Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sometimes I Think I've Got This Motherhood Thing Figured Out...

At the beginning of February, I was really proud of myself as a mother. I was also proud of my daughter, S, and how we were together as a team, traveling alone to Phoenix for the weekend to visit my girlfriends from college.

Before I get to why I was proud, I should back up to explain how things were going in Glam-O-Mommy land shortly prior to the trip. S, a heretofore pretty easygoing and sweet kid, had suddenly entered full on into the Terrible Twos. She started hitting me when I told her "no" or when she was mad about something. She also tried scratching me and throwing things. It was terrible. When I booked our Phoenix trip, she was not acting remotely like this, so I was all freaked out, expecting her to be terrible on the trip and make an awful impression on my friends. And stress me out!

Enter the Supernanny
My husband and I began employing the Supernanny "naughty step" concept right away and it definitely worked. The first time she hit or scratched or threw something, we warned her, and if she did it again, we took her to the step, told her why she was there, asked her if she was sorry, made her say it, gave her a hug, and then moved on. At the start, we had to do it multiple times, but then it began nipping the problem in the bud the first time we put her on it.

Still, I was worried. In Phoenix, we were going to see my friends J and R. J is single and does not have children. R is married with four children ages five and below (five-year-old twin girls, a three-year-old girl, and a seven-month-old boy). We were going to be staying with R and her family. A few weeks before the trip, I tried to warn R that I wasn't sure how S was going to be during our visit because of her recent behavior. R immediately began laughing, saying, "Seriously, there's nothing she can do that I haven't already seen with one of my kids! Don't worry--she'll be fine!"

Threat of Snow
The week before we left for Phoenix was extraordinarily cold for San Antonio, with temperatures below freezing and wind chill in the teens. We were leaving on a 9 a.m. flight on Friday morning, direct to Phoenix on Southwest Airlines. All week, the forecasters in San Antonio were predicting snow and ice for Friday morning. If snow fell, this would be a problem, because if San Antonio sees one eensy snow flurry, it says, "HELL TO THE NO!" and completely shuts down the highways and everything else.

However, I was not worried. San Antonio had not seen significant snowfall since 1985. Every other time in recent years they've predicted snow, a warm front came in at the last minute and it didn't snow. I finished packing Thursday night and went to bed, confident all was well.

Needing to be at the airport by 7 a.m. for a 9 a.m. flight, I awoke a little before 5 a.m. to discover that SNOW HAD FALLEN AND EVERY HIGHWAY IN SAN ANTONIO WAS CLOSED.

My flight, however, had not been cancelled and was on time. Most people would've just given up and gone back to bed. I, however, REALLY wanted to go see my friends. Also, I'm married to a Canadian, who's used to driving in icy conditions, unlike everyone else native to San Antonio. So I kept one eye on the airport flight board online, an ear on the traffic report, and continued getting ready.

At 6:30, we bundled S up, got in the car, eased down our icy driveway, and began our slow pilgrimage to the airport, taking highway access roads, and detours along the way. In several spots, we had to stop and turn around and try another route because the few other idiots besides us out on the roads had no idea what they were doing and were sliding around all over the place. My husband=AWESOME WINTER DRIVER. He would just wait, watch them slide into a curb, ease around them, and keep going, slowly, but surely.

snow in san antonio
S in the snow at the San Antonio airport

Adventure at the Airport
At 8:30, we pulled into the airport (it's normally a 25-minute drive). I had been checking my flight by phone and it had been delayed till 10:30, but that didn't bother me. We checked in, kissed hubs goodbye and wished him luck on drive home, easily went through security, and headed to our gate. I wanted to get our stroller tagged first and then grab breakfast.

While getting the stroller tagged, I double-checked that 10:30 was now our takeoff time. The woman helping me sighed and said we'd be lucky to get out at 10:30, because while flights were taking off from San Antonio without problems, our plane was coming from Dallas, which was essentially snowed in. That's when I knew this was going to be a real test of my mothering skills!

S and I got breakfast and for the next two hours, we explored every inch of the terminal, walking up and down, visiting every bathroom, and pointing out colors and pictures on the wall, back and forth, up and down, always moving. When we would stop and take a break and sit at the gate, I immediately broke out the big guns from the bag of tricks I had been saving to entertain her on the plane--her Fisher Price iXL book, which keeps her engrossed for a long time, colors, new books, and snacks. Some Southwest flight attendants gave her a little color pack from Southwest and some of their plane-shaped crackers, which was nice. When she got antsy, we began to pace the terminal looking at everything again, and again, and again.

S named the colors on the terminal floor OVER and OVER

At 10:30, they pushed our flight back to 11:15. At 11:15, they pushed it to 1:15. OMG, I will I ever keep her entertained and happy for two more hours?!?! I went back up to the gate attendant to see what she really thought our chances were for leaving town at some point. My husband was already offering to trek back to the airport to get us, since the roads were starting to re-open.

Luckily, I was informed they had cancelled the flight coming from Dallas, but a plane was coming from Phoenix and would land at 12:30...they would put our flight on that plane and send us right back to Phoenix. WE HAD A REAL PLANE.

Two more hours, I thought. So far she hasn't had a meltdown and neither have I. Can we do this? R, who I had been texting updates to all morning, called, concerned. "Are you going to make it?! That's a long time with a toddler at the airport!" "We're going to try!" I said.

So, off we went to have our second meal in the airport, pizza. I convinced S to climb into the stroller afterwards and rolled her up and down the terminal twice. Then, a fellow traveler mouthed, "She's OUT!" And she was. She slept soundly for the next hour and a half until we actually boarded the plane and took off!

We're on the plane!

She was a peach on the relatively short flight to Phoenix. When we landed at 3:15 p.m. Phoenix time (only five hours after our original arrival time), R picked us up at baggage claim (her husband was home with their kids). I got S settled into the car seat and R handed her a juice box. Then, she handed me a cup. I took a sip: RUM AND COKE!

"I thought you might need it after today," R said. BEST. FRIEND. EVER. "You know, neither of us had a meltdown or remotely lost it all day today," I said. "I'm proud of us!"

Weekend in Phoenix
We had a great weekend with R and her family and our friend J, who came over and spent the night with us too. S just walked in like she'd always known everyone and played wonderfully with R's kids and handled the time change/sleeping in a new place great.

Trying to imitate the big girls

Little ladies who lunch

J teaches S how to bat

R, Me, J

R, J, and I became friends 20 years ago, our first year of college, and seeing our kids together was just fantastically cool (we so hope J will have one to add to our group someday). I think R is a rock star mom for how wonderfully she balances four children; R told me she was impressed with how I handled S the whole time and how well behaved she was (I only had to put her on the naughty step once), which is always nice to hear.

Too soon, it was Sunday afternoon and we were back at the airport. Thankfully, we experienced no delays, S was entertained by riding the moving sidewalk while we waited and didn't mind airport pizza for lunch. Again. She was pretty good on the plane, only throwing a slight pout fit when we had to wait to get off the plane at the end. I didn't chip a tooth the way I did the last time S and I flew alone together. SUCCESS!

All in all, I came away from the weekend confident, feeling like I had this whole motherhood thing figured out...

And then, the rest of February happened...which involved a re-appearance of S, the Terrible Two Toddler Edition of before, which has left me wanting to tear my hair out lately. (My daughter made me cry last Saturday. TWICE.)

But I'll always have my Snow Day/Weekend in Phoenix.


  1. Wow, I have to admit, I would have given in at the airport. Of course if it was just me and Joey or me and Will it might be different but I kept seeing myself in that situation as either it being me and all 3 kids or me and Shelby, who would never be so patient and understanding(and will probably never fly either...fear of large engine sounds, oh thank you sensory processing disorder!). I love Supernanny. I love how she doesn't just deal with the kids but typically helps the parents not just with parenting and discipline but with working on them too. Glad to hear from you here :)You were missed.

  2. Thanks Kristen! Work has been very stressful and baby girl has been very stressful, so it's left me with no energy left over to blog lately. I actually started this post a few weeks ago and just now got back to it. Obviously, I was very determined to go or it would've been easy to give up. :) I think lots of people in the terminal felt sorry for me as we went back and forth, up and down, over and over LOL! But keeping her interested and engaged kept her from melting down and me from losing my sanity. I feel like the whole delay ended up being a fun adventure and experience for us that I will always remember fondly! I've been enjoying all your posts lately--the 30-day concept is very cool! Thanks as always, for reading. :)

  3. This trip was meant to be! Your husband is a super star for getting you there through sketchy weather. You're a super star for entertaining your daughter all day at the airport. And your daughter is a rock star for being such a good sport. Glad you had a great time!