I'm proud to report that I never had to do the "walk of shame" during my college years. You know the one...where guy/girl hooks up with guy/girl and spends the night and then has to walk home the next morning in what is either clearly their clothes from the previous evening or whatever they borrowed from that particular guy/girl with whom they have just spent the night. But I admit that I experienced my own kind of "walk of shame" last night (and don't worry--I promise I woke up in my own bed this morning).
So this was the weekend when Ella and I flew to New York for my work. I didn't want to worry about the hassle of doing bottles and pumping for a cross-country trip, so my mom met us to take care of Ella while I worked. All in all, it was a great weekend. Unlike when my in-laws visited, Ella really seemed to like my mom nearly right away (my mom was also really smart about giving Ella a few minutes to adjust before holding her). Ella was fabulous on our flight from Tucson to Denver (2 hours) and again from Denver to New York (3 hours). On the return trip, so was again fabulous from New York to Denver (my mom was on the same Denver-New York flights, which was great). But by the last leg of the flight, she was done. And who can blame her? She's 6-1/2 months and we're asking her to sit and play nicely on my lap all day long--with a three hour time change! About halfway through the last flight (9:00 pm Arizona time/midnight New York time), she melted down.
It was probably the saddest meltdown I have ever gotten from her--and of course it had to be on the plane. When Ella is upset, I can usually fix whatever is bothering her with a comfort nurse. So when she started to fuss, I immediately offered her the breast. It didn't work. I offered her the binky (which she has recently started to take more as a "toy" than as a "pacifier"). It didn't work. I held her tight and sang to her. It didn't work. I offered her the breast again. It still didn't work. Oh, and did I mention that I had a window seat? It was beautiful for viewing the full moon, but left me feeling pretty trapped with a screaming baby until I finally asked my neighbors to let me escape to the lavatory.
So there I was on my walk of shame down the aisle, with my beautiful screaming daughter in my arms and the whole plane shooting "shut your baby up" daggers in my direction. I avoided any possible eye contact and raced to the safety of the lavatory (which, by the way, I have never personally used). Of course, by the time I closed the door, Ella gave a little sigh, put her head on my shoulder and promptly fell asleep.
I then had a good cry, there in the lavatory, with the most amazing miracle sleeping peacefully in my arms. I was "that parent" that we all simultaneously loathe and pity. I felt so bad for interrupting everyone's flight, but I mostly felt bad that I wasn't able to comfort Ella.
She slept on my shoulder for the remainder of the flight. When we landed, a very kind gentleman sympathized with me and assured me that every parent on the flight understood. I thanked him for his understanding, but wanted to counter back that every non-parent probably hated my guts.
My mom was kind enough to point out that Ella did great for 9 hours and 55 minutes (not to mention the security line, layover, and luggage retrieval) and only fussed for 5 minutes. She's right. I need to focus on how well she did for so much of the trip, and not worry too much about the meltdown. But I've learned my lesson, and will try to get an aisle seat from now on in case I need to escape.
It was such a blessing to spend the weekend in New York with my mom. Ella and I both developed colds, but my mom was so great to us. It was so sweet to spend a three-generation with my mom and my daughter.