Wed 25 Apr 2007
from the underworld? hell, no.
this dispatch is coming to you from a suite in the Hilton Metropol, hop skip and jump from Paddington Station, London.
some of us have come up in the world. :)
we’re here. the sky is dreary and the skyline is ahump with Victorian brick chimneys and i am tired in that strange, shaky way that makes your eyes ache, but we are all three safe and present and accounted for and none too worse for wear.
and wiser. the adult-types among us, at least. much wiser.
i really had no idea what to expect from international travel with a one-year-old whose longest journey until yesterday had been the four hour drive to Grandmaman and Grandpapa’s. i quaked inside. i planned, and organized, and badgered Air Canada with questions until i actually felt sorry for them, which is probably a first in their customer relations history. i felt i’d prepared for all contingencies as best i could. and secretly, inside, below the panic, i really thought O would be fine. he’s a hardy little soul, and pretty adaptable. he’s unhappy? you feed him, nurse him, or give him a drink, and suddenly all is contentment in the land. he’s fussy? give him a toy, or a cup with a piece of crumpled paper to put in and take out, he’s agiggle. he’s Pooh Bear, basically. our own lovable Pooh Bear.
but he does not like to be held. he is a sweet, even snuggly, but essentially independent Pooh Bear.
note to all parents considering travel with their young offspring and too cheap to actually buy the child his or her own thousand-dollar seat: remember to factor your child’s tolerance for extended human lap proximity into your decision. i know to mention this, because we, um, didn’t.
i didn’t think it would be a problem. i’ve continued nursing O, morning and night, for the last three months mostly in this anticipation of this trip. i love the skin to skinness of breastfeeding him, and the extra few minutes of quiet horizontitude it gives me in the morning, sure, but i would have gladly weaned him before now and burned those nasty nursing bras if it weren’t for this trip. because i know he’s not big on lap-sitting, at times, but he’s never turned down a nipple in his life, my son…and he frequently slips off to half-sleep when i nurse him right before bed, sitting with him cradled in my arms. we have, in my mind, been practicing for this trip for eons. of all the things i worried about for this little adventure, the nursing was not one of them. it was my ace in the hole, babee.
apparently Oscar did not get that memo.
from the moment we boarded the plane in Charlottetown, my breasts – and anything, really, that involved being physically too near his loving parents – became Public Enemy Number One for O. we spent the hour and a half flight from Charlottetown to Montreal squished into a tiny little two-seat row, Dave and i, with a howling, squirming, wildebeest crawling frantically between us. lie back and drink his bottle? no problem. turn his head just a fraction and nurse from his mother’s delightfully engorged breast? violation of his human rights, folks. i think every single human being on that plane wondered why we were stabbing the child with forks. i suspect most of them also wondered whether i was, in fact, actually wearing garments on my upper half, as i spent half the flight chasing Oscar’s open, protesting mouth around the row with my nipples, like some weird, boob-juggling circus act used to torture small travellers.
in other words, it went really well.
you can shoot me if anything ever goes that well again.
at the gate, Dave & i were red-faced and horrified, afraid to look at each other. Oscar sat contentedly in his stroller, waving at all the people he’d deafened for the ninety minutes previous.
i seriously considered saying, ‘gee, honey, i’ve got to pee’…and catching a flight for Tijuana by myself.
but when we got on the plane to Montreal, a small miracle occurred. they allowed us to bring the car seat on board, because there were extra seats on the flight…and O spent the entire seven hour flight in his seat, happy as a freaking clam. he ate. he slept. we read books and played patty-cake. i napped a bit, as did Dave. we landed safely, got to jump the entire freaking customs line (!) – apparently a bonus of international travel en famille – and made our way without event or delay to this sweet-ass hotel room.
so overall, really, apart from the first ninety minutes, an amazingly successful trip.
and Oscar nursed like a suckling pig once we got here, the little wretch…so i’m not sure what was up with all the rejection. maybe he was claustrophobic? shy about me baring my bosom in public? i dunno. i know i hadn’t planned on it, and i know i didn’t know what to do with it. i’m thinking we may have to have the car seat surgically attached to his diaper for the trip home.
but for the moment, a nap. then we take London. will keep you posted.