Two of my children were born in Norway. For those geographically challenged, that’s a little country just south of the North Pole, with 11 months of the darkest days you’ll ever see…followed by 30 of the brightest nights.
With temperatures dipping into double-digit minuses, and two colicky kids in snowsuits with noses running like broken hydrants, I knew it wouldn’t take long before I embraced depression like a red carpet craving Kardashian.
It only took one winter for me to be diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder…who’da thought?
To escape the arctic chill, I took a number of trips back to the States with my kids. This is the story of one such flight that shall forever be etched in my memory…and those of the other traumatized passengers.
I know there may be some who feel that children should be banned from commercial airlines altogether…or if they MUST travel, find a nanny who will care for them in the cargo hold. If this sounds like you, read no further…this might piss you off, and God knows there’s enough out there already loading your shorts.
The year was 1985, and back then a plane ride from Oslo to Seattle took about 11 hours.
The first hour or so of the flight the kids seemed to enjoy themselves immensely with the goody bag I’d packed. It was uncanny how quickly they scribbled on every page of the coloring book while wolfing down the entire supply of gummy bears and raisins. At the rate we were going through juice bottles and Pampers, I calculated both would run out somewhere over the Atlantic. This left me no choice but to strap air sickness bags over their rashy behinds, and use sections of the Duty-free magazine as wipes.
Initially passengers were quite impressed with the way I kept them occupied, but by hour two, a whole new beast broke free. It was naptime, my kids were cranky, and to make matters worse, I’d run out of tricky diversions with which to tame them.
Is it just me?… Why park mothers with kids in middle row seats knowing they’re going to be up and down more often than a Vegas call girl at a Secret Service convention? And why are we ALWAYS sitting next to businessmen who seem angry that women reproduce?
At 30,000 feet a rookie stewardess passed a deck of cards down the aisle to my 2-year old. WTF???? Her world premier shuffle exploded into a game of 52 card pick-up, spraying the cabin of dozing wannabe venture capitalists with laminated shrapnel.
Then…the three words a parent fears most.
“Mommy, I’m sick.”
Before the phrase left her lips she opened her mouth and projectile vomited onto my face and hair. Large chunks of mascara-mingled foreign matter snow-balled down my nose and onto my traveling clothes.
Needless to say, the next 9 hours stunk. I knew then what it felt like to be in solitary confinement.
The plane touched down and there was a mass exodus rivaling a Black Friday stampede. We gathered what was left of our belongings leaving the battlefield behind, and marched toward baggage claim.
When we arrived at immigration the lines of humanity seemed to part. The officer took one look at my hurl hair, and holding a hanky to his nose waved us through. At that moment I realized the lone perk of travelling with an airsick kid….I’ll never be strip-searched.