Friday, May 21, 2010

I Believe I Can Fly

Both girls spent a huge proportion of our vacation playing in my parent's back garden. Never mind that it was a full 20º (that's centigrade, people) cooler than California. They were impervious to the cold. Granted Lucy was a little puzzled to be straight-jacketed in layer after layer of clothing and topped with an absurdly overlarge hat:

I wasn't about to be buying any winter clothing for a 10 day sojourn in the UK, particularly as we are hurtling towards our 9 month summer in California, so I just made them wear all their clothes. At once. I was hoping for boho chic, but it turned out more like 'I'm wearing my carry-on'. Of course, now I review my photos, all the English children in the background are wearing nothing but t-shirts, jeans and rosy cheeks and my children look like miniature bag ladies.

Back to flying. Anna was devoted to launching herself off the back patio in an absurd parody of flight:

"Look at me fly Lucy!". She also performed something called 'gliding', not unlike flying, except with an odd contortion towards landing. I nicknamed it the 'spiral fracture'. She was obsessed with 'flying'.

Me, not so much.

As I sit here typing away at 5am (I heart jetlag), I'm still trying to find the words for flying halfway across the world with two under 5s. I've basically concluded that it's not unlike a marriage. We started off well, LK launched a charm offensive on the Continental staff at Manchester Airport, who no doubt snow-blinded by his massive American teeth, let us dodge the hoi-poloi queue and check in interfrastically at the 'First Class' ticket counter. The girls did their best to win over every Mancunian within earshot; "Hi! My name is Anna! I am 4 and 3/4. My Mom is Alison, she is 36! I have 8 My Little Ponies, their names are....." OK, so maybe Manchester was glad to see the back of us, but it started well. I'm sure LK was impressed by my efficient production of paperwork and filing of passports by age and nationality. He probably just didn't want to get caught demonstrating his overwhelming love for me.

But how quickly things degenerate when four family members are stuck in an area the size of a laundry cupboard for 28 hours. I'm not sure we'd even entered International Waters by the time we were both considering divorce. Lucy slept on me and only on me, I still have the armrest pressure sores. Do you know what it's like trying to stop a toddler kicking the seat in front when that seat is practically resting on your knees? I had to admit, the urge to let her keep kicking to gently 'persuade' the passenger in front to push his seat back in to the upright position was strong. I didn't though. I am meek, and do not expect to inherit the earth.

LK on the other hand had the aisle seat, so he was responsible for walking Lucy up and down the plane while she tried to snag headsets and toupees from every passenger. By the time we reached New Jersey we were both pretending we couldn't smell that dirty diaper even though it was mere inches from our noses.

It was hard work. Brutal, really. The jet lag has also been a joy. The girls waking at 3am yesterday morning to demand breakfast and inquire 'why isn't is morning? Is it morning now? What about now?'

It was completely worth every minute though - or maybe I'm suffering a form of childbirth amnesia and I'm already forgetting the true horror. I also know that it has to get easier. Next time Lucy will have her own seat (if she gets a job in the meantime and pays for it.....). She will be easier to reason with, hopefully more inclined to sit still for five seconds and watch a movie. Her sister watched the same episode of Bunnytown for 11,000 miles which means she is either:

b)has the memory of a goldfish
c) awesome!

I am this close to saying why can't you be more like your sister. Except obviously I'm glad they're so different. Now that we're back on the ground.


Expat mum said...

I used to do that on my own. Admittedly it was just an eight hour flight to Chicago, but I fell your pain. It really does test the mettle doesn't it>

Expat mum said...


Monica said...

Lucy looks too cute all bundled up and her clothes!!! And I can't even image 28 hours of flying mania-a 4 hour flight exhausts me-and I'm only dealing with a boyfriend! But I'm glad you finally got to visit home for a well earned vacation! your writing, though I never get to comment, since work blocks the link to your comments!

Life As I Know It said...

I love that first picture of her jumping!

Nimble said...

c) definitely awesome! Any children's tv show episode takes on psychedelic qualities when viewed sufficient times. You start to recognize all the background elements. Not only can you chant along with the dialogue but you get a feeling for the rich lives of these characters outside of their brief parade across the screen. What a mercy she had this rich cultural experience to tune in to instead of bugging you! Welcome back.

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