Hugh took his first cross country trip last week. Travel with a two year-old is exhilarating and challenging. Here are some highlights, both ups and downs:
There are two sides of my family when it comes to flying. My dad’s side rode rickety planes to Cuba, wind blowing through the doors. Dad took me in a glider when I was four (and boy, you shoulda seen mom’s face when I got down). In his family, it was required that you learn to fly the family plane before you could get a driver’s license.
Mom’s genes regard flying as a brush with imminent death. She’s never traveled out of the country, and when required to fly, takes 3 Ativan which have absolutely no effect. Unfortunately, it appears that Hugh favors Mom’s side of the family when it comes to flying. When we took off, he screamed, “Help me! We’re gonna fall! I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared!” His face went beet red, his eyes turned red, he literally shook in his seat. How does a two-year old understand the concept of fear? But he does. The anxiety even carried over to the playground. Later in the week, when I put him in a swing – an activity he’s enjoyed since he was 6 months old – he went ballistic and screamed, “get me outta here!”
Hugh fell in love with my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. A restored white farmhouse on 100 acres with rolling green hills, the farmhouse has been a labor of love for them for more than 30 years.
At one point, Hugh took off all his clothes and ran up and down the hills, alternately hiding in the woods, digging in the dirt, jumping in and out of the baby pool and climbing the treehouse. “Mama,” he said. “I pee-peed in the woods!” I’ve never seen him happier than covered head to toe in mud and bug bites, brat and cheese in hand.
City of Angels
After 5 days of being barefoot in rural Wisconsin, Hugh refused to wear shoes when we got to LA. But hey, we were in Venice Beach. Our oceanfront pad had 3 stories of dangerous stairs and a bunkbed so Hugh was in climbing heaven.
He hit all the LA highlights: lots of time on the freeway, a nail salon in Encino and Jerry’s Deli. But the true highlight was the celebration of his Grandpa’s 80th birthday. Hugh made it through a six-course restaurant meal and insisted on using chopsticks when he wasn’t running laps around the room.
I dreaded our Sunday travel day for approximately two months in advance. I knew we’d have two long flights, a layover and tired baby. We woke up at 4am, made it to Houston, then spent a 2.5 hour layover in the Houston airport. I would describe it except that I am still suffering from Layover PTSD. Suffice it to say, it was HELL. But then we were home. And it was heaven.