Monday, May 10, 2010

The Master of Disaster

How do you turn a one-hour flight from Portland to Oakland into a total calamity? Why, just bring a 20-month-old toddler.

As we were waiting to board a Southwest flight back from Oregon, Elliot managed to do all these things in the space of five minutes:
1.) Run through the seating area of the airport Wendy's and pull down a stool onto his head. He shrieked for two minutes, recovering just in time to do something worse.
2.) Dump a 32-ounce lemonade (with a generous amount of ice) all over him and Kelly. This time, the screams were heard throughout the concourse.
3.) In an effort to "help" clean up, he pulled things out of our bag and threw them into the trash.

Adding to the stress of traveling with Elliot is all the extra luggage he requires — way more than you would think a tiny human would need. As you can see, our short trip to Oregon required as much luggage as Victorians would take on the passage to India.

When we finally boarded the flight, we got stuck on the tarmac because Southwest found a nail in one of the tires (I'm not exactly sure how Elliot could have been responsible for this, but he's my prime suspect). The longer we waited, the further past Elliot's bedtime it was, meaning he only became more manic and rambunctious. It was all we could do to prevent him from crawling over the seatbacks of the people in front of us.

Finally, they fixed the problem and we took off. As soon as they turned off the seatbelt sign, I had to go change Elliot's diaper. But the bathroom didn't have a changing table. If you've ever tried to change a wriggly toddler in an airplane bathroom without a changing table — well, maybe there's a way to do it elegantly, but I can't imagine how. My way involved Elliot banging his head on the wall behind the toilet, followed by him grabbing the soap dispenser and flinging it across the compartment. By the time we staggered out of the bathroom, he had a new diaper, but no pants, shoes or socks. And I accidentally left the dirty diaper in the bathroom for the next person to find (they weren't very excited about that).

The capper to the trip came when we got to Oakland. We had left our car in a remote parking lot in San Leandro. When we got there, we found the battery was dead. I called AAA, but they took a while to come find us. In the meantime, we huddled in the car and tried to get Elliot to go "night-night." We felt like one of those families you see in stories on the "New Face of Homelessness." Of course, Elliot was delighted by the whole adventure and in no mood to sleep.

We finally got a jumpstart and were on our way, but still a little mystified about how the battery died in the first place.

Until we realized that the dome light above Elliot's carseat was left on — the light he loves to flick off and on.

Bravo, Elliot. Bravo.