Monday, December 27, 2010
As I descended into Peoria airspace a week ago, I heard it. Something popped inside the ear of a young kid at the front of the plane. He was shrieking, “OOOWWEEEEE! OOOWWEEEE! I want offfffffff the plaaaaaane!” The passengers looked at the boy with expressions that said, “Oh, that poor little boy.” The passengers also looked at the boy’s parents with expressions that said, “What kind of monster takes a small boy on an airplane?”
I was about to fly halfway across the country with two small boys. Two small boys I was technically incapable of taking care of on solid ground. I slowly rocked back and forth in my seat, grinding my fists into my eye sockets. Not only was I out of my league, I was playing the wrong sport.
I had less than 24 hours until go time. I needed a plan. And fast. After arriving at my dad’s I began to work on Public Enemy #1: Elijah. I needed him to behave on two flights and one layover. I needed help. So I began training him in airplane cuteness.
“Eli, what do you say when you meet a flight attendant on the plane?”
“Hi! I Eli! I’m cute and nice.”
Perfect. Next, I moved on to Luca. Before I could instruct him in airline cuteness, he grinned, pointed at my nose and said, “Beep.” He clearly needed no instruction. The kid could teach a graduate level course in cuteness.
I then looked at our luggage situation. We had too much of it. I began chucking everything that wasn’t essential. Books? Gone. Toys? See ya. Life saving medicine? Bye bye. I managed to get our carryon gear to Luca’s carseat, a sack of diapers and a sack of food. My thought was I could keep them from bawling if their faces were crammed with jelly beans.
My dad helped us get to the Peoria airport and got us as far as security. But they would let him go no further. As our gear crawled through the x-ray machine, Elijah took off running, shoeless. Luca’s shoes, on the other hand, seemed to be attached to his feet via Superglue. Taking them off seemed to give him great pain. Our food bag spilled, catching the attention of the security dudes, who felt the need to inspect every jar of baby food, every bean of jelly. I couldn’t seem convince the people behind us to leap over us in line. They were content to watch me die a slow death.
And that was just the security line.