Friday, March 13, 2009

Charlie at 3 years old.

That's a cute little guy you say.

Yes, he was cute. And funny. And precious. And adorable.

He still is.

Why am I showing you this? Because Charlie is the key figure in a story that I may have told many of you, or all of you, cuz I forget what I tell to who.
Possibly because I talk too much and think people are way more interested in what I have to say than they really are.

Admittedly I'm a tad narcissistic, why else would I have a blog?

What was I talking about?

Oh yes, my story, which you have probably already heard.

When I was 6 months pregnant with Anne Marie,oh, about 6 years ago now, we were still living in Rhode Island.

Plane trips home to Washington only happened about once a year because they were
A. Expensive and
B. Not fun

However, around the 2nd trimester of my 4th pregnancy, I decided it was time to go home. cuz I'm crazy like that.

Actually, it's because my mom and sister had come out to Rhode Island to visit and then me and the kids flew back with them to Washington. So I figured I only had to go it alone one direction.

At the time of travel, Charlie was 15 months old. A time of fun and cuteness and bliss with most toddlers.

The same was true with long as you didn't try and tell him he had to sit in one place for more than 30 seconds.

But with Grandma and aunt Maile to help, and a healthy dose of Benadryl, the trip from RI to WA was pretty ok.

While in Washington for our 3 week visit (you have to get the most out of 1200 dollars spent on plane tickets), Charlie learned that he could scream.

And I don't mean scream cuz your foot just got rolled over by a tractor or you saw a scorpion in your bed. That would be acceptable.

I mean scream for no apparent reason simply because you can.
I mean scream like a seagull being sat upon.
I mean scream like the teapot someone left on the stove.
I mean scream like you have a death wish because someone will surely throttle you if you don't shut up!

Yes, Charlie had found his voice, right before I travelled back to RI with 3 children under 6 and being large with child.

And in case you were wondering, it is 7 hours in the air plus switching planes at some gigantic HUB in Cincinnati, or Chicago. Somewhere BIG.

Knowing I was about to embark on such a journey, I purchased a massive bag of Dum Dums. I figured I could keep his mouth busy with lollipops enough that he wouldn't scream. HA!

As we settled into our seats, and I strapped Charlie into his FAA approved carseat, he quickly realized that he was unable to move.

In a car that's fine cuz you can see out the windows, not so much in an airplane.

He began to cry, and then to whine, and then to wail at the top of his lungs, until finally the only sound coming out was his now signature high pitch scream.

What's a mother to do?

So as fast as you can say sugar rush I began cramming lollipop after lollipop in his hands. Pretty soon, he would cry just seeing the lollipop coming.

I then attempted to stroke his head, tell him it was ok, to which he would respond by smacking me and crying more.

As desperation settled in on me, I knew that I could at least change it up a bit. If I could get him to cry instead of scream, at least our ears could stop bleeding for a few blissful moments.

So I pinched him.

I know, I know, gasp, shock, how could you, etc.

Desperate times my friends.

After all the huffing and sighs from those around me, the evil glares from the people across the aisle and the stewardess telling me my child was disturbing others and could I please try to calm him down, I lost all grip on good parenting.

At one point I even attempted to stand up with Charlie just to change the scenery. But at 15 months old he was already 32 pounds, and I was 6 months pregnant, that didn't last long.
So, in a last ditch effort,I pinched my child, he cried for 30 seconds, and then began to scream again.

But what a blissful 30 seconds it was.

In fact, it relaxed me enough that at one point I even fell asleep with him screaming. I liken it to falling asleep between contractions while your in labor, your body just gives up for a few minutes from the fatigue.

Now of course there are always the really nice people on the plane, and the really nasty people.

This wonderful couple in front of me had their own perfect little child who didn't make a peep, yet they were full of encouraging smiles and nice words to me.

The nastiness came from the blonde girl behind me on the second leg of the trip.

She huffed and sighed and turned the volume up on her headphones.

But the kicker came as we were getting off the plane.

A rather decent gentlemen remarked "Poor kid, I bet he's glad to get off the plane"
See, there are nice people out there.

Blondie however, decided to voice how she really felt, loud enough for me to hear.

"Yeah, well, he like screamed like, the whole way, I totally thought it would like, never stop, blah blah blah"
(I added valley girl speak for emphasis on how annoying she was)
Now of course a person's gut reaction is to retaliate. To say something like "Hey, you little skank, would you have rather been you or me during this trip?" Or, "didn't your mother ever tell you that if you can't say something nice than to shut your trap?!!"

You know, things like that.

However, something about her made me hold my tongue and just smile.

What could it be you ask? What could have kept my sharp rebuke from exploding out of me while slapping her silly?

Well, you see, she was 7 months pregnant.

With her first child.

And my restraint was not due to her "fragile" condition or even respect for another pregnant woman.

No. I realized in a split second that one day this woman's child would be throwing his or her first fit.

The kind of fit where you hope the ground swallows you up because you are so mortified. Mortified that all the parenting books you read and bad examples you carefully remembered to avoid and all of your own self assurances of "my child will NEVER do that" have failed you and now your 3 year old is writhing on the ground and screaming because they wanted pink instead of blue, or no nuts instead of nuts.

At that moment, she will remember me on the plane, pregnant, my 2 sweet girls and one screaming little boy, my kind knowing smile,and wish that she could go back and be nicer to me.

Compared with that, there was nothing I could have said that would have been a stronger teacher or slap in the face.

So here's to blonde girl and all others like her.

May you have your own children to scream, barf, throw tantrums and pee their pants in public.

To which I will say "Welcome to the club."

(And by the way, this is my 100th post. Yay!)


  1. 100! Yeah!!! LOVE that story. Heard it before, but could certainly hear it again. Aaaaand, myyyyyy children would never behave that way! Hmph! What a bad mother you are. (hardy, har, har) Love ya.

  2. I love it. Though probably not so rude, weren't we all so blissfully ignorant, naive and optimistic during that first pregnancy? I applaud your restraint. I remember Charlie's screams in church! (probably not what you wanted to hear)

    This story reminds me of our first trip to Russel's story-time at the library. On our way out I'm trying to hold Tucker in the car seat, the craft Russel made, some library books, the diaper bag AND trying to corral Russel...

    I think I'll blog about it actually, so I'll save you from reading the ending twice!

  3. 100th post--yay!! How exciting!
    I can totally relate to your story,!


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