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I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tripping with Toddler

So, O. and I are back from our visit to Santa Fe. A trip that from the flatlands of central Illinois to the mountains of central New Mexico is bound to have its highs and lows, especially when you’re traveling alone with a three-year-old. So here are some high points and low points of my Spring Break Trip with Toddler.

Air travel high points:

  • Finding that O. is now able to amuse himself for almost the entire duration of a lengthy flight, allowing me to read my own book for most of the flight on both flights out and back, with only occasional breaks to read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel aloud. On the flights out I read Kay Ryan’s Niagra River. (Ryan is the perfect poet to read on a plane. Her poems are like bon bons, small and pleasantly dense.) On the flights home I read most of Nicholson Baker’s Vox, a novel in the form of an extended session of phone sex. (Vox is funny and readable. At first I was surprised by how unsexy it was, given the premise, but as it developed I began to find parts of it quite sexy in some strange and endearingly dorky ways.)

  • Watching our short, stubble-faced steward grimace and make strange, humming noises while demonstrating the plane’s safety features. For some reason I was the only person on the packed plane who laughed at the muffled mouth sounds accompanying each of his movements as he donned the sample oxygen mask and tightened its straps.

Air travel low points:

  • Being privy to a painful extended conversation between an unwilling participant and a relentless blabbermouth across the aisle from us. The scruffy college dude’s body language (turning his entire torso away from his chatty neighbor and toward the window) and complete reticence unless pressed to answer a specific question sent a clear message that the clean-scrubbed and insistently bubbly woman talking his ear off seemed unwilling to receive.

  • Lunching with a screaming banshee during a three-hour layover in Denver on the trip home. Although O. was unbelievably well behaved on both flights there and back (prompting one nearby passenger to exaggeratedly mouth the words “he’s so good!” to me as we exited the plane), he decided to throw a full-on, unremitting fit the moment the food arrived at the sit-down airport bistro I chose in a moment of overconfidence. When it became clear that this was a don’t-you-dare-try-to-reason-with-me kind of fit, I attempted every strategy of compromise and containment I could think of, with no success. Finally I removed all food and utensils from his reach and let him continue to shriek convulsively as I sat back calmly munching down my pesto panini, thanking Christ that I’d never see any of the bistro’s other patrons ever again.

Incidentally, O. sacked out in a tear-streaked nap in his stroller immediately after the lunch debacle, and I promptly bought and ate the ice cream I’d promised to get him if he “had a good lunch.” When he woke up, he happily ate the spaghetti that had caused him so much consternation at the bistro and proceeded to charm the pants off the guy sitting next to us at our gate. Toddler, thy name is Jekyll and Hyde.

I was going to make a list of the high and low points of the actual visit with my friend K. in Santa Fe, but I find that in fact there were no low points. Santa Fe is beautiful, and so are the surrounding mountains and high desert. It was lovely to see my dear old friend again, and O. bonded with her immediately. He began talking her ear off as soon as she picked us up at the airport and by the time we had the car seat installed in her car in the airport parking lot, he was saying “K, I love you,” a sentiment which warmed my heart entirely. K. and I mused later on what might account for his taking to her so quickly, whether it was some memory of the last time he saw her (when he was only fifteen months old) or an intuitive sense of how important she is to me. Whatever the reason, it was wonderful to witness the little person I love most in all the world take so strongly to another person I love dearly. It made the fourteen hours we spent in cars, planes, and airports yesterday more than worth the trouble.

On another note entirely, do you find it irritating that this here brown floral template (which I chose because it reminded me of Jane Austen and I was teaching Emma at the time) uses flowers for bullets in lists? I do. That's a bit too fucking cute. Weigh in, if you would. And have a lovely day, and an excellent Spring Break, if you're lucky enough to have one.


Blogger Orange said...

The problem with the template is that I used to read another blog with this template, and it (the blog) really got on my nerves. It gives me a little unpleasantness, like when you taste hot dog again three hours later in a burp.

By the way, I loved your horrifying poem! I laughed aloud all the way through it!

9:35 PM  
Blogger DoctorMama said...

Horrifying poem? Did I miss something?

Yeah, I agree with you, the flowers are a bit too cute. But if you change templates, don't go to a black background/white letters -- that looks really cool, but strains my poor old eyes.

You read BOOKS on a PLANE? That settles it -- no more infants for me. HellBoy was "good" on a recent flight, which means "neither screamed like the undead the whole flight nor re-broke my nose."

7:37 AM  
Blogger DoctorMama said...

OK, found the poem. Ha!

7:41 AM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

What? No black background/white letters? Heresy! [Actually, it sometimes hurts my eyes too, but that's not the kind of pain that bothers me]. Whoo! Spring Break!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

The flowers fit the 'theme', but it's pretty girly. I'm not a girly-girl, I'd love bullet points that looked like actual bullets, or a disembodied arm pointing, or something.

Last book I read on a plane was full of sex. Gay sex. I read it practically closed up the entire time.

11:29 AM  
Blogger E. said...

Mmmm... books with gay sex. Yeah, my book had the word "erotic" in a fairly large blurb on the cover, and I did wonder if my neighbors noticed. Especially since I was travelling with a bambino. But if they did notice, do I really care?

The template question is still up in the air. I'm likely to keep it out of sheer laziness. But if I change, I won't go white on black. I wouldn't want to feel pressure to live up to two of the funniest and most well written blogs in the world, both of which have black backgrounds with white letters. (I speak of Gone Feral and The Assimilated Negro.)

12:36 PM  

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