Traveling with a 5-year-old is not for the faint-at-heart.
My Boston granddaughter visits my man and me for a wonderful wacky week, but now it’s time for me to fly her back to the “right” coast.
Because of a planned 6:30 a.m. shuttle for a 9 a.m. flight, I urge my rosebud to bed early the night before and warn her that “I’ll wake you up tomorrow so we can make our flight on time!”
Every other morning, the sleepy princess slumbers past 8:30, and her devious grandmother (yes, that’s me), anxious for the day’s fun to begin, releases the button to her air mattress, deflating the bed and waking the befuddled girl.
So on flight day, I wake up at 5 a.m., figuring I have 75 minutes to shower, dress, and pack before the little one is woken.
But at 5:15, I hear a noise in the child’s room and find her dressed (including headband, shoes, and bracelet), ready to “help” her Madre.
Have you ever packed with a 5-year-old? Each item is lovingly petted, then thrown into the suitcase with wild abandon. The child practices bouncing and jumping on the said suitcase so that it closes properly.
However, her red carry-on case is cajoled to close too aggressively, and one of the side locks suddenly appears in the girl’s hand. Her wide blue eyes express the perfect sentiment:
We swirl to the airport and stand in line at security, me handling my suitcase, her suitcase, my carry on and her carry on, while simultaneously holding granddaughter’s hand.
The line is long, the wait interminable for a wide-awake little girl. “Mommy always lets me sit on my carry on,” she explains patiently.
Well, Mommy wasn’t missing a lock, I mumble to myself, but for the sake of happiness, I let my sweetuns sit (softly! I admonish) on her hard red case.
But the damn lock is missing, and with 10 people ahead of us, and 98 behind, the red case explodes open.
Out pops 6 My Little Ponies; 1 toothbrush; 4 headbands; 1 long-legged, pink-clad doll; 3 Fancy Nancy books; and 1 kid’s medical kit that includes a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, 1 thermometer, and 1 reflex hammer.
The security guard barks, “Keep it moving!” as I frantically throw the items, now spread out on the airport floor like ants on a picnic table, into the red case.
“Hurry, Madre,” my granddaughter exclaims, probably hearing the exasperated sighs behind us.
Miraculously, I jam it all in and snap the case (sort of) shut, leaving out not even one little pony.
We make it to our airplane seats unimpeded, although I admit my grateful sigh is loud enough to induce some chuckles in the rows in front and behind us. I pray that the little one is as tired as I am after our early morning trials, but she proceeds to talk, and talk, and talk the entire 5 ½-hour-trip! Not that her conversation isn’t fascinating, but halfway through I suggest it’s time for us to take a nap.
I could have suggested we take a flying leap out of the airplane at 3,000 feet in the air.
“Madre! Did you forget I don’t nap anymore???!”
Two hours later I suggest we close our eyes, just to give them a rest.
“I’m not tired, Madre, but you can close your eyes.” She proceeds to examine me with her medical kit, stethoscope on my chest and thermometer on my lips, to see if there is a medical reason for my fatigue.
And then, she asks to go to the bathroom, noting that the “pilots” seem to walk to the rear of the plane often (she doesn’t understand the difference between air flight attendants and pilots, and I’m so impressed that she thinks it’s normal to have three female pilots for one plane, I don’t try to explain).
But when we make it to the back, my granddaughter is shocked and dismayed at the “pilots” sitting in their seats, facing the wrong way.
“HOW CAN THEY STEER FROM HERE???” she screams in concern.
Philosophically, I think sometimes that’s exactly how it feels in life – we steer from the wrong end of the plane.
But I ditch my ruminations, buy her a ginger ale and a box of raisins, and we read “The Night Before Kindergarten” until the plane gently lands.
Facing the right way.
20 thoughts on “Adventures in Babysitting”
lovely lovely detail Pam, lovely lovely deatil… the chuckles in response to the sigh, the ponies, the fancy nancy, and the complete 180 affect change on the part of your grand daughter at seeing the pilots driving backwards. thank you so much for this morning’s laugh (and cute grand daughter by the way, i love her pose and hair flower…)
This child definitely fits under that category of ‘old soul.’ I think she’s already worrying about which way she’s going to steer her life!
A delightful piece! Well done! Just the right sprinkling of detail to season and not overwhelm the piece. Love the ending! Can’t wait for your next post!
Wow, thank you. I try to keep my posts short, but couldn’t figure out which part of the ‘adventure’ to edit out. But I did leave out the description of the spilled drink and dunking (on the floor) for escaped ice cubes!
Oh, I love that age! What a good grandmother you are! And is it me, or does she look exactly like you?!
Blush, blush. Yes, many (including my daughter) have said grandmother and granddaughter are alike in many ways. What a huge compliment!!!
This was a scream. I’ve never had a suitcase pop open. I’ve never flown with children. But I’m a mom and a MoMo so I know what sort of stuff can happen when kids are involved. Always an adventure!
And, we’re writers, so no matter how crazy the adventure it becomes, we can record it for posterity!! 🙂
this is adorable. Yes,I’ve flown probably the same flight with a 5-year-old, my son, who stuffed his power ranger suitcase with toys. it was so cute. During our trip we went to disney world, where he picked up some toy star wars weapon, bright pink and neon green. I thought nothing of it until the power rangers bag was going through the scanners at LAX and suddenly cages came down and officials came out of the walls. The power ranger bag was taken out for closer inspection. I had to go forward, The toy held up security for about 20 minutes. we ended up having to check it. it’s funny now!
Well, I have to admit, I’m grinning as I read of the scenario with you, your son, the power ranger toy, and security. But I can see that at the time, you probably weren’t smiling!
Wonderful, Pam! I can see it all happening…..
I was blushing, sighing and laughing and falling asleep with you all the way through. Great piece…if in doubt, read them a story:-)
The storyteller keeps the plane (and life) landing in the right direction, don’t you think??
My girl, you should be a writer! LOL. I adore reading your stories. OK, I’ve told you that sixteen times before. Funny things used to happen to me, too (not as funny as your adventure with the adorable granddaughter) but lately things seem less funny. Hmmm, wonder why that is. Well, if the funny bone needs to be tickled I know just where to go.
Finding the humor in steering backwards is a struggle sometimes, definitely. And I think as we get older, sometimes, we’re more aware that we all are just not in the front of the plane. :-0
We’re not? lol!
Love and patience steers the plane when you’re with your grandchild! You don’t get that much needed nap until the mom takes her back and then it’s time to collapse! However, there is nothing more worthwhile of loss of sleep and constant ear drumming, than the experience of being with these little ones (even when they’re older!). The mere thought of them summons smiles and warmth but being with them is everything. I could feel the love from here Pam! Thanks for sharing such a warm, funny, loving visual!
Well what a great metaphor. Love and patience steer us in life, too, yes? And yes, a LOT of love was going on during the ‘adventures in babysitting.’ Can’t wait to do it again!
You are such a kind and patient ‘Madre’. Your granddaughter seems like such a precious little thing and I love how you used the story to create such a wise philosophy of life! 🙂
THANK you – it’s not hard to be patient with the most adorable little girl on the planet, of course. 🙂 I have a feeling she’ll continue to teach me many more lessons about life.
Comments are closed.