Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Traveling-With-Small-Children-Hell

Traveling with small children is fraught with perils, and it's not just the children that cause the trouble (although they certainly contribute their share of difficulties). It's also the huge amount of crap you have to travel with: car seats, strollers, port-a-cribs, etc., and as far as I know there's absolutely no way to get kids and their associated stuff from point A to point B without at least some degree of trauma. We're old pros at this by now, but that doesn't mean we're immune from frantic lapses, frustrations, and blunders.

Allow me to describe our first fifteen minutes at the airport:

We arrive at the airport parking lot and learn that there are no spaces available. After a wait, room is made. When we arrive at the spot, we discover that it is the smallest parking space ever, and even our little Geo will just barely fit. We squeeze in and manage to load all of our passengers and most of our luggage into the shuttle bus. When I go to get the car seats, though, I discover that I can’t open the doors enough to remove them. So I squeeze back into the car and hurriedly backed out of the spot, almost hitting the bus. Finally, I get the car seats unloaded, car re-parked, and the car seats and myself onto the bus, and off we go.

Two minutes later, Sarah, surveying our mound of luggage, gasps, "We forgot the stroller!" I jump up and tell the driver that we need to go back. Hopping off the bus, I frantically try to unlock the trunk of a car that looks very much like ours and is parked very close to ours but is not, in fact, our car. Sarah leans out the door of the bus and yells, "It’s over there!" I dash over to our actual car and successfully unlock its trunk only to discover that it’s completely empty, not a stroller in sight.

Meanwhile, back on the bus, a very nice, considerably less frantic lady has informed Sarah that, "If you’re looking for your stroller, it’s right there behind your other bags". With embarrassment, Sarah relays this information to me, and I get back on the bus trying as hard as possible to not feel like a complete idiot. Really though, the other passengers were all very nice. They were other families who had undoubtedly experienced their own versions of Traveling-With-Small-Children-Hell and were familiar with its profound ability to turn reasonably smart people into idiots. So our cool was lost, but our stroller was found, and away we went.

It wouldn't be fair to say that this episode was indicative of the entire trip. On the contrary, there were many very pleasant moments. Nonetheless, it's nice to be home.

5 comments:

  1. Wow. Did they barf during takeoff, too?

    I took my five year old to London last year, and British Airways' strategy for appeasing small children seems to be to pump them full of sugar. The candy just never stopped coming, and Maggie was like a blithering bat out of hell (which, considering that all the adults were drunk, made for a bit of friction). She finally crashed when we got to heathrow, meaning of course that, since I hadn't brought a stroller, I had to carry her AND the luggage. Joy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alimbolala,

    I think this is called "pay back time" for travel-with-small-child-hell and several encounters with very large glasses of tomato juice many years ago!!

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  3. Ahh, the circle of life!

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