Muchness is all about the little things and how you choose to interpret them. When Molly was a baby, flying was so high on our “stuff that’s gonna stress us out so we’re not gonna do it” list that we actually refrained from taking vacations. When she was 8 months she had a screaming/crying fit on an airplane (before we ever even left the ground) so hysterically loud and long that I eventually handed her to the flight attendant and burst into tears myself. Thinking back to that nightmare, I realize the primary cause of my stress was concern for what everyone else on the plane thought of us and our uncontrollable, screaming baby.
But oh, how times have changed.
Since starting this journey to Find My Muchness, I’ve also found my confidence and my ability to let my perception of others opinions of lots of stuff roll off my back. In the airport today, Molly had a tantrum. Liat wanted to sit in the pink stroller. Since Molly had been sitting in it the whole time, I put Liat in it after we went through security. Molly wasn’t having it. I could have easily switched Liat to the gray stroller where she would have been crying but managable, but Molly can’t just demand her way by causing chaos. And chaos she caused. Kicking and screaming and the whole bit. I picked her up (as she clawed at my face) and sat her on a bench for a good old fashioned time out. People were staring. I didn’t care. Because I was parenting my child, rather than letting her parent me. In the end, Molly walked. Gave me a hug and apologized, and I bought her pretzels because I’m a sucker. But I never lost my cool. And for that, I felt pretty Muchtastic. (especially in 5″ platforms. Just sayin’)
We’re on the plane. Molly tells me she has a tummy ache. I ask her if she has to poop. Affirmative. I cross my fingers and ask her if she wants me to go with her. I will her to say “no- I can go alone” but my powers of non-verbal persuasion are not so strong. “Yes.” is her reply.
In the tiny bathroom she freaks out. It’s dirty. I mean really dirty. OK. I steel myself, grab a fistful of tissues and clean the seat, then cover it with a seat cover. She reluctantly sits. “Mommy, hold my hands.” Um hmm. OK. 10 seconds later “Mommy, I don’t have to go anymore.” uuuh, no. Performance anxiety is not an option. I am NOT doing this again. I crouch down and tell her she’s gotta make it work. But I know my daughter. She’s shy and private (she’d love to know about this post, I’m sure) so I tell her I’ll cover my ears and close my eyes so she can have her privacy. So that’s what I do. And she holds onto my forearms, my eyes closed, fingers in my ears, my face inches from hers. As she does her business I hear her say “I love you Mommy”…. I pretend not to hear her, partially so she’ll believe I can’t hear her and partially because I want to hear it again.
“Did you say something?” I ask, and she repeats “Mommy, I love you” and I reply “I love you too, sweety.” and I think, “Yes. This is love.” and this vision popped in my head:
Yes. That is a crown. She's been wearing it since her birthday a month ago.
and then we left the bathroom, went back to our seats and I drew my little picture.
But ya know, neither of those stories is the point of this post. They were just the lead in to the main event. And the post is getting rather long so I apologize. And now, the main event:
This was perhaps the most turbulent flight I remember ever taking. As the captain announced 35 minutes to landing I turned to look at Molly and she was a faint shade of green. I knew we were en route to the inevitable. I reached around Liat who was sitting on my lap and pulled out the vomit bag from the seat pocket in front of me and opened it wide. I asked her if she felt sick. Yes. Yes she did. I asked her if she was going to throw up. No. She wasn’t going to throw up but she wasn’t feeling well. But I know my daughter. No sooner had I turned away then she was losing her lunch all over the place. I grabbed the bag and tried to contain what I could but she was exploding like a fire hydrant in the bronx on an August afternoon. It was not pretty. Elie was calling “Give me Liat! Give me Liat!” since she was trapped on my lap inside my arms which were looped around to Molly’s face. Between explosions of vomit, (there were no less than three full-on eruptions) Molly was sobbing loudly. Poor baby was so embarrassed and sick. Liat was crying too. The air was filling with the stench of vomit and I was trying frantically to contain the mess and reassure Molly. I glanced around for the flight attendant, assuming she’d be right there to offer assistance since we were at the back of the plane, but the only thing I saw when I looked up from our pit of vomit is the eyeballs of every passenger within eye or earshot glaring our way. OK.
At that point I was, without exaggeration, covered past my wrists in vomit. Molly’s entire dress front was covered and half our seats.
I reached into our bag and pulled out a package of baby wipes and got to work. I’d already used two of our three vomit bags and we were still high up in the air, bouncing around like popcorn kernels in a frying pan.
Where the hell is the flight attendant? I guess she’s belted in the back prepared for landing? I guess this means we’re landing soon, thank god.
Molly was starting to calm down. As I’m cleaning her I heard the woman in the seat behind us tell the man next to her he might want to clean his shoe. Horrified, I offer him a wipe, but he says it missed his shoe. Small blessings.
I finally started to feel like we had it under control and I turned to Elie who is wrestling to keep Liat still. Liat, however, was a familiar shade of green.
I reached around to grab the third vomit bag but I was too late.
Whatever part of my body avoided Molly’s explosion got the full vomit experience from Liat. I barely caught anything in the bag. And Elie wasn’t spared either. There was previously digested Apple Jacks everywhere.
WHERE THE HELL IS THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT???
The woman across from us was fanning herself with a magazine and blocking her face. I heard someone gagging two rows behind us. I saw eyeballs glaring at us every-which way I turned. Everyone’s eyeballs EXCEPT THE DAMN FLIGHT ATTENDANT!!!
Thankfully, the package of wipes was practically new so I had enough to get us moderately clean. But I also had two bags full of vomit, and a pile of vomit covered wipes and nowhere to put them.
But ya know what? I was OK. I was calm, and was almost laughing at the overwhelming insanity of this explosion all around us, reassuring the girls that they were OK and would get nice and clean at home, and, much to my surprise, feeling by and large, confident and in-control.
And then, the captain announced: “We are about to make our decent into Newark International Airport, Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin for arrival”
WHAT. THE. HELL?
You mean to tell me that flight attendant was just dilly dallying in her little hideaway three rows behind us while my kids ejected two days worth of junkfood all over the place?? You couldn’t even bother to pop your head out when the sounds of yacking filled the air, and the unmistakable aroma of vomit wafted through the cabin? No offer of a towel? A garbage bag? An extra vomit bag, ya know “just in case”? Not even the offer of offering whatever she might have to offer??
When I heard the captains announcement, I just lost it. I turned to Elie and demanded he answer the unanswerable question: “ARE YOU EFFIN KIDDING ME?!?” And then, I made the ultimate declaration: “That’s it. I’m gonna blog about this.” and here we are.
And so, to the flight attendant Heather, who emerged from her hideaway after landing, wearing her fancy blue rubber gloves, carrying her pretty blue garbage bag, I’m writing this to let you know that it was ME who left the two open bags of vomit on the seats, and the mound of used baby wipes all over the floor. I do hope you had a hell of a time cleaning it up.
This is the age of social media and when you sit around reading trashy romance novels or doing whatever you may be doing in your little hideaway while children on your flight are strapped in their seats and vomiting all over the place less than 15 feet away from you, you are gonna get called on it. And your picture is gonna get taken. And if you’re lucky, the person taking your picture is Muchy and too kind to show your face to the world (…or her few hundred readers…) so she puts a “Girls Gone Wild” black bar over your eyes.
You know who you are Heather. Think about what you’ve done.