In the summer of 2008, Ivy was not quite 2 and Iris was due in about four months. My brother Andrew was graduating from the 8th grade and I was headed to St. Louis to attend the ceremony. Nick and I had just spend the weekend moving from one apartment in Phoenix to another. His parents had driven in from San Diego to help. After a very difficult night’s sleep, Ivy and I headed to the airport quite early in the morning. So early, that I decided it was more practical to keep her in her pajamas and change her at the airport once we were through security. I was always nervous flying with a purchased ticket, which we hadn’t done often since Nick left Southwest for Mesa.
We made it in plenty of time and once through security, Ivy and I headed for the changing station. She’d pooped! Great! A steady one poop per day kid, I was glad to have that out of the way early. I cleaned her up and changed her clothes. We were both in good spirits and ready to take on a day of travel. As I was putting things back in our diaper bag, however, I noticed that I only had two diapers in my carry-on. Wow. Well, again, good thing the daily poop was out of the way. We headed to our gate and waited. Boarding our VERY full flight, Ivy and I had a window seat. It was about two and a half hours to Dallas where we’d have time for lunch and maybe even a nap before our last leg.
We settled in for the moderately long flight—plenty of toys, books, a movie if we needed it. After taking off, maybe twenty minutes into the flight, she poops again. Seriously? What the heck? Ok, no problem—I would just wait for the seatbelt sign to go off and head to the lavatory to change her. Except it wasn’t going off. Turbulance was heavy and we were instructed to stay in our seats. Well, sorry everyone nearby—you’re gonna have to smell her. There was NO room to try to change her on my lap with every seat filled. She didn’t seem particularly bothered by it so we just continued on. It wasn’t that bad.
Landing in Dallas, we quickly checked the monitors for our next gate. Delayed. Ok. No big deal. Just another hour. Now we had plenty of time to change, eat and figure out where we were next headed. To the bathroom we went. A very pregnant mom needed to use it too. Cleaned up (and down to one diaper), we found a McDonalds and ate French Fries and chicken nuggets—a rarity since we were vegetarians but kid friendly veg food was scarce in all airports, let alone one in Texas. Finding our gate, we sat on the floor and hung out for the extra hour. I called my dad to let him know our status so he wasn’t waiting longer than necessary. Just an hour. No big deal.
About thirty minutes before boarding, the gate agent made an announcement. Our gate was changing. Unfortunately it was on the other side of the airport but we’d have plenty of time to get there because the flight was delayed another hour. Ok. Not great but we might as well head over there. Ivy and I packed up and headed for the airport train (yes, a train) to another terminal. As I settled her into her stroller, I noticed the familiar smell. Yes, another poop. What on Earth had grandma fed her yesterday? Fine. Our last diaper was on (along with our spare outfit by this point) and we headed for the correct gate. As we walked, I had a heart-to-heart with my one and a half year old.
No more pooping, OK? We’re completely OUT of diapers. She gurgled and smiled and I took it as a good sign. The train was a bit of a walk but once on, we could sit. Traveling to the next gate, I called Dad again. Another delay. Fine no problem. We’re doing ok. When we got to our gate we were met with more of a delay than we’d originally thought. Now we were looking at about a two and a half hour delay. Great. Fine. No problem.
We played for a while and then I heard the unmistakable grunting of my child pooping. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me. Well, what now? I have no diapers. Our plane is boarding in thirty minutes. I can’t just NOT deal with this. I head to the nearest airport convenience store. Do you have diapers? No but try gate 24. At gate 24, do YOU have diapers? No, but try 36. Gate 36 do YOU have diapers? PLEASE? Yes! Hallalujah! I pay ten dollars for three-one size fits most diapers and it is the best money I’ve ever spent. Ten minutes to board—I’ll change her in the stroller once we get back to our gate. We’re rushing through the airport and make it to our gate with minutes to spare. I can change her in a rush!
As I push back the awning of our stroller, I see that my child is fast asleep. Well, of course she is! But I can’t not change her, so I wake her up and with less finesse than most mothers, get her changed and back in her pajamas (pooped right through the spare outfit). OK! We’re ready. Let’s GO!
Another announcement. Gate change and yes, another delay. WHAT????? You mean I have to get BACK on the train? AND we’re delayed? I was supposed to have landed already. But at least we don’t have to rush. We head back to the train. This pregnant mom was beyond exhausted and now HATING everything about the Dallas airport. Ivy was now cranky at having been woken from her far too short nap. Another call to dad.
Sitting on the train back to our first gate, I try to keep it together. I am uncomfortable, hot, tired and my nerves are shot. My phone rings—it’s my mother-in-law. Are we there yet? I completely break down. No we’re not and I’m losing my mind. I give her our poop-escapade not caring at all that I’m on a crowded train. Across the aisle from me is a woman with a sleeping toddler on her shoulder. She hears my tale of woe and wordlessly reaches into her bag, pulls out two diapers and hands them to me. God bless you was all I could think to say to her in my blubbering mess.
We arrive at what I hope will be our final gate and have plenty of time to waste. I spot a Starbucks and decide that pregnant or not, I am in desperate need of coffee and I don’t want to share. I order a Frappuccino for me and one for Ivy. I don’t care who sees my child slurping on her very own cup of coffee. She’s thrilled.
We find a seat and sit. I try to decompress as our plane finally pulls up to the gate. We’ll be boarding soon. Ivy and I finish our coffee and board the plane. She even gets her own middle seat. Great! This plane isn’t nearly as full as the last. In about ninety minutes, we’d be there.
Everyone is strapped in and ready to go. Ivy starts to fade and I pull her into my arms, hoping, praying that she’ll sleep for the entire flight. Just as she nods off, the pilot comes on. It will be just a few more minutes.
And a few more…
And a few more…
What was going on? We’d been sitting on the plane for nearly 45 minutes. The pilot asks us all to please be sure we have all electronic devices off. Something is interfering with the communication system on the plane and they can’t figure out what it is. We all check and double check. Still we sit. It isn't until another plane lands and notices the same problem when they pull INTO the gate that we try pulling AWAY from the gate to see if it goes away…and it does. We’re now more than four hours delayed but finally cleared for takeoff. Just as we get into the air, Ivy wakes up…and poops. I can not believe it. I am flabbergasted. I’ve lost count of how many poops we've had. I wait for the seat belt sign to go off but then I realize that it’s not just a poop—it’s an explosion. It’s leaking through the pajama pants she’s wearing and is now on my pants. Great.
We do our very best to change her in the seat but there’s poop everywhere. Her pants are done. My pants are done. There’s poop on her shoe, on the side of the plane—it’s everywhere. Wipes are only so effective in a situation like this but we do our best. When finally the plane lands, Ivy proudly walks down the aisle pant-less and wearing only one shoe. I’m a sight to see with poop on my pants, mascara cried off a long time ago and my pregnant waddle. We make our way to baggage claim.
As soon as I see my dad, I crumble into his arms. As they wrap around me I hear my little brother.
“Sissy what’s wrong?” Followed by my dad’s quiet but forceful “Shut up Andrew.”
As we wait for our bags I re-tell the tale. I’ve never been so glad to be anywhere in all my life. In all of the chaos, I’ve misplaced the poop covered shoe. It is on a plane somewhere and I just don’t care. I never want to see Dallas again.