Musings of a Marfan Mom

I Can’t Make This Stuff Up


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?”


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!

Be Sociable, Share!

Related Post


  1. Oh. My. God. What an asshole.


  2. After flying solo with my two girls, all I can say is: Wow, you’re amazing! It was hard enough for me, and my kids are a little older and don’t have autism adding to the mix. I thought it would be Joci giving me a hard time, what with her being 1 and not understanding what was happening, but she was totally chill the whole time. Chaela, however, had one meltdown after another. In the security line, in the bathroom, when it was time to board, in line for the bathroom on the airplane, and when we got off. Super fun. Never. Again.
    I hope there were at least some other passengers who helped you out if you needed it. And once again: Wow! You’re amazing! Motherhood makes superheros, and you’re one of them.


    marfmom Reply:

    Aw thanks :-) I think you are pretty amazing for having to go at it all alone for awhile while Will had moved on ahead to get ready for you 3 to come!

    I definitely give thanks to the woman who let us ahead of her in the security line and the older man who made eye contact with me and complimented me on the boys before take-off…made me feel like I had at least one ally on the plane!




  4. My, you are brave indeed! Several years ago I made a return trip across state with a severe eye infection, my 3yr old Aspie/Tourette’s/Marfan’s son, and my 6mo old son that had just had cranial surgery that left a HUGE scar across his head. We looked like the walking dead, lol. Half way across the state my car literally burst into flames in the middle of the highway. You can’t make this stuff up. I vowed never to drive long distance alone again.
    We recieved a lovely police escort to a cafe in the middle of no where to await family assistance three hours later.
    Last year my now 16yr old son asked if he could wear a camera on his head because no one believes the stuff that happens to us. In the 18 months before he asked this we had a furnace fire, five unique floods, lost our house and I had managed to stab myself in the palm of my hand with a butter knife… yes, a butter knife. Sometimes we really are that entertaining.


    marfmom Reply:

    Well, I do believe your story tops mine! I’m glad I’m not the only one this kind of stuff happens to (while at the same time being sorry to hear all that has happened to you!).


  5. We joke that we don’t do normal, it’s too boring. I agree though, it’s nice to know you aren’t the only one dealing with crazy but you don’t wish it on anyone!


  6. Wow. Congrats on surviving all those incidents! I agree with the other posts that you are one courageous supermom/superwoman! I would definitely file a complaint with Air Tran!


  7. Traveling with kids is so hard, I give you so much credit. I’m so thankful that Aurora LOVES airplanes. I think that’s 100% thanks to her Granny who took her on her first plane ride. I couldn’t imagen traveling with two kids alone. My husband keeps telling me if I want to go home to visit after the baby is born I’ll be going alone – yeah, right – so not happening! You did an amazing job. Karma will get that guy, if it hasn’t already.


  8. I don’t fly by myself anymore period. AND I don’t have any kids with me anymore – they’re all grown up. I can’t conceive of doing it with children, much less special needs children when you are special needs yourself. You are an incredible woman, my friend. Incredible!!!


  9. My goodness, what an awful day that must have been! I cannot imagine traveling alone with children, you are a brave woman! Hopefully things have calmed down since you got home :)


  10. Oh my!!! What a pain. I swear-some flight attendants-and TSA workers–SO painfully rude and clueless when it comes to kids. I’m so sorry for your day!!


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.