I stared up at the glowing board, carefully doing the math in my head. 2pm boarding. Diaper change at 1:45. Get milk ready on plane. When is he supposed to nap? Will he even sleep in the air?
My husband glanced over at me, concern etched into his eyebrows. I could feel my leg jigging up and down, a nervous twitch I never outgrew. My son was playing in the stroller, happily smashing toys together, oblivious to his mothers distress.
“We were allowed his diaper bag to carry on, right?” I questioned, suddenly doubting everything I’d heard from the staff.
“It’s fine,” replied my husband.
He sounded slightly annoyed. How many times had I asked that? So many scenarios were running through my head. What if they didn’t let us bring his bag on? What if they think we stole this airport stroller? What if the plane leaves without us?
“Stop,” grumbled my husband. “You’re going to start an earthquake.”
The jigging. The stupid leg jig. I pushed my hand down into my leg, determined to stop it moving. Stupid habit.
I heard our flight announcement over the speakers. Boarding opening for parents with children. Our turn. I quickly ducked into the parents room and changed the diaper. We hurried to the gate. I knew he was starting to get grumpy, nap time was about 30 minutes ago. Why are planes never on time?
We took our seats, my husband putting our bags overhead while I held onto the diaper bag. We booked him his own seat, even though he didn’t really ‘need’ one. Figured it would be easier to have him between us rather than on our laps. Also saves someone else from sitting next to a baby. Possibly a screaming one.
Take-off was delayed. Baby getting more and more tired by the second. When we finally started to move I quickly whipped out the bottle and started feeding him while we took off from the ground. I read somewhere that it’s supposed to help. He was still fussy though so I don’t know how well it actually worked.
He wasn’t happy being contained on a plane. He finally fell asleep in my arms and that’s where he stayed for hours. Not comfortable at all, but it was more important to me that he sleep. The hours went by incredibly slowly. I watched a few movies, desperately hoping to fall asleep. But sleep never came for me.
My husband was fast asleep beside me. Since I had to hold bubba he was able to spread over two chairs. More room for him, less for me. I knew he’d sleep, but it still made me mad. I couldn’t sleep and had a baby in my lap. Felt somewhat unfair.
We finally started descending. Baby woke up as we started dropping in the sky – the air pressure wasn’t comfortable for me, so it must have been really hard for a little bubba. My husband made a bottle quickly. The air pressure change was irritating him and although I was still unsure the articles were right I was willing to give it a go. I started feeding him as we descended, desperately hoping that the bottle trick did actually work. I think it had some impact, at least he wasn’t screaming. When we finally landed bubba was happy. I was exhausted.
We waited for everyone else to depart the plane. It wasn’t worth fighting the crowds with a baby – he’d get grumpy surrounded by a lot of people. My husband grabbed the carry-ons and we slowly left the plane, smiling at the flight attendants as we finally departed.
“Well, that wasn’t so bad,” said my husband.
I’ve never been as mad as I was in that moment. Easy. Easy for him. It did go better than I expected but I’ve never been so tired in my life, not even when bubba was a newborn.