Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dispatches from the Home Front - Thursday the 14th

Just got back from six days in San Jose to see my parents. I decided to bring Jada, since she likes to travel and so as to make life a lot easier for Amy stuck at home. Traveling with my daughter was a lot more stressful than I had anticipated. I guess I've only done solo travel or whole family travel, so being alone with my chatterbox was difficult, because I couldn't quite sink into any of my reading materials, I didn't have Amy to help me out, and Jada didn't have another kid to engage with her in all of her commentary.

But the trip had its fun points. To help pass the time during a very long layover in O'Hare on the way out, I bought Jada a 59-cent ice cream cone at McDonald's, which she milked for almost 45 minutes; this is an incredible time-with-kid-being-happy-and-quiet to money-actually-spent ratio, and I'll have to file this away for future reference. Other fun moments:

* Another place I bought myself a few minutes of silence was an outpost above the security check-in in San Francisco. Jada was fascinated by the process and the machinery, and sat rapt for long enough for me to finish dinner.

* Waiting for our pick-up in San Francisco, we had plenty of time to grab a bite. But Jada announced when we were at the front of the line that she had to go, and when I tried to finagle in a "can you wait until we've gotten our food," she replied, "I'm about to pee myself." That's ghetto girl talk for "no, we have to go now."

* As I was leading Jada into the bathroom at O'Hare to go potty, an airport employee walked by me and said somewhat sternly, "Sir, this is the men's room," and then kept walking. Not sure what he was thinking; did he prefer I walk Jada into the women's room?!?

* Three hours into a four-hour flight, during which I might have put my tray table up and down maybe four or five times, a woman who had already seared herself indelibly into my mind by loudly asking the flight attendant about a connecting flight and saying she was from Canada, stood up in her seat and turned around and, in a somewhat passive aggressive tone, nodded sweetly at Jada and said, "So this is the little girl who has been playing with her tray table all this time, eh?" And then she sat back down. I'm not sure what was funnier, her misconstruing that me using my tray table normally over the course of the flight was actually Jada doing the typical kid thing on a plane, or her stereotypically ending her sentence with "eh?"

It was a long day out for Jada. She was so excited about the trip that she woke up a tick earlier than usual, and then between shuttling all over the place by train, plane, and plane, it made for a tired little girl. Of course, try as I might, I couldn't get her to fall asleep on the plane, even though I feel asleep two or three times.

By the time my cousin was driving us back to my parent's house, it was almost 10 pm East Coast time, and Jada was fast asleep in the back seat. And she was so tired that, after making sure I removed all "scary" items in my sister's old bedroom (she didn't want the frog pillow or the wooden figurine), and reading her a story, she was soon fast asleep again.

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