Monday, April 29, 2013

THAT Mom

The biggest fear of every mom I know?  Becoming That Mom.

Oh, don't look at me so confused.  You know who That Mom is.  You've seen her before.

That Mom is the mom whose kid is running wild around the restaurant.  Or whose kid is screaming during the movie you're trying to watch at the theatre.  She’s the one whose kid goes to the birthday party with a runny nose caused by “allergies,” and ends up infecting everyone with strep throat.

You know the kid who hits, bites, kicks, pushes, or pours sand in the hair of the other kids in the playgroup?  That's the kid of That Mom.

When there is a child who pees in the pool?  That Mom isn't far away.

In Target the other day, there was a beautiful little girl dressed head-to-toe in pink frills with cute little pigtails in her perfectly blonde hair.  And she was screaming at the top of her lungs, red-faced, tears streaming down her cheeks and snot coursing out of her nose, down her chin and dripping onto her frills.  And pushing the cart, wild-eyed, beet red from embarrassment, and trying like hell to talk her daughter out of wanting whatever it is she couldn't have that started this tantrum off in the first place?  That Mom.

You know how they say the only two certainties in life are death and taxes?  There's a third certainty: someday, you WILL be That Mom.

We all think that we are being watched by other moms all the time.  And, why not?  Aren’t we all watching other moms all the time?  Aren’t we spending an inordinate amount of time judging them by the behavior of their kids?  Sure we do!  I do it.  You do it.  I did it a lot before I actually had a kid of my own.  I'd see some mom trying to calm her kid down while the kid wailed away and disturbed my lunch, dammit, and I'd think "Why doesn't she take him outside?  Why isn't she just paying her bill and leaving?"  Or, the most poisonous thought of all, "When I have a kid, that won't happen to me, I'll just [fill in the blank with whatever made me feel immune from having a child act like that in public]."  Bwahahahahahahahahaha!!  Seriously? 

Once, when Iris was fourteen or fifteen months old and we went to the grocery store when she was probably too tired.  But, we needed food so we could, you know, eat.  So, off we go to the grocery store, where Iris was a trouper and so cute and well-behaved.

For exactly twenty-nine-and-one-half minutes.

After which, Iris decided it she wanted that colorful bag of plastic utensils she saw on the shelf over there.  The one she could juuuuuust reach if she stretched her arm out and leeeeaaaaaaaned over while Mommy wasn't looking.  She was so proud of herself when she got it.  Proud lasted ten seconds.  Then Mommy decided that letting Iris chew on a bag of colorful plastic utensils that Mommy had no intention of buying was a bad idea.  Which necessitated Mommy taking away the bag of colorful plastic utensils and putting it back on the shelf.  Which, in turn, necessitated Iris having a meltdown in the middle of Harris Teeter.

And I don't mean she was just crying.  I mean a full-on-crying-screaming-snot-filled-arms-flailing-legs-kicking-attempting-to-fling-her-tiny-body-out-of-the-grocery-cart tantrum.

It was Bad.

And I will paint a picture for you of just how bad.  I had a full cart – produce, meat, eggs, two gallons of milk, orange juice, some pasta, coffee, and yogurt all piled to overflowing in my cart.  The store was crawling with senior citizens because it was the day they give discounts to anyone over a certain age.  And all of those senior citizens were scowling at me and Iris.  And none of them looked remotely grandparently or understanding.  I was That Mom.  I could see it on their faces while I frantically tried to distract Iris with a bag of shredded cheddar.  It did not work.  The senior citizens hated me.  Iris sounded like I was beating her.  I did the only thing I could do....I took Iris out of the cart and carried her, wailing, to the car, leaving behind a full cart of groceries in the middle of aisle ten.

But, just because I have a kid and have been in one of those situations that make you feel like you want the floor to open up and swallow you doesn't mean, when I’m not That Mom I don't like to pretend I have some answer that whatever That Other Mom I'm seeing doesn't have.  I would never take Iris out when she is tired and cranky, I think to myself.  Except, yeah, clearly, I've done that.  I would never let Iris get away with throwing her food.  One strike and she's OUT, buddy!  Except, well, I've let her get away with it.  Oh my God, why did you think your child could handle a fancy restaurant when she's not yet two?  Except I've done that, too. 

I am not immune.  And neither are you.

There are always going to be other people out there judging us by our kid's bad behavior.  Worse, there are going to be other mothers and fathers and grandparents who judge us.  And I’m just as guilty as anyone.  I’m ashamed to admit I’ve done it recently.  With the aforementioned That Mom in Target with her snot-covered-screaming-toddler.  I  am sure I will be punished for doing that next week or next month when Iris loses it just as badly somewhere in public.

But really?  We need to stop judging each other.  And ourselves.

About eighteen months ago, one of my dearest mom friends, whose daughter is in Iris’s preschool class, called me.  Her daughter had just been diagnosed with a common childhood virus called hand-foot-and-mouth disease.  Which sounds horrible and dirty, and is horrible, but isn’t dirty.  Personally, I think they need to find a more benign-sounding name for it.  Anyway, the biggest problem with hand-foot-and-mouth disease is that it's contagious.  As most viruses are.  And her daughter was probably contagious on the last day all the kids were in class together. 

Her: (absolutely mortified)  I called the preschool.  They probably think I'm a horrible mother now.
Me: Why would they think you are a horrible mother?  Your kid is sick.  Kids get sick.  It's not like you infected her yourself.
Her: But, I took her to school on Tuesday!  I saw the mark on her butt.  I just thought it was some diaper rash!  I promise my child isn't dirty!
Me: Oh PLEASE.  You didn’t know she was contagious!  And I know she's not dirty!  Everyone knows she's not dirty!  The name of the virus sounds bad, I admit, but anyone who looks it up...and they will...knows it's not about being dirty.  It's a VIRUS for God's sake!  Like a cold!
Her: (plaintively) They're going to think I'm That Mom.

What I didn't tell her at the time was that some of the parents probably would think she was That Mom.  But, you know, That-Mom-Ness is temporary.  It only lasts a week or so.  I did tell her that I didn't think she was That Mom.  And I didn’t.  I mean, hell, I’d taken Iris to preschool with a runny nose a few months prior, thinking it was just a sign of teething, and the next week almost the entire class was out with a cold that Iris was, by that time, over.  Even if no one knew it...that week, I was That Mom.

And not too long ago, I was at Panera, on my hands and knees on the floor, attempting to sop up what seemed like a gallon of spilled soda and ice cubes with already-saturated napkins, while my daughter, Iris, sobbed like her life was over because the hem of her dress got wet.  How did this come to pass?  Shortly after we got our meals, Iris had reached across the table for God-only-knows-what, and knocked over my drink.  Initially, I was too busy trying to figure out how to simultaneously comfort Iris and clean up the mess to be mortified.  I was focused on what I needed to do: get Iris calmed down and into the bathroom so I could change her into the dry outfit I carry with me in my purse for just such an occasion, salvage whatever part of our lunch I could, and dry off the table, chairs, and floor as best I could.  And for any of that to work, I was going to need more napkins. 

Me: (popping up off the floor and giving the still-sobbing Iris a quick hug) Shh shh shh, baby.  It’s okay.  Mommy needs to get some more napkins.  I’m going right over there (pointing to the nearest napkin holder) and then I’ll be right back.
Iris: (beginning to wail) Nooooo!!! Mommy!!!!  My….my….my…my…my DRESS!!!!! I’m WET!!!!!
Me: I know, sweetie.  I know.  I’m going to get some napkins right over there and then I will be right back.  Stay right here and I will dry you up as soon as I can.
Iris: (sobbing harder, snot running freely down her face, and following me to the napkin holder while grabbing the back of my pants to try to stop me) NOOOOOO!!!!!! MOMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!

Which is about when I realized that I was in a restaurant full of people.  All of whom were now staring at me like I had carried in a mound of poo and chucked it onto the floor of the Panera.  And things just went downhill from there.

Oh, yes, I have been That Mom. 

It's okay.  It's your turn next.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sometimes, I Am Really Inept at Covering Stuff Up

Before we begin, I’m just going admit that I’m not proud of anything in this entire post.  Nothing.  Not one thing.  Just so we’re clear.

On Thursday, I went to the dentist.  Which, when you’re the mother of a preschooler, involves a level of planning normally reserved for state dinners or summit meetings.  In other words, I had to find a babysitter that was available during the daytime hours on a school day.  Which I did.  Because I am amazing.

And then I went to the dentist, where I had to admit that I hadn’t seen a dentist in almost three years.  What?  Don’t look at me that way.  I moved to a new city and I had a baby.  Things happened.  Priorities were set.  None of them were my teeth.  I know, I know.

Anyway, when all was said and done, the dentist told me I had a cavity.  A tiny one. 

I dislike being told I’m not perfect.  Yes, I know I’m not perfect.  I just don’t like being reminded of that fact.  So, this news simultaneously pissed me off and made me sad.
 
And then I called my husband.  My sweet, sweet husband who proceeded to gloat because he hadn’t had any cavities when he went to the dentist.  Oh, he tried not to gloat, but I could hear the smile on his face when he was talking to me.  Which pissed me off more and made me sadder.
 
When I got home, I paid the babysitter, and she left.  The end.

*blink blink*

You’re not buying it, are you?

Really? 

REALLY????

Seriously, not at ALL???

Oh all RIGHT!!  Yes, there's more.  FINE.  Here it is, Nosy McSnooperson:
Later, when my husband came home from work, he noticed that the little, sample bottle of mouthwash that the dentist had given me was sitting on the kitchen counter and had already been partly used. 

Quinten:  You already used some of the mouthwash? 
Me: Yes.
Quinten: You don’t like using mouthwash.
Me: No.  I don’t.
Quinten: I’m confused.
Me: (taking a deep breath and then talking as fast and as run-on as I can because I am embarrassed by what I am about to say) Okay, so I was sad that I had a cavity and so, on the way home from the dentist, I drove through Arby’s and got onion rings.  But then, as I was eating them, I realized I was going to get home and the babysitter would smell onion rings on my breath and onion rings don’t seem like the kind of thing that you should be eating right after getting your teeth cleaned, especially when you've been told you have a cavity, so I used some mouthwash and then spit it out through the car window when I was at stoplight.
Quinten: (laughing)
Me: (indignant) You’re laughing at me!
Quinten: (still laughing) I love you so much.
Me: Shut up!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Happiness is a Warm Puppy Only if You Don't Already Have a Toddler

It has been a day.  Actually, really, it has been a week.  I am done.  Worn out.  So, if you need me I’m going to be over in that corner over there, holding myself, rocking, and drinking Diet Coke straight out of the two-liter bottle (Shut up.  Caffeine is a stimulant.  And I don’t like wine.) 

What brought me to this miserable state?  Did I survive some natural disaster?  Did aliens kidnap and probe me?  Was I forced to watch a Fast and Furious movie?

Nope.

I got a puppy.

A ten-week-old puppy.

Which proves that I am either an eternal optimist or a crazy person.

For the record, I’m voting for crazy person, merely because, on paper, I seem like I’d be smarter than that.  I mean, I have two undergraduate degrees and a law degree, I spent ten years as a trial attorney specializing in criminal defense, and after that I taught Constitutional law.  Seriously, doesn’t that sound like someone who knows a thing or two?  Someone who might be pretty sensible and logical?  Or at least slightly above average in the intelligence department?  

And yet, despite the fact that I have owned dogs all my life and should know exactly what it involves, I somehow thought getting a puppy while my daughter, Iris, is still working on potty training was a good idea.

I’m going to pause here to raise a toast to all those mothers out there who are raising more than one child….mad props to you, ladies.  Mad.  Props.

The day after we made this colossally bad decision, who we have named Penny, I was home alone with her and Iris, and my mom called to see how things were going.

Mom: So, how does Iris like the puppy?
Me: She alternates between being really excited and getting upset because Penny won’t do everything she wants Penny to do right when she wants Penny to do it.
Mom: Well, that’s probably…
Me: (holding the phone away from my mouth so Mom’s eardrum won’t get damaged and yelling across the family room) IRIS! DO NOT SIT ON THE PUPPY!!!
Mom: Is everything okay?
Me: Yes, Iris was just starting to…. (interrupting myself to yell again as I sprint, still holding the phone, towards the puppy who is squatting for a good pee) NO!  PENNY!! NO!!! NO!!!! (I scoop the puppy up and start to go outside, still holding the phone on my shoulder) ….Iris was just starting to get too rough with the puppy and I needed…
Mom: (interrupting me, a little cowed) Do I need to let you go?
Me: No, it’s fine.  I’m just outside with Penny while she….(to Penny who is now peeing outside where she should be peeing) Good Girl!!  SUCH a Good Girl!!!....(whereupon Iris opens the screen door and comes outside still wearing her nightgown)…Iris, we’re not staying outside.  The puppy just needed to… (to Penny, who is now pooping) GOOD GIRL!!!! GOOD GOOD GIRL!!!!....(to Iris, who is walking out into our mud-laden yard barefoot) IRIS, NO!!!! GO BACK INSIDE AND PUT ON SOME SHOES IF YOU WANT TO COME OUT INTO THE YARD!!!!!!!!....(to Mom, who is miraculously still listening to all this on the phone, as I try to, simultaneously, scoop up the puppy who is playing the game where you keep just out of reach of the humans, and stop a now-crying Iris who is advancing further into the yard and is making it very clear that she does not want to go back inside and put on her shoes)…..Can I call you back?

And have I mentioned that Penny is teething?  And you know how puppies play with other puppies by biting?  And you know how there is a mouse in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and his name is Reepicheep (yes my nerd pants are showing, shut up) and he has a really sharp sword?  Well, Penny’s teeth aren’t like his sword because they’re too short.  But, if Reepicheep had a dagger?  Try twenty-eight of those little mouse-daggers digging into your fingers.  Or toes.  Or your boob.

Now imagine a nippy, teething puppy trying to play with an excited, screeching toddler.  In the two weeks we’ve had Penny, I have had to have this conversation with Iris a LOT:

Iris: Mommy! Penny’s biting me!
Me: You have to tell her no when she’s doing that.
Iris: (to Penny, who has now stopped nipping at Iris) NO!
Me: No, sweetie, you have to say no to her when she’s doing the biting, not now that she’s stopped.
Iris: (to Penny, who is still not nipping at Iris and has, in fact, moved on to chewing on a rawhide bone) PENNY NO!!
Me: IRIS!  It’s okay for her to bite the rawhide.  Don’t say no to her until she’s nipping at YOU.
Iris: But I don’t want her to bite me.
Me:  I know.  But, the only way she’ll know why you’re saying “no” to her is if you tell her NO while she’s doing it.  And you have to keep repeating it because she’s just a baby and she’ll forget sometimes.
Iris: Okay, Mommy.
Me: Also, if you’re calm, I bet she’ll be calm.  If you run around screeching, she’ll get all excited and that’s when she nips you.  Maybe try just being calm and petting her and I bet she won’t nip at you then.
Iris: Okay.

Five minutes later, Iris is running around screeching while Penny chases her, which turns into Penny nipping her…..later, rinse, repeat. 

Something like eighty-seven times in a single day.

And I can’t even talk about the housebreaking.

Wait.

That’s a lie.

If I can talk about potty training, I can totally talk about the housebreaking.

Here is what I have to say about housebreaking a puppy: I AM ALMOST DONE POTTY TRAINING MY TODDLER!!!!!!!  Holy Mary Mother of God, what the FUCK was I thinking bringing a puppy into my house when I am thisclose to being done with potty training???? 

At least, if Penny was a human child, I could put a diaper on her.

But no.  No.  She is a puppy.  Which means if I’m not picking poop up off the floor, I’m cleaning up pee.  Or I’m yelling at the dog to stop her from peeing in the house and getting her outside as quickly as possible so she can pee out there.  And, if I’m very, very lucky, Iris won’t decide that right at that exact moment she needs me to take her to the potty.

Or, better yet, when I take Penny outside for a quick pee (by which I mean I am hoping that she’ll pee and I can just scoop her up and get her back inside before Iris even notices we’re gone) so I can come back inside and get started on cooking dinner, Iris decides to join us in the backyard.  Thus, what I envisioned as a quick trip to the grass is either going to end in great heaving, snotty sobs because it is soooo unfair that I took the puppy outside and not Iris or it will become the marathon of please-mommy-can-you-push-me-on-the-swing.  Either way, we’ve eaten leftovers, takeout, or pizza for dinner more often this week than I care to admit (okay…all but one day…all but ONE FREAKING DAY we ate crap for dinner.  There.  I said it.  I am a crappy wife and mother.  Happy now?)

Speaking of having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night…

What?  I wasn’t talking about having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night? 

Huh.

I should be talking about having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night.  Because, yeah, I’m having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night.  Again.  The best time was when I was up with Penny, taking her out to pee at about 2AM, standing in the middle of the yard holding and umbrella and trying very hard to muster up enough patience to not yell at the puppy something insane like “FUCKING PEE ALREADY!!!!” because Penny wouldn’t understand it, anyway and it might, in the end, scare Penny badly enough that I would have to wait even longer for her to pee.  (At least, with a child, you don’t have to go out in inclement weather to deal with poop and pee…it’s all nicely contained in a diaper which is located inside the nice, warm, dry house.)  Then Iris wakes up, screaming, because she had a nightmare.  Let me note here that my husband, who (bless his heart) sleeps like the dead, does not wake up.  Not even a little.  So, I grab the puppy, mid-pee, she dribbles the rest of the pee down my nightgown, I chuck the umbrella onto the deck, toss the puppy into her crate, and race up the stairs to comfort my child, pausing only long enough to take the rain-and-pee-wet nightgown off.  It takes me ten minutes to calm Iris down, twenty to retrieve the umbrella off the deck, clean up the mess downstairs, and calm the puppy down enough that she goes back to sleep, and then two damned hours to get myself back to sleep.   

Please do not misunderstand me.  I love this puppy.  I mean, look at her:
 

 
It took her about two and a half minutes to worm her way into a permanent spot in my heart. 
 
And I love my daughter more and more fiercely than I ever thought possible.  But ye gods and little fishies, I am tired.  Love may be infinite but patience and energy are not. 

Also, I swear those two little monsters are in cahoots.  The only time they’re alone together is when I’m in the bathroom.  It’s also the only time they’re quiet.  And I’m pretty sure they’re using the time to concoct new techniques to either drive me batshit crazy or to get me to just give up and surrender all the cookies.  
 
But I'm not letting them have my Diet Coke.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fly the Friendly Skies My Big, Fat Ass

I did something brave last Saturday.  Very, very brave.  And I’m going to do it again this morning.  I’m going to go to the airport and board an airplane.  With my three-year-old daughter. 

So you know, I am not afraid of flying.  Also, my daughter is, for her age, very well behaved on a plane.  She does not scream, cry, throw fits, whine loudly, vomit, jump on her seat, insist on walking up and down the aisle, or kick the back of anyone else’s seat (you’re welcome, fellow travelers).

None of that is why traveling by plane with a three-year-old makes me brave.

What makes me brave is that I’m willing to do that despite the obstacles thrown in my way and attitude of utter and complete disgust Iris and I encounter at the airports.  I’m looking at you, United Airlines.

In 1996, United Airlines retired its long-time slogan “Fly the Friendly Skies.”  They had to.  Because they do not have the technology to cross into the alternate universe where there actually are “friendly skies.”

My adventure began when Iris and I started our trip to go see her grandparents in St. Louis, Missouri.  For the record, we live in Greensboro, North Carolina and driving to St. Louis isn’t an option because you drive for thirteen or fourteen hours across six states with a potty-training toddler. 

Anyway, the two of us are sitting at the gate waiting to board with the dozen or so other passengers for the Greensboro-to-Chicago-O’Hare leg of our trip.  Sitting in the seats across from us is a young couple that can only be described as hipster douchebags.  You know the ones, they are wearing the latest in trend-wear, looking down on everyone and everything that they don’t deem cool, and using every single available piece of communications technology known to man…iPod, iPad, laptop, cell phone, and probably walkie-talkie.  They are not, as far as I can tell, talking to each other.  Unless they are doing so via text or email.  Iris is climbing on and off the chair next to me.  She then switches to running from my chair to the window and back.  She is not screeching or being loud.  She is asking my permission before she takes each run.  She touches no one and interferes with no one’s stuff; otherwise I would not be letting her do it.  I am letting her do it because I know if she burns off this excess energy now, she will not be trying to burn off this excess energy on the plane.  This isn’t me not controlling my child, this is me planning ahead.

Then the young, female hipster says to the young, male hipster, while rolling her eyes, “God, they should just ban kids under the age of ten from getting on a plane.” 

Seriously.  She said it.  And not quietly, either.  She was looking right at me and I am unsure if she wanted me to hear her say it, or if she was just rude and stupid. 

I wanted to say, “You do realize I am live-tweeting everything you do and say, you twat,” but I’m pretty sure she’d have been too dense to get the humor.

That was the best part of my trip.

Because then I had to actually get on the plane. 

Now, I know the Greensboro to Chicago O’Hare flight is not the cushiest gig in the United Airlines repertoire.  No one aspires to fly it.  I am sure that the flight attendants probably draw straws and this is the punishment for the short straw.  But the guy who greeted us as we got on the plane Did not. Want.  To be there. 

He was leaning against the cabinets in the tiny galley of the plane, looking at each passenger as they boarded with hooded eyes.  I couldn’t decide if he was tired or really, really hung over.  “Do you need a seatbelt extender?” he said, sounding bored and looking me up and down. 

Excuse me?  Did he just call me fat?

Now, I’ll be honest, I’m a big girl.  I’m not delusional about it.  I know I carry some extra poundage on my frame.  But, I don’t think I’m an oh-God-look-at-that-I’m-not-sure-she’ll-be-able-to-fit-in-the-seat fat.   I don’t think anything about the way I look warranted the pre-emptive strike.  Wouldn’t it be more polite for him to wait for me to ask for one if I found I needed it?  (For the record, he would have been waiting an awfully long time.  I have my very own seatbelt extender that I take with me thankyouverymuch.)

I just said no thank you and he went back to staring, wearily at the boarding passengers.

So, feeling self-conscious, I made my way back to my seat with Iris, who was talking excitedly the entire way about looking out the window.

Cue the window blind being halfway pulled out of its groove and, therefore, stuck in the down position.

Cue the rolled eyes of several of the people who sat around us.

Yes, rolled eyes.  Over a child talking.  Not yelling or screaming or being obnoxious.  A child talking in a normal, inside-level voice to her mother.  Because an airplane should be a zone of complete silence (note tone of sarcasm here). 

And I went to strap Iris in to her seat.  I’m going to pause here and tell you about the the C.A.R.E.S. restraint system I have for Iris.  Go on, click the link, I’ll wait.  Seriously, go look.    

Are you done? 

Good.

So I use the C.A.R.E.S. restraint system so Iris has more than just a lap belt keeping her safe.  And, who am I kidding, I use it to keep Iris a little more contained.  The C.A.R.E.S. restraint system is FAA approved and every flight attendant on every flight I have been on since I got it has commented about how much they love it and wish more people would use one.  Some of them have even helped me place it around the seat and under the tray table for the person behind Iris.

You read that, didn’t you?  Under the tray table.  As in it does NOT interfere with the tray table behind Iris.  At all.  The person sitting there is still able to use their tray table with no problems.

The guy sitting behind Iris on this flight?  Refused to understand that.

Mr. Snot:  (as I’m trying to put the restraint around the seat)  You can’t do that!
Me: Oh, I’m sorry….it won’t interfere with your tray table at all.  See, it goes under the tray tab….
Mr. Snot: (interrupting) I’m going to be using my tray table.  I need my tray table.
Me: Yes.  I was just saying that it won’t interfere with your tray table.
Mr. Snot: (getting louder) I need to use my tray table!  You can’t use that on my tray table!
Me: If you’ll just let me show you…
Mr. Snot: No no no no no.  You can’t.  I need the tray table!  (he presses the button to call the flight attendant, who appears, still looking hung over and now slightly irritated)  She can’t use this.  I need my tray table!
Me: It!  Does not!  Interfere!  With!  The tray table!
Deadbeat Flight Attendant: (sighing apathetically) Ma’am, do you really NEED to use that thing?

I wanted to say “Only if you want my daughter to fly safe on your airplane.”  But, by this time, I was feeling like a morbidly obese nuisance and was so damn demoralized that I just shut up and put away the restraint system.  I buckled Iris into the lap belt and prayed that it would be good enough to keep her both safe and contained.  I also wished plagues of locusts on the man behind Iris and the flight attendant.  I’d have settled for plagues of frogs.

I would be happier if that were the end of the story.  But it’s not.

Because then there was the landing at O’Hare and the realization that I had to get myself and Iris from gate F14 in Terminal 2 to gate B22 in Terminal 1.  A walk that turned out to be at least a mile long.  I am not exaggerating.  And my choice was to let Iris and her little three-year-old legs walk it all or carry her thirty-pound self, my purse, and pull my small carryon bag.  She wouldn’t let me carry her, so walk it we did.

Is it United Airline’s fault that the gates were so far apart?  Or that I was having to travel all that distance with Iris in tow?  Nope.  But it WAS their fault their employee, who was driving the motorized cart that takes people that need extra help from gate to gate not only refused to allow Iris and I to hitch a ride, but acted like I had just asked to stick my finger up his nose.

By the time I reached St. Louis, I was a sweaty, traumatized, angry mother with a tired, cranky, exhausted child.

And, this morning, I get to repeat the process.  Backwards.  (I want to say “And in heels” but I won’t because I would never, ever, ever, ever wear heels to an airport.  But I digress.)

Oh…oh…and the best part?  United Airline would not let me reserve seats in advance of check-in unless I paid a fee of $26 per seat, per flight.  So, when I checked in yesterday (exactly 24 hours prior to flight time, which is as early as they let you check in), there were no seats available that were next to each other and Iris’s assigned seat is now 3A and mine is 9D.  Which means, when I get on the flight from O’Hare back to Greensboro, I will have to beg someone to switch with me, or I will have to sit 6 rows away from my three-year-old daughter.  Because that’s not a safety and liability issue at all.

Wish me luck on this trip.  I’m going to need it.  But, also, you should wish some luck to any ticketing agent, gate agent, flight attendant, motorized cart driver, or other employee of United Airlines that gets in my fucking way today.  They’ll need it more.