We’re home from the 2 week, 4 city, Family/Friends of the Midwest Tour 2011!
One of the questions I’ve been asked several times already is whether the social story helped prepare M for the flight. For the flight to Ohio, yes, I’d say that it did. Overall both boys did well, as long as Mark was continually entertaining Menininho, until the last 45 minutes or so. Not bad for an all day trip on 3 hours sleep with no nap!
The return flight though? Buckle your seatbelts while I take you for a little ride, folks.
M started stimming before we’d been in the car long. Not a good sign. As soon as my mom dropped us off at the security line, he began nipping at the baby, trying to bite me, and wandering away. The TSA officer kept asking me “Can’t you collapse this stroller anymore? What about the carseat?” as though I was trying to make his job difficult. On the other side of the metal detector, I set M up on the table (you know the one: it’s like 18” off the floor?) so he couldn’t run away while I packed back up the bags & got Baby J situated. Another TSA officer became agitated and said “Ma’am, you’re not allowed to set the child on the table. He could fall off! Do you know, we once had a little girl fall off!”
Seriously? Because if I had to pick my 2 year old son running away through the airport or falling off a low-to-the-ground table, I know which one is more likely to occur and be more dangerous, and it’s not the table.
Anyway, the boys and I headed to the Air Tran gate so I could see about being allowed to pre-board. M doesn’t do well with lots of people in a crowded space, and is therefore less likely to have a meltdown if he can board without being crowded by other people. The attendant at the desk was about my age and one of those people who you can just tell doesn’t like kids or people with kids.
“Hi! I was wondering if we can preboard. My son has autism and – “
“Yah, sure,” he cut me off. “I’ll let you know when you can board.”
Cue the blood-curdling scream.
I looked over to see the Menininho taking Baby J’s foot out of his mouth. All of J’s toes and the top of the foot were covered in deep, purple teeth marks. I asked the attendant if there was a first aid station and he said no, but he’d call someone. I thanked him and said I just needed some alcohol to clean the baby’s foot. Then, I tried to keep calm while taking care of the hysterical baby and holding on to M’s harness, while he was banging his head against the floor. I could tell the attendant was laughing at me to whomever he was talking with, but I couldn’t understand why and at that moment I didn’t care.
After a few minutes, a woman in a security-type vest approached me. “Is this the baby who got hurt? What happened?” she asked. I explained I just needed an alcohol swab.
“Um, we don’t have those,” she said. “You said you needed first aid, so we called the fire department.”
The fire department. I can’t make this stuff up.
Apparently the smug attendant gets his kicks out of humiliating women with crying kids. He could have explained that “calling someone” meant the fire department! I would have opted for soap and water. As it was, the bite marks were beginning to fade so although there would be a bruise, the skin wasn’t broken and alcohol wasn’t necessary. But, you can’t un-call the fire department, so we had to sit and wait.
4 or so firemen showed up, cooler and equipment in hand. I was already crying at this point because you can either cry or laugh and I sure wasn’t ready to find any humor in the situation. I was mortified! So, I’m trying to explain to one fireman that I am very sorry he got called and I never meant for him to be called while another fireman keeps asking me “Where is the man who bit your baby?”
BECAUSE IT TOTALLY MAKES SENSE THAT SOME 40 YEAR OLD MAN IS RUNNING AROUND THE AIRPORT BITING BABY TOES, rather than, you know, the TWO YEAR OLD CLINGING TO MY LEG doing it.
He seriously did not believe me at first that M bit the baby.
Talk about starting the trip home with a bang! It just went (further) downhill from there: no restaurants, no actual preboarding after all, spilled drinks, screaming, and an I-haven’t-pooped-in-5-days gift from the baby (contained in the Ergo at least).
I will never, ever fly Air Tran again after this. It will be awhile before I’m willing to fly solo with the boys again, either.
At least we made it home alive though!