travel

Baby GPS with Attitude

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The Long Ride Home

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Kanye is pregnant?
Kanye is pregnant?

After a busy week with the grandparents, it was time for Maddie and her dad to take on their first solo road trip. Solo meaning just the two of us (poetic license).

I stocked up the front passenger seat with pacifiers, snacks, toys and a taser in case things got out of control with the baby seat behind me.

After about 20 minutes on the road, Maddie started hounding the driver for more interesting distractions than just a simple box of raisins. I offered up my cell phone and Maddie started making calls.

At one point, I heard a voice on the phone, but when I reached into the back seat to grab it, she fired the device under my chair. Oh well, hopefully she didn’t call 9-1-1 again.

I turned off the music and was getting ready to stop, when I noticed that the baby was feeling drowsy. Hmmmm, I wonder if Violet might help her over the hump into a dreamland.

I picked up Violet and Maddie began waving her hands in ardent protest. But when I went to put the purple dog down, she demanded I release the pup directly into her custody.

She snagged Violet, hugged him violently and fell into a deep sleep for the next 160 miles. It was our best road trip yet and I now have Violet on speed dial.

Quit hogging the car seat!
Quit hogging the car seat!

Road Warrior Running on Empty

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I need a day off bro!

Maddie obviously has a little too much on her plate right now.

Her mom is on the road – New teeth are breaking through – And she’s racking up the miles. Factor these things together and Maddie is running on a short fuse.

She’s actually dealing with the stress quite well. Most of the issues are once again surfacing during the clothing and diaper changes. It seems like every time we have to change one or the other, Maddie is fighting mad.

She actually screams as if she is being interrogated underneath a long-forgotten Gulag. When other people hear these crazed protests, they worry that the baby must have fallen off of the changing table.

It doesn’t last long – once the change is completed, the baby is all butterscotch and ponies again. We have theorized before that it is always better not to mess with Maddie, but she can’t wear the same clothes all the time.

So, the question is, how do we alter Maddie’s perception that changing her clothes somehow violates her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? There must be a way to distract her, but so far nothing seems to work.

We’ve gone through this stage before, but her protests have never been so over-the-top as they are now. As always, all suggestions are welcome!

Baby Shines Through Ridiculous Travel Day

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Even my patience has its limits

Maddie’s look seemed to say it all, “You guys are pushing your luck!” After a flight to Chicago and three plus hours in the car, my 8-month-old super star was winding down before our eyes. Today’s flight wasn’t as adventurous as her faux-emergency landing at Newark last week, but it did have it moments.

We hit the airport early armed with snacks, stealth and experience. Our plan was to feed Maddie before boarding the plane. Do to unforeseen circumstances, that didn’t quite happen. But Maddie kept her spirits high and was patient enough to let us feed her on the plane.

Once again, we were all underwhelmed by the grandeur of Newark Liberty Airport. We taxied so long that Maddie finished a full bottle, some English muffin pieces and almost an entire apple worth of slices. We actually thought that the pilot had diverted to the highway and was going to taxi us all the way to Chicago. Anyway, by the time Chucky Lindbergh got the bus in the air, Maddie was celebrating her Sweet 16.

At the tail end of our flight, Maddie started to unravel a little bit. But before she could get out of hand, a woman across the aisle started telling her what a good girl she was. Maddie has never been one to shy away from attention. She made fast friends with the woman who chatted with her until we actually landed. Good stuff!

Maddie endured another 3 hours in the car like a champ as we pulled up to the thriving metropolis of Peoria, Illinois. Both of my lungs collapsed before I could actually blowup Maddie’s little inflatable tub. As we got Maddie into the tub, it was obvious that her sense of humor had left the building. We needed some baby supplies so I slipped out to the store and left bedtime operations to her mom.

As the door closed behind me, I could hear Maddie lighting up her mom with high-pitched screams and fussing. But I figured that after the day she had, the baby was more than entitled to vocalize a few well-placed complaints. Tomorrow we will have a full report from the baby’s first fish fry!

Nightmare at Newark – Planes, Trains and Baby Strollers

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How long would it take us to walk home?

Maddie fought the good fight this weekend. She traveled hundreds of miles using multiple forms of transportation and kept her sense of humor as much as any 8-month-old little girl could.

Our journey began at the pit known as Newark Airport. It’s rated worst in the nation for a reason folks. And the mega-mind merger between United and Continental only make things worse. Knowing the forces of evil to be dealt with, we left plenty of time to undo whatever screw-ups we might encounter. It didn’t take long to run head-long into our first impediment.

My wife printed boarding passes before leaving the house that clearly read that we were leaving from gate A-27. For those of you who know Newark Airport, this means that you are leaving from Terminal “A” Pretty simple right?

So we checked in at the “A” terminal, checked our bags and collected our boarding passes. Then I heard Maddie gasp. Upon a closer inspection of our tickets, the United idiots had changed the flight to leave from terminal “C”

Maddie glared at her parents as if to say, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!” It was sooo nice of the bubblehead that checked us in not to mention that we had to high-tail it down to the “C” terminal if we wanted to make our flight. So Maddie suggested we take the monorail and make it snappy!

We get to the lovely terminal “C” only to find that TSA has four entry points but only two security lines open for a mob of travelers. And let me tell you, they were in NO HURRY whatsoever. I propped little Maddie into one arm and started placing my junk into the bins. Sure enough, I snagged the smartest TSA agent in the airport.

I placed my Kindle Fire on top of my laptop in the bin when I heard the agent say, “HOLD UP!” (Here we go) Maddie is looking more than a little concerned at the man who has just snapped at me.

“Sir, what is that?”

“UM, a Kindle.”

His face contorted as if were speaking in tongues – “A WHAT?”

“A device that people use to read books and magazines,” I explained.

“Sir, that needs to go in a separate bin.”

Of course now the line is backing up even more as I grip Maddie a little tighter so I can go fetch another bin. I grab the new bin as Maddie grabs my bottom row of teeth. I put the Kindle in a bin of it’s own. Now the baby and I are ready to come through the scanner, but the scanning agent is having a mindless conversation about what time she came to work that morning. Luckily Maddie started grabbing my nose that somehow broke this woman out of her drug-induced coma.

We made it to our gate with only moments to spare, but Maddie was a perfect angel through out the entire process. She was also a delightful flying companion and made it through her first flight like a real pro.

Mad Maddie Prepares for First TSA Encounter

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How is it that my glasses are a threat to national security?

With Maddie’s first flight less than 48 hours away, there are a myriad of scenarios we must be prepared for. Last time I flew, it was just a couple of months before Maddie was born.

Back then, the rocket scientists from the glorious TSA tried to put my pregnant wife through one of their full body scans. “Don’t worry, it’s safe!” grumbled the TSA mega-mind with the impressive grade school education. Thanks doc, but we will opt in for the humiliating cavity search rather than process the baby in your giant microwave oven.

I can only imagine what these hard-core guardians of the gate are going try with the baby. I imagine if they don’t try to send her through the luggage scanners along with our shoes and deadly belt buckles, we will be ahead of the game.

Maddie’s first flight will be a short one, but trying to anticipate her needs and reactions may be a challenge. At 8-months-old, she already has some strong opinions on how she should be dealt with according to her celebrity status.

So how do we handle things in the jet if Maddie goes dark side and terrorizes the pilot or one of the passengers? What if she takes a bite out the landing gear? What is proper protocol for a screaming baby on a flight?

We are all American citizens, but can one of Maddie’s outbursts lead to a mandatory deportation scenario?

There are so many questions that just won’t be answered until we land at our destination. The obvious course of action is to be cool and just let things evolve naturally. But there’s only so much we can do if the baby flips the script on us.

It’s also entirely possible that Maddie’s behavior will be perfect in public. She may very well save all that angst for when we get to the hotel. We know that either way we will have to pay the piper – the only question is will it happen in a public or private setting?