Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Business Trip With Two Kids: Do Not Try This At Home

What was it like to take two small children to San Francisco with me on a business trip?


The kids were mostly cooperative, with Nutmeg going so far as to be "my big helper" at times. That saved it from being a train wreck. But I would never say it was easy.

Here's how it went:

Thursday evening: Get dropped off at airport. With Nutmeg's help (moving bins along, getting her own shoes on and off) we got through security smoothly. Found the gate and bought some dinner at a nearby cafe. Nutmeg reeeeally wanted to sit by the cafe window to watch planes land and take off. I let her hold her paper plate with slice of pizza. Because I am dumb. While waiting for the table, she of course let her pizza land on the airport floor face down. And when I picked up the pizza and stood there, wondering what to do, she of course had a fit, disturbing other restaurant patrons. Just as I had decided to let her eat the dang pizza so we could get this done and get on the plane on time, a restaurant employee showed up with a fresh piece. Great, right? Not great. This piece was plain, not sausage, and Nutmeg proceeded to have another fit. Wilting under the hot glares of every other traveler in the restaurant, I let her keep the old pizza and hid the new one in the stroller lest the restaurant think the whole thing was a ploy for a free piece of expensive crappy airport pizza.

Flight goes pretty smoothly, both kids eventually fall asleep. I'm asleep by around 12:30 a.m. SF time.

Friday: Baby wakes me up at 4 a.m. SF time. Have plenty of time to get things together and play with baby before leaving friends' apartment at 7 a.m., leaving Nutmeg with friends. Push stroller with car seat in it about a mile to BART. Baby is strapped to back. Buy tamales from tamale lady in the Mission and share with baby, hoping she doesn't slime my back too much with masa. Baby falls asleep on the way there, meaning her daily nap took place between 7:30 and 8 a.m. Check baby into daycare at 8ish. Get away with leaving stroller, car seat and associated baggage at childcare room. Make it to 9 a.m. interview at Chronicle on time.

Check in on baby between interviews, at 2 p.m. She is not only doing well, she's so involved in playing with stickers that she won't look at me. Or maybe she's mad.

4:30 p.m.: Bring baby to Sesame Street Suite to meet Abby Cadabby (the REAL mummeteer and mummet!) Grover mummeteer is there too but has put Grover away for the day. Pebbles fascinated but a little scared of mummet/person combination, especially since both of them seem to be talking simultaneously.

6 p.m. Pack up Pebbles and meet my friend Bert at the Chronicle. Strap carseat in Bert's car and Bert takes her home. I get to get made over, get my photo taken (at a Silicon Valley Mom's party at Sak's) and go out to dinner with Wise Bread crew.

11 p.m. Return to Bert's to find Pebbles sacked out. Blessed sleep. Toddler bedmate barely makes a peep all night.

6:30 a.m. Hallelujah, Pebbles didn't wake up at 4! Load car seat back onto stroller, baby back into backpack. Go out to breakfast with baby and Bert. Take N-Judah across town with stroller, car seat, etc. Why doesn't Westin entrance have a ramp?? Check baby into daycare at 10:30 a.m.
1:45 Look into daycare to find out Pebbles won't nap. Tell friend to go ahead to session without me, nurse her to sleep.
6:30 p.m. Friend Kay pulls up to front of Westin to pick up baby. Install car seat in her car despite Westin bellhops complaining about us parking in taxi lane too long.
Go to closing cocktail party. Return to friend's house to find Nutmeg hasn't gone to bed as of 10:30 p.m. Yikes!

Sunday: Spend day with kids and friends. Kids cranky.
7:30 p.m. Both girls sound asleep. Drive to cafe with laptop to write Chronicle story.
11 p.m. Cafe closes. Return to friends' house to continue writing story. Baby keeps waking up. Harder to type while breastfeeding toddler than it was to type while breastfeeding infant.
4:20 a.m. Go to sleep.
5 a.m. Baby cries. Nurse on couch and sleep with her there.
6:30 a.m. Baby up for the day
10 a.m. Take the kids to Chronicle and friends help watch them while I put finishing touches on story and cut length. Old boss let's me use his office so the kids can watch TV. Private office also useful for breastfeeding baby to sleep while typing. Coworkers keep an eye on sleeping baby while Nutmeg and I grab lunch. Suddenly Nutmeg's sniffles escalate to pounding headache and wanting to lie down on the stairs. Drag Nutmeg upstairs and lay her on meeting room couch.

2 p.m. Leave Chron with baby in backpack, Nutmeg in stroller, take BART, walk mile, pack, load everything and everyone into friend's car, get dropped off at airport.

5 p.m. Opt for indoor line instead of sky cap. Nutmeg lying on floor moaning. Baby wandering around line, gets knocked down by someone holding a lot of luggage.

5:30 p.m. Find out long line won't make us miss flight because flight is delayed until 8:30 p.m. Look around for decorative swords that might be useful for hari-kari.

6 p.m. Somehow Nutmeg perks up. Get through line, security. Find entertaining window and buy dinner from Max's. Wipe up many puddles of spilled soup. Glare back at cell-phone-using guy who glares at us for making too much noise. Is this your office, sir? I thought not.

7 p.m. Kids miraculoulsy cheerful despite latening hour.

8 p.m. Ditto. Wander airport looking for chocolate to buy. Debate relative merits of Ritter Sport and Kit Kat with Nutmeg. Nutmeg wins when I find out Ritter Sport With Butter Biscuit costs FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY NINE CENTS.

8:40 Board plane. Change wet diaper in seat. Flight attendant immediately brings large garbage bag to safety-seal the offending damp diaper. Informs me of existance of changing table in bathroom, without advice on how to drag two kids down the aisle and into bathroom without disturbing well, everyone.

9 p.m. There is a little crying during takeoff, until I can unstrap Pebbles to nurse. No one complains.

9:30 p.m. Girls blessedly asleep. Receive free scotch. Read "Sleep Is for the Weak."

4 a.m. Midwest time
When put in bed, Nutmeg whines and pleads for a story. Pebbles cries in crib. Mommy puts head under pillow and we all sleep until 9:40 a.m.


Sara said...

geez louise...i'm tired just reading this! i give you credit!

Patois42 said...

I, too, am purely exhausted reading this. I did read the article, which I enjoyed, and I saw it was by you! Made me enjoy it even more.

Zip n Tizzy said...

I was exhausted just being there.
Don't know how you did it, public transpo and kids in tow. You simply must be wonder woman!

Notta Wallflower said...

Jeez, then I won't even begin to complain about traveling alone with Jellybean. :-P Your story makes me tired.