I remember sort of shrugging my shoulders and chuckling as I watched people’s reactions to our itinerary:
Pre-dawn Friday – NY to Western WA by plane with a layover in Chicago
Friday afternoon – Western WA to Eastern WA by car
Monday afternoon – Eastern WA to Western WA by car
Dawn Thursday – WA to CA by plane
Saturday night – CA to WA by plane
Pre-dawn Sunday – WA to NY by plane with another layover in Chicago
Monday am – Back to work
“It’ll be fun” we said.
And it was. But Monday, ya Monday was everything you can imagine and more. Total intellectual arrest. No ability to coordinate thought with action or reaction, just achey, slow ineptitude. All day.
Back to the trip, Briar was a champ from beginning to end.
Once again I must hop up on my soap box and say that breastfeeding is the ultimate everything: it soothes; it nourishes; it heals; it bonds; it entertains; it pops ears; it quells fussing; it grows incredible babies; it stifles even the most debilitating fear of flying; it brings your figure back!
Our little Briar didn’t make a peep on the first two flights. She sat on my lap, played with toys, nursed and slept. At one point she was so zonked out that she went totally limp, spread eagle on her back with her mouth wide open. It killed me looking down at those plump, beautiful lips of hers. So pink and full. Her eyelids were/are the most incredible lavender and sea shell pink blend. And those eyelashes. They are impossibly long and curl up in the most perfect little flip. When she would wake from her naps she would check us both out, give our arms a little rub, or bump her head affectionately against our chests. I should say that she did make ‘some’ noise. Turns out we have an incredible flirt on our hands. She would crane her neck and find men throughout the plane that tickled her fancy. It took only seconds for these men to lose all inhibition and just make faces at her while cooing or telling her how wonderful she was. A couple of times I became completely irrelevant as she leaned over me to make eyes at the person sitting behind me. It was so fun to watch because of the “people with an infant on a plane” factor.
Man alive, people do not hide the fact that they are disgusted at the prospect of being anchored next to a baby on a cross country flight. They roll their eyes, they whisper to each other, they mutter little “oh great” and “just my luck” sayings. It being our first time I think we may have experienced the tiniest twinge of fear that Briar might indeed melt down into a screaming ball. It’s hard to remember now. It seems like her perfect travel companion-ness went without saying. I had planned in advance to nurse her during take off and landing to combat any ear aches etc. I had no idea how well she would sleep or how incredibly fascinated she would be with the window.
I have, for as long as I can remember, sought out aisle seats. Just always seemed easier to be able to get up to go to the bathroom whenever I wanted rather than waiting until my napping seat mate woke up, or until someone puts their tray up, or worse yet, until it feels like enough time has passed since the last time. Having to get up for others never bothered me because it was just another excuse to stand up and stretch my legs. The aisle also allows you to straighten your legs during the times the flight attendants are not trollying down the aisle singing, “Elbows, knees and feet. Watch those elbows, knees and feet.” The times Sean and I flew before Briar I would take the center seat and Sean would take the window. I honestly couldn’t think of a reason to be near the window. Granted my flight hysteria comes into play and looking out the window only used to feed my visions of plummeting to a fiery death, or a death at sea, or a long, slow spiral to certain death as that flimsy, patch welded wing tore to pieces. This trip Sean suggested I take the window with Briar. I was so focused on not panicking and transmitting fear hormones (do they exist??) to her through my breastmilk or just through vibes coming from a quaking, sweating mama that I just slid into the window seat. Brief side note, Sean was the one who cautioned me not to terrorize Briar with my fear. I think it was a strategy – brilliant, crafy husband-o-mine. I digressed.
Briar and I took the window. After the take off she popped off my breast, looked over at her dad, checked out the people behind us and then twisted sideways on my lap to look out the window. She literally pressed her face against the window. She looked side to side. I pointed things out and she followed where I directed her to look.
Gotta interrupt here again and just say that when your baby starts to respond it is so cool! It’s this combination of awe and pride. Your child is brilliant! My god! My kid, my baby, she’s turning when she hears her name! She’s following my finger! She is crawling over to me when I call. I am getting through! She hears me, she cares, she gets it! I taught her something, I imparted knowledge…ok getting carried away with exclamation points, but seriously, from the first time she held my finger, to the time she smiled at me while I changed her diaper, to having her turn to look at me when I whispered her name in her ear, it has all beeen so incredibly amazing. Sean and I created this magnificent little person who is becoming more of who she is every single day.
So clearly the window thing was big for Briar’s mama. I am pretty happy to sign off on this happy and proud note. Sean has come home from work and I have an awesome sandwich in front of me, compliments of the aforementioned husband, who, if he happens to be reading this, should know that I am wildly in love with him.