Next week, I will be subjected to one of the more challenging tests of good parenting, namely, traveling. Maybe I am nuts, but I have convinced my husband to attempt a trip to my parent's house with the kids. The whole ordeal should take about 24 hours in total.
I must be nuts.
3:00 AM: -The Challenge Begins
We'll manage to cram the suitcases, two strollers, the kids and finally ourselves into the car in a zombie-like state before heading to our friend's house, who will drive us the rest of the way to the airport. That's a three-hour trip in itself, but we're going to give ourselves an extra hour to get there, taking into account one of the three possible worst case scenarios:
1) a traffic jam caused by jack-knifed truck on the highway
2) a traffic jam caused by UFO sighting on the highway
3) the car breaking down, being abducted by aliens and then a traffic jam caused by a jack-knifed truck on the highway
7:30 AM - The Next Hurdle
So once we reach the airport and get checked in, we will have another three hours to kill. I will most likely want to kill myself by the time those three hours are over - I can only imagine how exhausted we will be by that time, and how utterly hyper and blitzed our kids will be. They will have been sleeping all the way in the car and will be pushed around like little monarchs in their buggies - they will be a couple of little Energizer bunnies, essentially. Mia will leap into 'I want! I want!' mode as soon as we enter the duty-free area, and Bram will be trying to mount everybody's luggage trolleys. And this will be just the beginning.
10:15 AM - What Have I Gotten Myself Into?
Once we are on the airplane, the trial really begins, and by that time, I will already be running on half a tank of gas, so to speak. My husband will be running on fumes. It's a ten-hour flight, no stop-overs, no escape. I am seriously considering having the flight attendant make an announcement on my behalf before we take off, just to give the other passengers a heads-up on the inevitability of the situation. I was thinking something along the lines of:
'Ladies and gentlemen, the young child who will most likely be humping your leg at some point during the flight is Bram, whose parents are sitting in seats 14 J and K. Any complaints or discomfort may be communicated to them directly. If you do not wish any contact with this child, we suggest you take another flight. Thank you.'
7:30 PM CET / 11:30 AM - Who's Idea Was This Anyway?
So assuming we survive the flight without anyone suing us for unwanted sexual intimidation by Bram, we should arrive in Seattle where my parents will be waiting for us. (If they don't happen to encounter one of the aforementioned worst case scenarios, that is.) So next to being utterly spent, I will get all emotional since I haven't seen them in almost a year, so I will cry. And then, my mom will cry. And my dad and my husband will roll their eyes at each other and laugh at those silly gals they married. And then the kids will start complaining that they have to pee or that they fell over or something, and then it's off to the next step in our adventure - the ferry.
2:30 PM - Make It Stop!
My parents live on an island in the Pacific Northwest. It's a gorgeous island where my husband and I believe we should emigrate to. We can only get there by ferry, which means you have to be there on time, or they just won't let you on. Obviously, if you're not physically there, they can't let you on. It's common sense, really. Anyway, it takes another three hours to get from the airport to the ferry terminal. I plan to pretend to be awake during the ride, listening to my mom tell me about stuff she told me last week on Skype, but I will actually be sound asleep. If the kids aren't sleeping, I'll pretend they are.
When we get to the ferry terminal, the kids will probably have another burst of energy since they will be rested and refreshed after their long nap in their comfy carseats. I will be suffering from self-inflicted whiplash from all that head-nodding I was doing in the car. I will have no time to think about that though, since I will be on alert-mom-mode, making sure the kids don't hurl themselves off the ferry dock onto the jagged rocks below, for example.
5:00 PM - Is It Much Farther, Papa Smurf?!
Once on the ferry, I will continue to simulate being in a conscious state as the big, heavy boat hums its way through the Puget Sound. It'll be yet another perfect opportunity to run after Bram some more, to make sure he doesn't hurl himself into the sea. I will also most likely get to convince Mia that she really won't fall into the toilet if she has to go pee-pee. Whether or not I try to eat a bowl of clam chowder or go straight for a liter of beer at this point is really all down to speculation.
6:30 PM - Alls Well That Ends in a Puddle...
It's a guess, but I by this time, we should be walking through the front door of my parents' house by now. Make that: stumbling through the door and falling onto the carpet in a puddle of mindless dribble. After that, it's a matter of forcing ourselves to stay awake for a few more hours while our soft, warm, inviting bed beckons us. And when we finally do get to sink into a deep, well-deserved state of REM, it'll be seconds before the kids and their European bio-rhythms are wide awake and read to roll...
It'll be worth it. It'll all be worth it. It will.
I must be nuts.