Thursday, February 3, 2011

Traveling With a Herd

Southwest_Seattle_2011.jpgHave you ever traveled on an airplane wih six children? I hadn't either, until we flew to Seattle a couple weeks ago. I hate traveling. I'm a home body. I love being at home, and in my own space. The thought of packing for eight, figuring out how to carry all the luggage and car seats, and going through security with six children at the airport stresses me out, but we conquered all that and I can safely say that I think I can handle it again if I had to. It was quite an adventure, taking on Denver International airport with six children.

We laughed our way through it the whole time. First of all, I got all of us packed with just three pieces of luggage. My mom thought we'd have more and actually lined up my cousin to pick up our luggage at the airport fearing that they wouldn't have enough room in their vehicles. We even got away with bringing only one carseat. Our neighbors dropped us off and from there we had to fgure out how to get the babies, three suitcases, and a carseat into the airport. The older children actually fought to be able to roll a piece of luggage on their own. That was great.

Once we got checked in, it was off to the dreaded security area. If I wasn't so stressed, I probably would have pulled out my camera and taken some picutures. As crazy as the lines were, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. The line weaved back and forth, and I could barely fit our small double stroller through, but with the help of other people in line, we made it through as they moved posts that were in the way. As we got close to the x-ray machines I had all the children take their shoes off, which they thought was strange, but they did it anyway. Then I had to pull out our sippy cups and bottled water, which had to be tested to make sure that they didn't have any radioactive material in them that could cause an explosion or something. I brought small sealed water bottles for the kids. Apparently, just becuase they are sealed doesn't mean that they are safe. I might have a machine or something at home that could reseal them. This has happened in Europe you know. We were finally approved to fly as we were not a danger to the other passengers, and were able to continue on our way to our gate.

To get to our gate, we had to board a train. The kids were pretty excited to get on a train. There really aren't any seats on the train, so the kids grabbed whatever poll they could get their hands on. We were kind of scattered on the train. We must have grabbed the attention of some people because the next thing I know a lady is asking Rebecca, "Are they all your brothers and sisters? You're all so beautiful."
Then another gal whispered to her friend, "There's six kids."

Another lady proceeded to ask Rebecca how old all of the kids are. I just had to smile.

We made our way to the gate just in time to almost start boarding the plane. Yay! Time for one last bathroom break for everyone! When you travel with infants and young children you get to board right after the people who pay the extra money to board first. I had no idea how the plane was laid out or how we would be seated. On Southwest airlines you just grab a seat. There are no assigned seats. Thankfully the flight was only about 2/3 full. When we got to the front of the line I handed the attendant our tickets and he asked how many there were of us. I told him eight. One lady told me, "You guys should have your own plane." Yes, that would be lovely, however, we're not quite millionaires yet, so we'll just fly with all of you. How's that?

As we boarded the plane the flight attendant smiled, and said, "Wow! You have little parade going on here." Great! I'm so happy that we could provide some entertainment for everyone. We were able to take up three rows of three. It worked out wonderfully. We sat in the very back of the plane which was a good thing because I felt like I was constantly taking children to the bathroom and we also kept the flight attendants entertained. They couldn't believe that all these kids were ours and that I gave birth to all of them. They were guessing ages and thought that Thomas and David were twins.  "They're like stair steps." That's what one of the attendants said when I told them how old each one was.

It gets even better when we deplaned. We had to wait for the stroller. A man was getting off the plane. He stopped, looking very concerned and asked if we needed any help. I told him we had it under control and he said, "No. Really. Do you need help? Do you have triplets?" It was pretty comical. It went pretty much the same way on our way home. People just stared and I could even see people counting with their mouths. I guess, when traveling with many small children, you draw a lot of attention. With all the stress of traveling it all made for some good laughs too.


Adriane said...

Head 'em up, and move 'em out!

Oh, yeah, and in case nobody's told you lately, you're a great mom, Jan.

DeAnn said...

Jan, you are my new hero. And, I love your sarcasm. It made me smile.

Lauren said...

Ditto to Adriane. You are a rock star.

Brenda said...

Do you want to borrow some triplets? Just for a little bit. You know you do :)

JAN said...

Thank you, ladies! You are too kind.

DeAnn, sarcasm? Whatever do you mean? ;)

Brenda, I would take your triplets anytime. Really.

Susie's Heart said...

you make traveling with 8 sound like so much Fun!! Thanks for the smiles

Glenda said...

This reminded me of my trip to Florida in 2001. At the time, my mom was living near Ft. Meyers and my husband was the circuit rep for the synodical convention. I flew to FL to be with my mom while he was gone. I had three children at the time ages 5, 4 and 16 months, and I was 8 months pregnant with #4. I had to be dropped off at O'Hare early which meant I had to buy supper for the kids there - you can imagine trying to keep little ones together while carrying a diaper bag, toy bags, and a tray piled with food. People stared at us wherever we went. And since it was summer and I was huge, I couldn't wear my wedding rings, so there I was walking around without a wedding ring, three little kids and looking like I was due any moment. I always wondered what people thought.

JAN said...

Susie, it actually was pretty fun. People were pretty nice and accommodating which made traveling much easier.

Glenda, I can't even imagine. I'm surprised they airline even let you fly. I went to Chile when I was almost 8 months pregnant and they almost didn't let me come home.