Traveling with 2 toddlers!

Travel date: MY BIRTHDAY!

Destination: THE HOMELAND!

 

Description: I never thought I would have my children in NY, as I was very against them being Nuyoricans. But as fate would have it, it seems all my kids will be born and probably raised in NYC. So I have taken the task of trying to take them to the homeland every year. I want them to grow up knowing where half of their roots are from and what it really means to be Puerto Rican. Know about the Island, but actually explore it, learn to love it and enjoy it as much as I did. This trip was quicker than I had hoped but it was packed of adventure, emotion, and tons of fun.

To get there was the hardest task I have completed since becoming a mother, besides birthing my kids and nursing them for a year and change. The task was traveling by myself with both of them, while pregnant. Never thought I would do it. I wasn’t worried about the flight itself, as much as going through security.

 

This is how everything went down: I get up early, drop my mom and sister off at the airport, get home, get the boys ready, pack the car, and go to the airport. I get there around 11:30 for my 2:30 flight. I checked the bags in. Because my husband is awesome and he’s an ATC, we skipped the security line. This meant little. I had the two kids, the double stroller, the stroller bag, the diaper bag, and my carry on. In the carry on, there was a laptop, the iPad, and the tablet. Needless to say it took FOREVER, to get through security. I took all the electronics out, put the bags on the line, take the boys out of the stroller. I carry one of them and hold the other ones hand. Once we get through, the first tantrum begins. Gavin DID NOT want to go back in the stroller. I managed to bribe him with candy (don’t judge me, these are desperate measures!), I got to the terminal and I felt exhausted! I had time to spare and thankfully the terminal had a playground, which helped burn some energy.  When it was time to get in the plane it got a bit complicated again as I had to take them out of the contained stroller and put the stroller in the bag and give it to the person. The flight itself was quite pleasant considering the circumstances. I even got a HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT FROM THE NYC ATCS AND THE CAPTAIN!

While there we had tons of fun, I took the boys to Old San Juan and El Morro, we went to the beach, and then we explored my birth city.  I also had the opportunity to rent a boat and take them to my favorite place in the whole Island, La Parguera.

Coming back. That was the WORST part of my trip. I arrived at the airport early enough hoping that I would have plenty of time to make it through security. I knew things were heading in the wrong direction when my bags were overweight (I’m a super good packer, never go over 49), so I had to start moving around things. Not realizing I would have to remove everything off the stroller I started putting things in the stroller basket. Now bags checked. And the worse begins. Take all the electronics out of the bag, my shoes, put my bags on the belt, and then take the boys out of the stroller. Gavin again refused to go through security so I had to carry him. Then he didn’t want to go back in the stroller so that I could pack everything back from the x-ray machine. Finally get him in the stroller. Get to the terminal, charge my phone a little bit, go get dinner (airport pizza and a quesito, which is the one thing I wanted to bring back and forgot!!!). Now probably what made things worse, my flight was delayed 20 minutes. I was able to calm the boys down for while by walking in circles in the terminal, but to be honest I was beyond exhausted. So here begins the tantrums.

 

Gavin: “I want to walk mami”

Me: “Gavin mami is really tired and we have to get ready to go on the airplane”

Gavin: “MAMI GET ME OUT THE STROLLER”

Me: “Gavin, please don’t yell, everyone is looking at you”

Gavin: “MAMI LETS GO ON THE AIRPLANE”

Me: Crap, now I have to go pee. “Gavin, mami has to go potty and then we go on the airplane”

Gavin: now crying “MAMI DON’T GO POTTY, WE GO ON THE AIRPLANE NOW”

Me: go to the bathroom, and it was closed for cleaning, so now I had to drag my myself with the kids to the other side of the airport for the other bathroom, with two screaming kids, and hauling my carry on.

 

Bathroom done and now is almost boarding time, but our plane wasn’t even there yet. I REALLY REALLY REALLY wish someone recorded me and I find myself on youtube one day, because what I went through was beyond CRAZY. Probably the biggest test of patience of my LIFE.  I take Glenn out of the stroller and against the wall put him in the Ergo on my back. Then take Gavin out and put his harness and tie him up to the carrier, so that I can have both hands to put the stroller away. I continue to remove everything of the stroller and open the stroller bag, (While I am doing this Gavin is screaming and crying to get on the airplane and Glenn is pulling my hair). I put the stroller away. Now I have to go to the bathroom again. But the problem is I have a massive bag with the stroller (this is no red gate check stroller bag), and my carry on and I’m carrying one kid. I come back to the gate. I can feel people staring at me, some of them in pure agony, and some in shock, some of them mockingly. I brush it off. At this point I just wanted to start crying, but I held it together like a champ. I gave them a snack to calm them down. It worked for all of 3 minutes. Glenn took all the goldfish and dropped them on the floor while pulling my hair to make me move, while Gavin started crushing the goldfish on the floor. Now I’m starting to get anxious. Gavin starts pulling me towards the plane. Now second tantrum begins.

 

Gavin: “MAMI LETS GO HOME RIGHT NOW”

ME: “Gavin this is going to be a really long flight if you don’t calm down, please relax this is a 5 hour flight and we need to behave because there are other people coming with us”

Gavin: “MAMI IS NOT 5 HOURS IS 4 HOURS, I WANT TO GO NOW, CALL PAPI”

Me: how the heck did this kid know the flight was 4 hours and not 5, how the hell he knows to call papi to get us home? “Ok Gavin let me call papi”. I pick up the phone and the husband at work. It was busy so I had to wait like 5 minutes to get him.

“Gary, I never ask you for anything when it comes to work, but do WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET ME OF THIS ISLAND”

Gary: “Baby, I’ll try my best, it’s really busy, what do you really want me to do?”

Me: “Our plane is not here yet, can you clear some lanes so that it can get here quicker, I need to go NOW”

Gary: “I’ll do my best”

Gavin: “MAMI LETS GO, THE PEOPLE ARE GOING”

Me: “Gavin, if you’re not good Papi won’t tell the pilot to let us go”

Gavin: “Papi says we have to go home!”

 

Plane gets here and they start boarding, of course they start boarding people in the first rows. So third tantrum begins.

 

Gavin: “MAMI LETS GO NOW I WANT TO GO HOME”

Me: “we have to wait our turn baby, see there’s a line”

Gavin: “I DON’T WANT TO WAIT OUR TURN I WANT TO GO ON THE AIRPLANE”

Me: someone please shoot me. I see the same people still staring at me like they were watching a movie and wanted to see what was going to happen next. I think secretly they all thought I was going to loose it and hit one of the kids. Glenn is still pulling on my hair through all of this happening. And now we go on line to board the plane. We get to our seats, I secure Gavin and put my stuff away. We take off and both of them are out cold! Yet I couldn’t sleep. I kept replaying everything in my head, and thinking to myself I can’t believe this just happened.

I finally doze off and woke up to the captain welcoming me to NYC (Not the regular welcome, but over PA announced “Welcome home Gaskin family”). When we get off the plane, I have to open the stroller and put the boys in it. The guy at the gate is trying to rush me and I give him the deadliest look. He noticed and replied: “Sorry, I didn’t know you had that much to do”. First thing I do when I see my dear husband is hug him and without wanting to I start crying.

 

The question of why I did all this and what it means, I answered to my therapist a week later. I did it because I needed to prove to myself that I could. And it means that I can do anything. Not claiming to be super woman, but can be sure I could be if I wanted. I always compare myself to other local moms who take their kids to the library, to the playground, have regular play dates, different classes. Yet none of them drive by themselves to another state, or would even think of flying to another country under the circumstances that I did. So yeah it made me feel powerful. It made me feel weak but yet invincible because I was able to overcome the situation and gracefully manage the stress I was under. Needles to say I will not be doing this for a loooong time!!!! 

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July 18, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Thanks Dora

Dora the Exploradora, not my favorite kid show but my “on the road got to gal!”. See what happened was that last black friday I gave in and bought a DVD player for the car. My boy was a bit to uninterested from the My Baby Can Read dvds, so I put on some DVD that a coworker gave my husband. And that day I fell in love with the way Dora captured my boys attention while I was driving… The love affair only lasted through the holidays and the amusement definitely died soon, but last Friday as I was getting ready to drive by myself with the boys from VA to NY I decided to try another one of the bunch of dvds we got from that coworker! It ended up being a compilation of Dora episodes that I have never seen. See we are a Disney family, totally not a Nick family, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that Gavin, now almost 26 months enjoying the new episodes and quietly sit in his car seat for 6+ hours without a complain in the World!

So thanks Dora for allowing me to drive unworried about one kid while slowly torturing the other one who at 8 months made it clear he really does not like you a bit and decided to scream for all of 6+ hour drive!

How I made it to NY is a mystery to me! Just happy to be home, but definitely missing the mini vacation with all the extra sets of helping hands at my moms place!

October 8, 2012. Tags: , , . toddlers, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Letting a toddler be a toddler?

Talking to a mommy friend this afternoon I started wondering if I was a good mom. The reason I started wondering was because of all the moms I know, I’m the only one that doesn’t try to teach her kids school material. Ok let me explain, my husband and I decided to let our toddler be a toddler and just play all day instead of trying to structure his day and school him on things like, colors, numbers and animals and such. We want out kids to just enjoy the only time in his life where he has to worry about nothing except what toy to play with next. We figure he will know all of that stuff eventually. Well my mommy friend explained to me how she has a preschool kind of setup at her house and she tries to teach her as much as possible. In a way I was jealous, I wish I could get that motivation and take advantage of the sponge that is my toddlers brain. I sometimes envy all those kids that are about the same age and know how to identify all the colors, animals, now all the numbers and the alphabet.

Yet, I’m proud of my toddler boy, he knows all the numbers from 1 to 12 in English and 1 to 10 in Spanish. Knows a fair share of animals and foods and knows what all of his toys are called. He also loves to read books, during the day, even with the tv on, he will pick a book and make me read it about 3 times before he goes and gets another one. And before he goes to bed we read about 7 books!!! It’s exhausting! He also knows all the parts of his head. He knows: head, ears, mouth, teeth, hair, nose and eyes, he also knows hands, feet, belly, butt, and pipi! How does he know all this you ask, he learned it from his apps on the iPad. He got he iPad when he was about 5 months and we downloaded all of the Fisher-Price apps that mention the numbers, parts of the body and so on. And although is learning for him is fun. I’m not trying to be a teacher. The apps for him are a toy, if he happens to learn from it then that’s just a bonus. I do have to mention we do the numbers every time we go up or down our stairs and we do the body parts when we bathe him but that’s about it.

I’m not hating on those moms out there! I actually commend you and which I had the same will. But for real once they go to Kindergarden is over, it’s learning for the rest of their lives. They will be in school for 12 years and then more if they go to college! I wish, I could go back in time and enjoy my toddlerhood twice as much as I did. Learning as I go and playing all day long!!!

June 18, 2012. Tags: , . toddlers. Leave a comment.