Can you go throw this away?” and he says, “Ew,” but I think it was an affirmative, as he grabs the old-nasty and races towards the trash.



The day after my sister’s wedding, drunk from lack of sleep and draped in a thick blanket of physical exhaustion, we’re all finally boarding the second of two flights to get back home.  My wife takes my son because she has this weird snake charming thing she does that soothes him into a state of sleepy vulnerability.  Across the aisle from them, my daughter sits on my lap and I can already tell is not real happy about how this day is shaping up.  I tell her that we’re almost home, which is a bold faced lie because we’re still three hours and 1,500 miles out.

Just as I get her comfortable and just as she starts to slowly fade out to sleep, some noisy hispanic lady comes barreling down the aisle, bumping into people and shouting at the stewards to get her a new seat in the middle of the plane because “she wants it”.  This lady, along with some second rate Minor League Baseball player, is my seat mate.  It’s true what they say; you can’t pick your family and you can’t pick your airplane buddy.

Before the flight even takes off, one of the stewards comes over to the hispanic woman and says, “Hey!  I remember you!  I remember when you flew out.  Now, we’re not going to have any problems, right?” and she says, “What?!  Me?!  NO WAY!” and he says, “Because you were drunk.  Really drunk.  You were crazy.”  He’s talking to her so openly that I have to wonder if they know each other on a more sociable level.  Either way, I’m certain that every word out of his mouth is complete gospel.

The plane takes off and the hispanic woman and the sort-of baseball player both immediately order drinks.  She gets a vodka and ginger ale and he gets a vodka and sprite.  She hands the steward her card and says, regarding the baseball player that is sitting in row 30, behind the toilets with the rest of us that, “He’ll get the next round”.

Great.  ROUNDS.  As in, many turns.  I’m having a difficult time listening to this woman completely sober so it doesn’t take me long to decide how I’ll probably feel once she’s finally slurring all over me.

My daughter finally goes to sleep and the baseball player pulls out his laptop and goes, “You wanna watch a MOVIE?!”  Just like that.  He says it like he’s six and he’s talking to his little buddy at their sleepover.  “What’chyoo wanna do?”  “I don’t know.  You wanna watch a MOVIE?!”  He pulls out his laptop and they try to decide which film to watch.  He recommends Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp or Safe House starring “Denzel”.  He says it like that too.  Just one name.  “It stars Denzel“.

The drunk hispanic lady goes, “I like Transformers” and he says, “I don’t have Transformers” and she says, “Fine, what about Safe House?” and then she leans over and looks at my sleeping daughter and says, “There’s a baby.  Can we watch this with a baby?” and the guy goes, “It’ll be okay” and then he turns on his movie and turns the volume up as loud as it will go.  I want to accidentally open the emergency exit doors and accidentally throw the laptop out of the plane but the handle is out of my reach.

For the rest of the flight they are both loud and horrible.  They drink and they shift around and the guy keeps sticking his elbow into my personal space and talking about how tall he is.  “I was like, ‘I’m 6’5, bro.'”  That’s the punchline to all of his terrible stories.  “C’mon.  I’m 6’5, bro!”

Quinn, blessedly, is still passed out and it is nothing short of a miracle of God.  I’m so tired and I just want her to sleep so I can relax and pretend to sleep, even though it is a scientific impossibility to do so on an airplane if you are over the age of 11.

The flight is getting ready to begin it’s descent; we should be on the ground in roughly 30 minutes.  Some Voice comes over the loud speakers and says that you need to stay in your seat now, buckle up, etc. and so the lady says to the guy, “I need to get up.  I need to put this laptop away,” and the guy turns to me and says, “She needs to get up,” and she pokes her head around him like a cartoon character and says again, “I need to get up and put my laptop away,” and I just gently tap Quinn’s back, as I have been doing for two and a half hours, trying to soothe her through all of their loud and obnoxious noise making shenanigans.  I realize there is still 30 minutes left of this flight and I realize that I don’t want my daughter to wake up and scream and deal with her ears popping and I realize that she will wake up if I have to stand up and let this lady out.  I also realize that every person on the back half of the plane would thank me and shake my hand if I could make my daughter stay asleep for this midnight flight in.  The drunk lady repeats herself, “I gotta get up.  I gotta put this away,” and I calmly look her straight in the eyes and I just gently shake my head back and forth a few times and I say, “No.  Put it under your seat,” and then I shut my eyes, ending the conversation.

Quinn slept.  Everyone was happy.  Baby girl, I got your back.

2 thoughts on “Mornings with Children | Day 18

  1. jena42 says:

    I love it. People really don’t know how lucky they are when a child is sleeping thru a flight. The alternative can be really ugly.

    I will never forget (or forgive) the flight attendant who decided to SLAM the overhead compartment right over our heads on our flight home to Philly from Miami, while my 15mo old son was sleeping in my arms. As she slammed the door, my son startled awake and began to scream. He screamed the entire flight home, thru exiting the plane, thru the baggage claim area, and in the cab ride home from the airport. All because I dared to ask for a pillow for my sleeping baby. Which they didn’t have.

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