After the colossal clusterfuck of our flight out to Chicago (which, I’d like to remind you was on American Airlines. Once again, American Airlines.), it was good to settle in with my family. We’re a tight knit group and the vibe is always as casual as hanging out with close friends. My niece is three months younger than my son and even though they live 2000 miles apart, we’ve managed to get them together a few times a year. As a result, a nice friendship is forming between them which is fun to watch. We were visiting for my niece’s second birthday. As the trip was approaching, I started to get the Bean ready.
“What are you going to say to your cousin when you see her?” I asked.
The answer was the same every time, “Boo-yah!”
True to his word, the Bean said “boo-yah” to his cousin when he first saw her. Soon after, he was introducing her to the characters of his favorite show, “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
It wasn’t long before a bottle of wine was opened. I watched as the Bean shifted from apprehension to affection for my sister’s dog. We stared at the snowfall (his first) and I taught him to catch flakes on his tongue. His cousin brought out her Hokey Pokey Elmo and I was secretly proud as the Bean repeatedly pushed it down and laughed. We ate delicious, soggy Italian beef sandwiches that must have weighed a pound each and are the kind of thing you can only find in the Windy City. On the day of my niece’s birthday, we all gorged on too many cupcakes. We drank more wine.
On Saturday, the Bean went down for his nap and I decided to do the same. An hour went by and as I slept the Bean started screaming. My mom went to check on him to find him covered in blood. She suppressed her impending heart attack long enough to discover that the blood was coming from his nose.
“I picked a boogie!” the Bean was sobbing.
She brought the kid downstairs and woke me up. We calmed him down by eating frozen yogurt in bed and watching the first 20 minutes “Cars” (for the 5th time so far that weekend). Sometimes cartoons and sugar are the things that you need to feel better.
The weekend went by too quickly and it wasn’t long before the Bean and I found ourselves back at the airport. This time, I made sure we got there early. Of course, in the rush to get to the airport, I had forgotten to give the kid a proper lunch. By the time we got through security, he was starting to lose it. Ever the vigilant dad, I tried to keep him entertained by “juggling” a few bottles of water as we waited for our meal.
It must be said that I can’t juggle. But it worked. The Bean laughed and started chanting, “Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain! Doitagain!”
There were two people waiting at the counter with us and I turned to them and said, “I bet I know what you’re thinking…‘I hope they’re not on the same plane as me.’”
One blushed. This was exactly what she was thinking. The other said in a tone that was just a little too rushed and slightly defensive, “Oh no. I wasn’t.” A few moments went by before he leaned in and said, “So where are you going?”
We killed time by watching the airplanes come and go from the big window in the terminal. There were two women watching him as he pointed out every plane, truck and service vehicle that he saw. Once the kid realized he had an audience, he really turned on the charm and kept everyone entertained until it was time to board.
I’m hyper sensitive when boarding a plane with a small child. People have no patience for babies on planes, as did I before I was a parent. As we settled into our seats, a dog began to bark. A woman in the row ahead of us was cradling her yappy little mutt in her arms like an infant. Suddenly, the attention turned away from the Bean and me and we all collectively began to hate the woman with the barking dog.
The four hours in a metal tube passed slowly. The Bean watched the beginning of “Cars” again twice (bringing the grand total to 7 times for the weekend). Then he switched to the “Doodlebops”, which is normally can’t stand but stuck on a plane with nothing to do, I found myself oddly mesmerized by the show. I tried to decide if Deedee Doodle was hot when she took off all of that makeup. A little later on, I gave the kid an unopened Matchbox car that I had been saving for the trip, which the Bean named “Airplane.”
We touched down in Los Angeles without incident and both beamed giddy grins when WonderWife™ met us at the baggage claim. It was a great trip, but it was really good to be home.
I was in bed by 8:30 that night.