After being home from Colorado for one month (and even taking a trip to Pittsburgh during that time), the kids and I are in Oregon to visit my parents, sister and her fiancee, for three weeks. It is lovely to come out here and spend time with them. They have a huge, beautiful house, with tons of room for us all and for the kids to run around and explore. My Dad cooks during the week, spoiling me with a break from that sort of household responsibility. We go see my Mom everday for lunch and she tries to take as much time of as they will let her from her job. We do tons of fun activities and outings and cook and just try to enjoy life together.
But of course, first things first, I have to get to Oregon from the opposite coast. Dadam will eventually join us, but he cannot take 3 weeks off work. This means, that I, acting as EveryParent have to, ahem-get to, take our four beautiful children on a cross country airplane trip all.by.my.self.
I have never had them all four, by myself, on a plane before this trip. I've done three, but I hadn't done four. Now I have. It really was okay. The kids are seasoned travelers and they know how to entertain themselves, for the most part. We did have a delay in Chicago, which ended up being three hours, one of which was spent sitting on the plane in the blazing hot. But even that we survived. And went on to survive the subsequent four hour plane ride to arrive in Portland.
On the plane The Bigs love listening to the music. Consequently, the first thing they do, is sit down and fish out the headphones from the pocket in front of them. Subsequently we have a whole routine of "my headphones don't work" and "is this on?" that takes somewhere from five to twenty minutes to sort out. During that time several of the Bigs will blast their own eardrums when they finally find a station that is playing and realize (quickly) that they've managed to turn up the volume all the way. One of The Bigs will actually have a set of headphones that does not work, forcing me, EveryParent who happens to have her hands full of nursing Leila, to talk them through quickly exchanging said non-working headphones for a pair of working headphones from a seat pocket that does not belong to our ticketed seats. And several times one, or all, of The Bigs will attempt to talk to me or each other, with their headphones on; meaning that they will yell at each other, or me, because they can't hear themselves with their headphones on.
Another thing that it is important for The Bigs to check on is if the plane is still moving and still moving forward. I had no idea how to explain why it can be difficult to tell we were moving while we were flying. Or explain why it sometimes felt like we were moving backwards. Or to explain that if we weren't moving forward, we'd be falling out of the sky, which would feel much different and be really, really scary.
I'm happy that this trip will be my final one with a lap baby. Lap babies are not difficult until they become mobile. Then they are hell. All Leila wanted to do was get down and walk. She especially wanted to do this when the seatbelt sign was on, say, during take off and landing. At the end she wasn't even distractable with nursing, which is a big deal for her.
All in all, I suppose it went well. We didn't piss anyone off and I got lots of compliments on how well behaved the kids were. There was a minimum of wailing and gnashing of teeth. And now we're here. On vacation and having a great time!!