Monday, September 27, 2010

September 18, 2010: Mia Goes Airborne!

Just give me a bite of that stinkin muffin already!!!

So we stressed and stressed about flying with Mia. Have we booked the most optimal time for her sleep schedule? Would she do ok for hours on the plane? Would she be able to sleep? If not, how ever would we entertain her? Will the pressure hurt her ears? If so, would she or we be able to help relieve the pressure? Will she scream? Will the other passengers and pilots hate us? The questions just went on and on.

In the end, it worked out just fine. We went to spend the night before the flight at Tommy & Stephanie's which is only 15 minutes from the Austin airport. We woke up at 5AM for our 6:55AM flight. We arrived at the airport at 5:45 with just over an hour to get situated. Check in was easy with the assistance of the desk personel. Mia was enthralled with the entire airport experience that morning. She just kept smiling and waving at everyone that passed her.

After a quick bathroom break, I sat down to enjoy a banana. When she saw me eating, she immediately signed "more." Which to her means "eat", "drink", "more", etc. The people around us giggled at her signing.

We were hanging out at the gate for maybe 15 minutes before families traveling with children under 2 were called to board.
Mama & Mia going through the gate

As I carried her down the isle, she waved to every passenger as if she was the queen of the pageant and waving to everyone was her job. This, once again, solicited many giggles. The flight was sold out so Mia had to sit on my lap, which she had no problems with. She settled in and fell asleep... before we even taxied. Oh, how nice.

Mia daring someone to sit in our row

3 seconds later, fingers in mouth, too tired to mess with people

The flight was about 2 hours and she slept for a good 1 1/2 hours. Woke up and had a small snack before we landed and were in the Denver airport for a very brief layover. We had about 50 minutes. This was enough time for more bathroom breaks, purchasing of snacks and refilling of hot water (for her formula). We got to the gate and she even had enough time to get down and crawl around and make some new friends. She loved this part, too.

As we boarded the 2nd time, she had the routine down pat. Wave, wave, smile. Toothy laugh. Repeat. There was a 4 month old baby girl across the isle from us who was on her 8th plane trip. Wow. They are brave. There was an Aussie flight attendant who helped seat us. She was just so so sweet on Mia. She came back several times to play with her as she seated the other guests.

Unfortunately for us, the 2nd flight was a bit longer (and late in taking off!). AND... Mia was now well rested from her 1st flight and had no desire whatsoever to sleep. She was squirmy and antsy and nothing we had seemed to hold her attention. About an hour into the flight, that same attendant came back to play with Mia. She was quite alright with this. She then asked if it would be alright for her to hold her a bit? Let Mia stretch her legs? I was all for it as long as Mia was. And she totally was. She picked her up and Mia waved and said 'Hiii' (in her Paula Deen southern drawl) to the guests behind us. That got them laughing which made Mia very happy. She then reached past them to the passengers 2 rows behind us. She did the same thing for them. Next thing we know, we turn around and Mia is 3/4 of the way back on the plane. Still doing her same song and dance. Every now and then, we'd hear 3 or 4 people say 'ooOOoo' and we'd know that Mia had been there. That was her favorite thing to say for the week (just ask Uncle Adam). Eventually, we turned around and she was literally with the very last row of people by the rear bathrooms. Yup. That one is ours. The lady across the isle who Mia had befriended before we got on the plane told us, 'Enjoy. This must be the Southwest Deluxe service.' I couldn't agree more.

By the time she was delivered back to us, Mia finally realized that she couldn't see mama and dada any more and was in tears. LOL. It took her quite some time. She came back and those tears were dried up and she even earned her wings. Her experience left her exhausted and she slept for the next 1 1/2 hours in my lap. I love Southwest.

Mia proudly (and tiredly) displaying her well earned wings
We arrived in SEATAC without incident and by the time all our luggage came out, my parents had arrived from their Houston direct flight and both Adam and Cathy were in the airport. All the helping hands we could ask for.

And thus was Mia's 1st plane experience. Success. Majorly.

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