Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Samantha's #1 Fan!

So, I just got back into town last night after taking Samantha to Utah for a wonderful visit with my parents and sister for 4 days.
By myself.
That's right, I braved the airport with a six month old and without my court jester/loving husband! I was totally terrified about how she would behave. I've got to be honest though, I continually insist on underestimating Samantha. Every time we go anywhere (by car, foot, plane), I'm afraid she will melt down and she never ever does. I'm always prepared with a 20 lb diaper bag full of magic tricks to stop crying, and it always ends up being a moot point. Even when Sam is gearing up to make my life miserable and giving me panic attacks (say, by being cranky and fussy in the airport before departure), she always comes through when the chips are down. I can't help it though, come Christmas, I will be back in full disaster-prep mode. It's in my nature. My spine will crack before my will to prepare.
Sitting at an airport gate with an infant got me more dirty looks than if I had worn an "I hate orphans, puppies, and homemade cookies" T-shirt, and while it bothers me on a very small mommy-defending-her-offspring-level, mostly, I'm thrilled about it. Why? Because no matter how crowded the plane is, if there is even one available seat, it will be the one next to you and the baby. Which is good, because I need the space to hold the reject toys and my little cup of water Sam always seems to want to share, to disastrous and freezing results.
On the way there, a very nice lady came up and sat in the window seat while I was in the aisle. She said she knows most people hate sitting by babies, but she liked them, so she'd take the bullet. She talked with Sam for a while (which Sam adores) and once the red wine kicked in, she even jumped under the seat to retrieve her teething bee when Sam chucked it. How nice! The funny thing was, after the flight, all the people around us (seriously, 3 rows on each side) decided to hold court about how good Sam was on the plane. I was flattered that they all thought she was adorable and wanted to say hi, but felt super awkward at the same time. Seriously, I'm a little self-conscious about 10 strangers standing around discussing my kid's behavior, good or bad!
Then, on the way back, we tried the same trick, and parked in an aisle seat. I figured this way, since the flight wasn't crowded, no one had to sit in our row and if they did sit by us and Sam cried, they have no one to blame but themselves! I was trying to keep her dancing when a lady came up to me and said
"Hey, did you fly in on Thursday?!"
"Uh, yeah, we did."
"Oh my gosh, I was a few rows behind you! This baby was so cute and good! I usually hate sitting by babies, but I want to sit by this one, can I have the window seat?"
I was floored. Sam has a fan! I'm sure it helped that she wore her Halloween outfit both ways so she was recognizable, but how funny is that!?
A few minutes later, a business man came to sit in the row in front of us. Before sitting down, he said "Okay, I'll sit by you, baby, but you better not cry the whole time!" In response, Sam flashed her million-dollar smile. Before I could answer and assure him she was usually good, the lady next to me chimed in with "Oh no! Not this baby! She's adorable and cute, I've flown with her before. Don't worry!"
Huh. Okay, thanks for the endorsement, complete stranger!
Thankfully, Samantha came through for her fanclub and was good again. She kept trying to get the lady's attention and when she did finally look at her, Sam would flash a ginormous smile and jump. I seriously thought our new friend was going to melt. She also made friends with an older lady on the other side of the aisle two rows back when she was trying to win over a hot young guy sharing the older lady's row. That lady was so hilarious, Sam got the giggles. That made me laugh, so all-in-all, it was a pretty good flight.

Lest you think I'm making this up and only hilighting the portions of the trip that make us look good, there are a few cons to traveling with Sam.
1) She thinks my boarding pass looks delicious and spends the entire trip through security, walk to the gate, and wait before the jetway trying to get a taste of it. Frustrating when you are juggling a kid, a diaper bag, and the bottle of water to make formula you have to buy past security that simply has nowhere else to go. I apologize to the nice people at Southwest for the soggy corner on my pass both ways.
2) She gets so excited by both takeoff and landing that she squeals with delight at the top of her lungs until we hit cruising altitude on the way up or the gate on the way down. It gets a little loud for my taste, and usually also involves excited stomping and dancing on my lap--making it hard to hold on to her during landing. On the plus side, people are way more understanding about happy noises than sad ones, and everyone around us laughed at her instead of rolling their eyes while I tried desperately to interest her in a mute button (aka: binky).
3) Sam loves all people, and grins at every stranger she sees. People really dig this and almost always smile back, making her even more excited. If they don't see her or try to ignore her though, Little Miss Center of the Universe gets peeved and will yell in their direction until they comply. She does NOT cry--it's more like "hey! HEY! HEYYYY!" but it's mortifying and will not stop until her target notices her, or someone else jumps in and smiles at her instead. That someone else can not be me. Hot Guy in the next aisle seat learned this the hard way on the way home. She spent at least 15 minutes trying to get his attention, smiling, yelling, trying to reach over to him. Embarrassing! On a deeper level, I've never seen her work that hard or long on one person, and as a mother, I'm deeply disturbed that my daughter will do anything for the attention of a good-looking man. I sincerely hope she outgrows that before she hits her teens.


Alison said...

People are so funny about babies on airplanes. Our our last flight, Jordan was a few rows up with Jonah. Jonah was screaming and some guy kept giving Jordan the evil eye. When I heard this I was wondering why people can't just ignore crying babies on airplanes. I mean honestly, he's my kid and I had no trouble ignoring him.

MaMaMaMandy said...

Oh Carly- you are such a crackup!! That is so funny that the girl was vouching for Sam's behavior! WOW! I don't know when I'll be flying with Jovie on my own...but it terrifies me. You give me hope though!