Tantrums and Travels

 

An idyllic family photo on the plane.  Reality was not so pretty.

An idyllic family photo on the plane. Reality was not so pretty.

There are very few happy family pictures in today’s post because there were so few points in the day where someone wasn’t crying and throwing a fit. We checked out of our hotel in Shanghai at noon -silly us thinking we were going to sight-see a bit more in the morning before leaving. It took us forever to pack up. During this time Garrick unrolled two rolls of toilet paper and carried them all around the room, Carrigan dumped his crackers all over the floor and stomped them into the carpet- our room seriously looked like a wild bachelor party had occurred by the time we exited it. We headed to the airport to catch a 2 1/2 hour flight to Guangzhou (sounds easy enough, you’d think) where we will stay for the next 5 days to complete Carrigan’s U.S. visa paperwork so we can bring him home. I wish that was all I had to say about that and that was the end of the post. However, our family seemed like evidence today for all the Chinese people who witnessed us in the airport and on the plane of why they think their one-child policy is not such a bad idea after all.

Why is this baby delirious?

Why is this baby delirious?

Ah, yes, he is drunk on distilled water.

Ah, yes, he is drunk on distilled water.

Carrigan’s first meltdown occurred after we pulled up at the curb and took the gift bag from him containing our guide’s present to give her. He always wants to have something in his hand and he does not want to put it down or give it up, whether it’s a piece of trash, a book or a cookie. Dropping a piece of paper he’s holding onto requires us having to chase it down in the wind, and it is slow-going trying to get anywhere with him. Chinese people do not like children to cry. We think he has been quite spoiled because there has been no one in his life with a long-term vested interest in his development, so teaching him to act in socially acceptable ways has never been on anyone’s agenda. Our guide, to get him to stop crying, gave the gift back to him (not helpful!!) to hold for another few minutes while we unloaded our bags. Taking the gift away again to give her caused a meltdown that lasted the entire way through the airport. At this point, Garrick is also crying because he’s sick of being in the car seat/stroller. Of course, our gate is one of the very last gates in the airport. Complete strangers trying to console your children because they don’t feel you are doing a good job of it yourself (we don’t cater to the fits) is quite awkward. The security check again required Carrigan to release the next thing in his clutch to go through the conveyor belt, so you can imagine, the fits just kept coming. I mostly had to carry him horizontally in my arms through the airport since he refused to walk. We were quite a sight. We hurried to McD’s to order some lunch before boarding (if we could have read the tickets we would have known dinner was served on the plane) and after racing to the gate realized the flight was delayed. We sat down to eat, which was a sight in itself. Carrigan spilled a whole thing of fries all over the floor and scurried to pick them up off the floor and eat them while Charlotte sat with her nuggets on her lap in the stroller. We thought we’d hang one more bag over the back of her stroller to make it one less thing to carry onto the plane, which sent her (lightweight!) stroller flying over backwards, nuggets and fries in the air- all we could do was laugh (we knew she wasn’t hurt, and believe it or not, compassion is not our strong suit) while onlookers looked horrified (not sure if it was the situation or our response to it, or both) and we forever helped to cement confidence in their country’s one-child policy.

It was pretty much like this all day.

It was pretty much like this all day.

I wish I could say after that at least the short flight went well. But, no. As soon as we found our seats on the plane and Carrigan realized he was going to be required to actually sit in one, with a strap around his waist no less (which we now understand his reaction to this), he was having no part of it. He struggled to get up and into the aisle while others looked for their seats and gave us pitying glances and stares, praying for dear life they weren’t going to be seated next to us. By this point, Garrick had also joined in the chorus of obvious displeasure, and we had quite a cacophony. I strapped Garrick into his car seat and he threw the biggest fit I have ever seen in a baby his age. The crew lifted the ban on the seat belt rule during takeoff for us, and as soon as I was able to start comfort-nursing him, he quieted down. Little did I know this, too, would cause an issue. While I was not exposed, apparently public nursing is not socially acceptable, and a stewardess quickly rushed to my side and draped a blanket over my shoulders to cover me and the baby. I guess it solved two problems for them, being that I’m sure they thought Garrick was not properly bundled, either. The rest of the flight included us holding and trying to keep quiet a crazy, over-tired baby who wanted to stand in our laps and throw his raisins over the seat into the hair of the person in front of us, two cups of apple juice spilled in my lap, and Carrigan happily waving and tapping each person who walked by on their way out of the plane to say goodbye. Garrick finally fell asleep as soon as we exited the plane on the shuttle to the terminal.

 

On the bus from the plane to the terminal.  We made everyone wait on us.  Carrigan thinks that is great!

On the bus from the plane to the terminal. We made everyone wait on us. Carrigan thinks that is great!

We think our friend Bill described the event perfectly.