March 26, 2012

China Day 17 - Going Home

I don't know how many of you are stupid like us, I mean adventurous, enough to travel with all your kids to the other side of the world.  It's not something I would ever recommend, unless you have a DVD player, a tablet loaded with Angry Birds, and Valium.  And onDemand in the back of the headrests is a bonus (which we didn't have on the return flight) - and even then, I would only recommend it if absolutely necessary.

Within the first 65 minutes of our flight coming home, I looked at my watch three times to see how much time had passed.  By that time, Josiah had made a fast enemy of the man next to him, with his Beanie Baby dalmatian dog repeatedly crashing into his tray, with sound effects, and the hogging of their shared armrest.  Autumn had stood up on our armrest, fallen on the floor, and kicked the seat in front of us, 10 times each.  She had also pulled Atilla the Hun's (from the U.S. Women's Rugby team) hair, who was sitting in front of us.  Atilla jerked her head forward and gave Autumn a dirty look.  I apologized, then had a fight with Atilla in my head.  I was yelling obscenities at her for giving my daughter a dirty look, but then she punched me in the face with her big meat hook and siced the entire team on me, which were all on the plane - which of course made me think the plane was going to go down in flames, just for the purpose of irony.  But, then I realized I couldn't take care of the kids for 12 hours while nursing my broken nose, so I kept my obscenities to myself.  

I have let my not-so-nice side show on an airplane before.  We were on a flight from DC to Chicago once,  and I had reached the end of my rope with the boys.  I was dishing out McDonalds, while waiting for the plane to take off.  They had messed up our order.  Sheehan was crying on his McNuggets and Josiah was banging on his tray like a drum - rhythmically, yet annoyingly.  The older lady in front of him turned around and asked if I could quiet him down.  I told her to shut up and I hoped he banged and cried the entire flight - I knew I could take her because she was a grandma.  

About 30 minutes later, I felt really bad, plus I knew she was talking with her seat mates about the big B-word mom, who probably beats her children, behind her.   When she got up to use the lavatory, I swallowed my pride and apologized.  She was very gracious and understanding.  I doubt I would have been.  I probably would have held a grudge and then had to pray over my lack of forgiveness for two years.

After Autumn pulled Atilla's hair, I asked Steve to switch seats with us.  We had a row of three seats in front of two other seats.  So if Autumn stood up to pull hair, after the move, it would only be Steve's.  There was another adoptive family behind us, so they understood, and when their kids kicked my seat, I understood.  

Our seats were the coachiest of coach.  You couldn't get more coach, unless you put us on the wing or in the lavatory.  We were 2nd and 3rd from last row. I think every noise and vibration is magnified in the back of the plane.  Oh, first class, you felt a little blip? Well last seat in coach, take this - SLAM!

The bathroom is its own comedy show - trying to do your business when the plane is bouncing around.  I won't go into details because this blog is rated PG, but it's a challenge, nonetheless.  Then trying to change the diaper of an almost three-year old in that stinky capsule of an outhouse is the ultimate in doing big things in small places.  I strategically left that job to Steve.  

Every single time I use a plane lavatory I think of big guy Chris Farley changing his clothes in that scene in Tommy Boy.  His tie got sucked into the toilet when he flushed.  I always close the lid before flushing the toilets now.  RIP CF.

Then lunch came at the two hour mark, along with turbulence.  I was balancing two trays of food on the pull down tray, along with my water.  The food was hot, and the water was wet, so I wasn't going to let them go.  But Autumn kept grabbing things off the tray to eat, like the salt and pepper packets, while my hands were otherwise occupied.  Every time I lifted my hand away from the water, it started vibrating and sliding toward the edge.   The turbulence wasn't stopping.  What in the heck was I supposed to do?  I started saying that out loud, like I was a little crazy.  I prayed inside.  A few minutes later Autumn fell asleep, mid-chew.

Hour six of the trip was when I lost it.  Autumn knocked a full cup of water out of my hand.  It went all over my lap, my seat, and down into my socks.  I started crying.  I couldn't stop.  I knew we weren't even half way through the flight, and this was always the hardest part of the entire trip to China.  Steve consoled me and Autumn gave me her trademark bewildered look.  A flight attendant came over and pulled out my entire seat cushion and said he would take care of it.  He brought back a new seat cushion, blanket, pillow, and first class toiletry kit, including ear plugs, eye cover, and toothbrush.  So, if you ever want first class treatment without  paying first class prices, just spill something on yourself, stand up, and cry about it.

The adoptive mom behind us, Veronica, got up and gave me a hug.  She knew how I felt.  I ended up talking to her for an hour, while my pants dried, about our trips.  Autumn was surprisingly content, opening every single item in my first class kit, including the earplugs, which she thought were candy and began to eat.  But after hearing about Veronica's two weeks, I felt like a giant wuss for crying over spilt water.  She and her husband had adopted 10 and 13 year old girls.  They endured a 40 hour flight ordeal on the way to China, plus many struggles with their agency, guide, and hotels, and still had another 10 hours to go after landing in Chicago! That's when I taped the "cry baby" sign to my forehead.

Autumn slept for the last two to three hours of the flight.  I thought she would cry at the landing because we would have to wake her up to put her seatbelt on.  But she slept through it all.  The boys, on the other hand, woke up right at landing time and were so exhausted that they were both sobbing, which wasn't good at all because they were going to have to walk (not be carried off) the airplane with their backpacks.

We got in around noon on Sunday and went through immigration, so Autumn is officially, a US citizen.  Steve's dad picked us up.  I made it until about 4:30 pm, and started feeling vertigo because I was so tired.  I fell asleep until about 11 pm, when Autumn woke up.   The boys woke up at 12:30 and 1:30 am.  I made eggs and quesadillas.  Steve woke up at 3:45, with four hours of sleep, so I could take a break and try to get some sleep.  But here I lay propped up in my bed with the convenience of this stinking iPad keeping me awake.  I'm going to miss my sleep window, eventually Steve will want his turn sleeping.  I'm hoping the kids will fall asleep again while it's still dark.  Doubt it.  I think we'll go to Denny's instead - its a tradition.

By the way, I think we lost our camera.  The good news is that all the pics up till Hong Kong are stored on the IPad.  The bad news is that we lost the camera and don't have any pics of Hong Kong.

One more thing I wanted to mention: since about day 14 of our trip, Autumn has been giving me random kisses.  She holds her arms up, indicating she wants to be picked up, then when I do, she smashes her face into mine (rather roughly) and makes a sucking sound with her lips.  So cute.

Ok, one last thing.  When we got home I examined Autumn's coat that they brought her to us in, more closely.  I can't read all the words, but the ones I can read say, "killing nightmare death love" and there is a cute picture of Minnie Mouse next to it.

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  1. Oh you made me laugh out loud!!!! We were in coach as well and actually did ok. Madeline whined enough for all of us:). So glad you are home. Last night our 3rd home all the kids finally slept, I do admit to using low dose of NyQuil but you do what you have to do! Welcome home!

  2. WELCOME HOME!! I have looked forward to you blog everyday. You are an amazing women who loves her family so very much. I hope life gets back to "normal" soon.

  3. Anonymous11:52 AM

    I'm sooooooooooooo happy you are all home. What a trip. It wore me out..LOL Lmom

  4. Anonymous1:44 PM

    So glad you're home with sanity relatively intact! Hope the jet lag isn't too brutal and moments of joy become more frequent as you start to bond. P.S. That jacket is one of the best things I've seen in a really, really long time!

  5. OK wow....what a trip! I thought coach from Mexico was bad and my kids are older but when I heard other kids making noise....I remembered mine used to and it didn't bother me. It's a public airplane and if I could afford a private plane then fine. Don't people remember they were once kids that bothered people? lol I'm laughing with you...!


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