Somehow, through a convergence of factors, we have flown approximately 1 million times since N was born. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. It only seems like that many, because I’m measuring flight in baby-airport, which is like dog years, but 353,240 times lengthier.
So, here’s a little guideline on what to expect when you go through airport screening pre- and post-baby:
1. Take off shoes.
2. Put bag on the scanner.
3. Remove toiletries and place in bin.
4. Step into the spinny scanning thing and make sure to flip it off whilst assuming the position with hands over head (thanks to my friend Randy for giving me that little tip to make you feel just slightly like you’re sticking it to the man when in truth, you’re just a powerless empty shell of a human at this point).
5. Get patted down on head and shoulders because your hair is just so huge and fabulous. Oh wait, that’s just me….. totes embarrassing.
6. Think, “Wow, that was annoying.”
7. Walk to gate.
8. Get Starbucks. Aaaaah. Refreshing.
9. Read, then get on plane.
1. Push baby stroller through a winding queue.
2. Get sent back because the baby does not have her own boarding pass because you checked in online and the last airline you flew didn’t require a separate printed one. Do not pass go; do not collect $200. Do collect boarding pass.
3. Return with boarding pass. Repeat step one.
4. Have TSA snatch stroller so they can wipe it down with their magical mean-thought-detecting wand.
5. Take baby out to send car seat through the scanner.
6. Hold baby. Remove shoes while holding baby.
7. Pick shoes up from ground while holding baby.
8. Put bags – millions of bags, at least 12 filled with only diapers and Puffs – on scanner.
9. Walk baby through metal detector, as babies are not allowed in spinny thing.
10. Baby’s zebra puppet is removed from her hands, exponentially upping possibility of meltdown. But, hey, we all know zebras are a prime suspect and we’re totally species profiling, right?
11. Get hands wiped with magical stick in case there’s any nefarious juice on them.
12. Bag gets stopped in conveyor because you forgot to remove the milk from bag.
13. Milk bag must be subjected to radioactive test, probably killing any good nutrients in the breast milk.
14. Stroller is STILL getting wiped down by super-zealous TSA employee. Therefore…
15. Continue to hold squirmy baby and try to get things off conveyor while being yelled at by other TSA peeps for holding up the line.
16. Think curses at all other citizenry who are crowding you, scowling at you and NOT helping. People, I’m holding a baby, not Patient Zero. You don’t have to leave a 15-foot radius around me, and you could help.
17. Remember you’re still barefoot on disgusting airport floor. Just remember. There’s not actually much you can do about it.
18. FINALLY receive stroller and put baby in it.
19. Get milk, shoes, possessions. Cram feet in shoes. Stroll away.
20. Return for lost zebra puppet. DO NOT FORGET ZEBRA PUPPET. Your life for the next three hours depends on zebra puppet.
21. Realize shoes are not actually fastened to feet and are instead flopping. Sexy.
22. Walk toward gate.
23. Stop for diaper change.
24. Toilet flushes in family bathroom. Obviously MONSTER is in bathroom. Meltdown.
25. Think about coffee. Don’t get coffee (#breastfeedingftw #postbabybudgetFTW).
26. Oh that’s right. Need to breastfeed. No nursing room at this airport (unless you’re Love Field – in which case, you’re amaaaazing. All other airports, learn from them).
27. Feed baby. Meltdown managed.
28. Walk to gate.
29. Gate check stroller and car seat.
30. Amuse baby.
31. Get on plane.
And then, from there on, that’s a whole different story. Fortunately, N is actually pretty good-natured about this whole process, but still… that’s only with one kid. I salute you parents with multiple kids – I don’t know how you do it!