Maybe Matilda: Babes on a Plane

Friday, May 30, 2014

Babes on a Plane

Unless you follow me on Instagram, you probably don’t know that I flew to New York at the beginning of the month to attend my grandfather’s funeral. It was a bittersweet trip—so wonderful and special to be back in my beautiful hometown and visit with my grandma (who I haven’t seen since Forrest was a newborn) and relatives I don’t see often and reflect on my grandpa’s life and memories of him, but very hard to say goodbye to my sweet, kind, loving grandpa.

I plan to write more about my grandpa and the funeral soon, but in the meantime, I’m trying to recover from the PTSD brought on by my flight out to New York with 2 children and no husband. Thank you, everything that is holy, for sending my sister-in-law Nicole out on the same flight as us, because I honestly think I would have given up, turned around, and headed back home after making it roughly 12 feet into the Salt Lake City airport. Two car seats, a stroller, three carry-ons, a stuffed-to-the-gills diaper bag, a 3-year old hell-bent on reciting his newly-memorized address to every person he saw, and a 6-month old who was none too pleased about being woken up at 5 AM to head to the airport. A winning formula for a happy flight in anyone’s book, I’m sure.

Feast your eyes upon the familial bliss of our cross-country flight, during which:

1) The lady at the ticket counter couldn’t figure out how to print Darcy’s boarding pass, but spent a good 20 minutes trying, during which Forrest devoted every morsel of energy he possessed to attempting to climb down the luggage conveyor belt.

2) They realized as we were boarding that we were seated in the exit row (a no-go with children), and held up the entire flight trying to figure out new seating arrangements, aaaaand . . .

3) Failed to find us seats together, placing Forrest and my sister-in-law 5ish rows behind me and Darcy, who were seated . . .

4) Between two men. Which wouldn’t be that big of a deal exceeept . . .

5) Girlfriend wanted to nurse basically nonstop. Breastfeeding in a tiny airplane seat between a middle-aged dude (who, I really don’t mean to be rude, but was not a petite fellow and took up like 1/3rd of my seat space, making nursing in a tiny airplane seat even more uncomfortable than it already would have been) (and also, I glanced over at his computer screen once and he was googling “douche canoe” and I still haven’t figured that one out) and a teenage boy (who squirmed awkwardly every time he glanced my way and realized what I was doing—sitting by me was the best birth control of his life, guaranteed), with a baby who fought tooth and nail to tear the nursing cover off and nonstop bicycle-kicked the thighs of whichever seatmate she was facing. A true delight, believe you me. And when the nursing no longer satisfied her, Her Highness instead resorted to . . .

6) Testing her lung capacity. Really. The baby who spends 98% of her home life smiling and giggling over nothing and chirping happily spent 98% of the flight bellowing angrily at full volume. And in case anyone’s eardrums weren’t blasted out by her continuous screaming . . .

7) Forrest, 5 rows behind me, provided a blow-by-blow narrative of the action. When Darcy’s wailing died down enough for me to hear anything else, a certain familiar voice from a few rows back called out, “Dat’s my sister, Daw-see, and she saying WAAAH! WAAAAAAH! WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! She is vewwy sad and she saying WAAAAAHHHHH!!!!”

I should also mention that people were extremely nice (mostly), and one sweet lady (a stranger to me who must have a heart the size of Texas and a steady IV drip of patience flowing into her veins) offered to give it her best shot and spent a good 30 minutes walking Darcy up and down the aisle (which was the only time on the trip that she stopped crying) (this was also, ironically, the point at which I started crying).

I have never seen a set of passengers more relieved to deboard a plane.


  1. Oh no! Hands down, that sounds like the worst plane experience ever! I can't imagine nursing like that-you must be a pro. I'm really quite impressed you survived to tell the tale haha.

  2. That sounds like a horrible experience but the airline gets part of the blame on that one for putting you in an exit row with two kids. I had a similar nursing on a plane experience going to my cousin's funeral in Atlanta - thankfully after the initial awkwardness of it the man struck up a conversation about just becoming a grandpa recently which helped me feel a little more relaxed about it. The non-stop screaming must have been such a nightmare ... you have my sympathies.

  3. Oh no!!! I was crying/laughing reading this because I can imagine how awful that must have been, but I truly think that it will be a story you will be able to laugh about (maybe in a few years). You poor dear! The nursing thing, that sounds AWFUL. How awkward!

  4. Oh my gosh. You poor, poor woman. I haven't ever been brave enough to attempt nursing on a plane. It's been bottles all the way. I can't believe no one would help you get seats together!!! How rude no one would switch! Like anyone wants crazy kids on a flight. Not that it would have necessarily solved anything, but seriously.

  5. Good Lord! Bet you won't want to attempt that one again until they're, um, in college?

  6. Just wow. Yikes. We had fun times in the 15 hr trip to Taiwan earlier this year with a flight that didn't leave until 2am in the morning and an overtired over-stimulated kid. It's so embarassing when he woke up and started screaming and thrashing. Not cute; and there was no end. Hopefully the trip back was better for you!

  7. Poor Rachel! I can't even imagine what a horrible (and loooong) flight you must have had. What a god sent that lady must have been to you. Good to know that there are still good people out there. As for that teen, I'm sure that must had been a good story to tell to all of his friends 😳

  8. Oh, Rachel. I. Have. Been. There. And there is truly nothing worse in the entire world. And I only had one kid and I had a husband to help.

    Wait. Scratch that. I had two kids. Because my husband moaned and groaned about the indignity as much as Henry did.

    YOU MADE IT OUT ALIVE. You seriously deserve a medal.

  9. Bless your heart! You're a braver soul than I...wait, "braver", is that a word? LOL!
    At any made it! And if you did can do anything! ;)

  10. Oh my. You are a hero! Gosh what an ordeal, I can totally imagine how you felt....

  11. Goodness. I don't look forward to that.

  12. You're a far braver woman than I. I can just hear Forrest's commentary in my head. Why does it always seem to make the situation seem even more crushing when it's explained by a preschooler? Reli does that all the time, and I'm like "Please just stop talking. You're making it worse!" lol I can't believe no one would switch so the four of you could sit together though. Shame on them! You'd think "douche canoe" and Mr. Celibacy would actually want to get away from you guys. ;-)

  13. My Mama heart was crying for you while also laughing at the way you narrated this. I'm sorry it was such an awful experience and for the loss of your grandfather. I lost my granddaddy January a year ago now and it is so hard. You have my email if you need to chat/cry on a shoulder from a distance!

  14. Oh this is so sad but so so deliciously funny at the same time. I can't believe they couldn't get two people to let you sit together. Stupid. And, seems like they always check the exit row thing BEFORE you board. So, stupid again. And, that guy should have left his gross (I think?) googling to a more private time. Stupid.


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