We spent the first few hours at the Salt Lake Airport playing at the “playground,” which in this case was just an area with a bunch of blocks and toys. Whoever invented such a space should be awarded a Nobel prize.
This was the first time in quite a few weeks that Rachel has had both room to play and toys to play with. Our house has been cluttered with boxes and her toys have slowly been disappearing, which was quite distressing to her.
(Side story) At one point in my packing, Rachel got out a box of her own, put one of her favorite books, I love trains, inside, along with some of her favorite toys. Then she closed the lid of the box, sat down, and started to cry. It was as if she was saying, “Fine, mom! Just get rid of it all!” It was so sad. I assured her she could take her favorite toys with us and unpacked them for her. It’s been difficult to watch her be so stressed out about everything.
So it was nice to be able to just let her play. No one was crying. No one was trying to hold her. No one was telling her to “not touch” or that she was in the way. She just played her little heart out.
She went on several walks to the drinking fountain and looked at the planes on the way. I think that she finally understood, in her own little way, what an airplane was. We talked about them a lot. She likes to look at them when they’re in the sky. She’ll point at them and get all excited, but they really look quite a bit different from the ground. They’re huge!
We told her that we were going to go on one and fly away. She watched them take off and waved bye-bye to them. At least she understood that they were going away. (We spent the drive to Grandma’s house saying bye-bye to everything: the house, the trees, the mountains, they playground, Target, the library, Macey’s, etc.) So she knew we were going to get on an airplane and go bye-bye.
She was so excited when we were boarding. Daddy told her she could touch the plane, so she did, just as we were going through the doors. She quickly made friends with the seatmates in front and behind us and then settled in for the ride.
She was the best baby! She’d been up since around 5:45 AM, so she just nursed while we were taking off and fell asleep for almost an hour. When she woke up, she spent her time looking out the window and playing with some of the toys we’d brought for her. She colored pictures and read books and played peek-a-boo with the lady behind us. She was a great baby.
We hit some turbulence just before landing in Chicago. Rachel thought it was the ride of her life! She was giggling out of control and clapping her hands. When we’d get steady again she’d bop back and forth, which means that she wants to do it again/go faster. We’d hit some more turbulence and she’d dissolved into a fit of giggles. She had everyone around us laughing, too.
While we were taxi-ing, Andrew and I made a game plan for our arrival. We knew Chicago was going to be tricky. It always seems to be tricky.
When we flew to Jordan I remember running through the airport, lugging my suitcase, and almost crying. We barely made it onto the plane.
This would be dejavu. We had only a half hour to gather our things and catch our flight. And we didn’t even have our tickets yet!
We decided that Andrew would grab all the carry on bags, and I would take Rachel and the diaper bag. We raced off the plane, opened up her jogging stroller, threw her in it (ignoring her temper tantrum) and made a break for it. We had to go from terminal 2 to terminal 1 so we had to use the underground passageway. We ignored the moving sidewalks and just ran through, passing everyone.
When we resurfaced at terminal 1, they were just paging our plane. We barreled down the hall towards our gate, B16, and immediately got in line for our boarding passes.
That was a headache. Apparently we were supposed to exit the secured area of the airport, go to the Lufthansa desk, have them issue our tickets, go back through security, and then find our gate.
We didn’t have time to do that, so the guy at the desk just gave us our boarding passes and told us to cut it front of everyone else because we had a baby. We did that, but then weren’t allowed on the plane because we didn’t have tickets. So we waited, letting everyone we had just cut in front of go in front of us, while he looked up our ticket numbers.
When we got back in line and handed them our information they still wouldn’t let us on because our stroller wasn’t tagged properly.
Breathlessly, we entered the plane. I swear we were almost the last three people on, but I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered if we were the last few on the plane as long as we got on the plane, which we did.
After taking off, a flight attendant asked the lady in the seat beside us to move to a different seat so that Rachel could have her own seat. We couldn’t have been happier, especially since Rachel decided that this was a party plane.
I don’t really know where she got that idea since the lights were off and everyone was trying to sleep… Rachel entertained herself by climbing from mom, across the open seat to dad, and back again; playing a variation of tag with the people sitting behind us where she’d stick her arm out on either side or above the chair and they’d “try” to grab it; eating; playing with her toys; etc.
The only nap she took on the plane was after one of two horrific experiences in which she turned into a fountain of poop. Right during dinner. It was just cascading down her legs, so Andrew had to take her to the restroom, while I sponged myself off with baby wipes, maneuvering around the carts of food and showing off our disgusting baby to everyone trying to eat their meals. When he got to the restroom, he realized that he didn’t have the baby wipes because I was using them to clean off my lap. He also chose a stall without a baby changing table, so he balanced Rachel on the toilet seat (gross) and used wet toilet paper to sponge her off.
While he was back there the plane got a little bumpy and Rachel fell off the toilet seat and her head got wedged between the toilet and the counter. I could hear her screaming and we were like 10 rows away from the restrooms!
He shoved her clothes in a motion sickness bag and brought them back to me and then we sponged Rachel off with some baby wipes. I nursed her, and she fell asleep…for twenty minutes.
Then she was up and at it again. The whole night long. Fortunately she was happy, for the most part, and the only other horrific experience was when laughed so hard she threw up. And she had eaten a lot. Like 2 bottles of juice and some milk and…a lot. (Ew. But much better than incident #1).
The flight wasn’t really that bad. Just long and unrestful. In the morning when they were serving breakfast, I was nursing Rachel when the flight attendant walked by.
“Is she finally sleeping?” she whispered.
I laughed and shook my head no when Rachel stuck her little hand out from under the blanket and gave a little wave.
She fell asleep for the last half hour of the flight and was awake the whole time we were in the Frankfurt airport, still relatively happy.
Boarding our last flight went off without a hitch. We had three hours to make that flight, so we weren’t really worried about it. They gave Rachel a coloring book and some pencil crayons soon after we were seated and she wanted to use them right away. I opened them up and let her color for a while. Soon I tried to convince her that she needed to sleep. I needed to sleep.
Daddy got the most sleep out of anybody, I think. Rachel was fine to let Daddy sleep while Mommy played with her, but if Mommy tried to sleep, she kept getting poked/hugged/etc. by Rachel, who always wanted Mommy to see what she was doing.
(As Daddy explained to Rachel this morning (at 6 AM) while I was napping, “You can play with Mommy not watching. It’s okay.”)
The only way I was going to get to sleep was if Rachel was, too. I tried to take the pencil crayons away and she valiantly fought against me. Many tears were shed on her part, but she fell asleep like 5 minutes later and slept, seriously, through the whole flight. That’s 4 hours. 4 glorious hours.
Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep because the seats were uncomfortable and I couldn’t put it back for some reason and Andrew was already asleep so he couldn’t help me and I had a hot, sweaty baby on me…but at least she slept!
Which is what I’m going to go do right now. Tune in next time to hear about how Rachel becomes a victim of her own stubbornness.