An Unaccompanied Minor

This week brings with it a new parenting milestone: the first time my child flies as an “unaccompanied minor.” Concurrent with this, I will descend into a neurotic ball of Jewish mother hysteria.

My 7 yo son will be flying cross country because his Uncle on the opposite coast is getting married and the Ex is already out there. I’m not attending, so – short of a teleportation – the only way to get G there is by airplane, solo.

Folks, there is not enough Klonopin in the world. (Not for him, of course. For me. Just in case that was unclear.)

Now, it’s not like my son hasn’t flown before. His first flight was at the ripe old age of 3 months. Since then, he’s taken multiple long flights, zigzagging all across the country. This past spring, he even took his first international flight when we went on vacation to Costa Rica. But on each and every one of those flights, I or a respective grandmother was there.

When the Ex was a kid, he flew all the time as an unaccompanied minor. His dad was a pilot and his mom a flight attendant, so yeah. He is the one who booked G’s solo voyage (hello, surprise flight confirmation in my email!), telling me “It’s no big deal” and “You cannot let him know you’re nervous about this.” He also assured me that I would walk G onto the plane and he would walk him off. Aside from sitting on the plane itself, G would not be alone.

As if those were my only concerns. My Google search history reads like that of a Cheetos-covered, Angry Birds-playing adolescent on the verge of emotional collapse:

  • iPhone battery life while playing Mino Monsters
  • Are there outlets on airplanes?
  • How many snacks will an airline provide a child?¬†What if he’s really hungry? Do additional reallys = additional snacks? Past a certain number of snacks, is a parental note required?
  • How do you purchase meals on a plane without a credit card? Does extra cash work? How about crying?
  • Changing your plane seat if the person beside you seems creepy
  • Stuffed animals lost on airplanes

And, it only gets worse from there.

Mamas – do any of you have experience with unaccompanied minors? Any tips to make his flight as enjoyable as possible? Any wines you’d recommend I try while his flight is in air?

The Vindictiveness of Preschoolers

When you have young children, you have stories – lots of stories. You have stories that most people wouldn’t believe unless they, too, have had small children. You think you’ll never forget these incidents when they happen. Then a year goes by, maybe two, and suddenly you’re struggling to remember even the most basic details. So, I’m choosing to write down what I can before I forget entirely.

Like this gem:

G was three years old (he’s now seven). It was late at night and we were two water breaks, four stories, and a whole lot of my patience into bedtime. When he came downstairs for the hundredth time, I was just settling in to watch some TV.

“Are you going to make popcorn tonight?” he asked hopefully.

I glanced over at the pot on the stove – filled with hot oil, waiting for my nightly batch of kernels – and then back to my preschooler. Sleep was close; I couldn’t risk undoing hours of bedtime work with an affirmative answer.

“No,” I lied. “Back upstairs.”

“Okay,” he said. “Just don’t make popcorn without me.”

“Sure. I won’t.”

It was a white lie. No sooner had I tucked him back into bed than I had kernels popping on the stove. G was asleep and I was safe to enjoy my habitual popcorn and TV nightcap. He would be none the wiser and I could make him his own popcorn the next day. Win-win, I thought.

Unfortunately, I left the empty bowl with a few tattling kernels on the coffee table. Also unfortunately, G awoke before me the next morning. When I came downstairs, he was curled up on the couch watching the latest episode of Thomas the Train. (Yes, he knew how to turn the television on and navigate the On-Demand section. We teach important life skills early around here.)

“Morning, baby,” I said. Seeing the evidence, I went quickly to the bowl, hoping to remove it before he noticed what had been in it.

I picked it up and immediately put in back down again. There was some watery liquid in the bottom.

“What happ — did you pour water in here?”

“No.” He didn’t look up from Thomas. “I peed in there.”

I stared, flabbergasted, at my very potty trained child who had never peed anywhere other than a diaper or a toilet.

“You PEED in the BOWL?” I could barely get the words out.

“Yes,” he nodded, eyes never leaving the screen.

I took the bowl over to the sink. As I scrubbed it under the hottest, soapiest water imaginable, I realized the thumb-sucking three-year old had just given me a very deliberate f-you.

And I never lied about making popcorn again.

Boston for the Summer!

The Ex, G, and I are off to Boston for the summer! SittingAround has been selected as a finalist in the MassChallenge Accelerator program, which means we’ll be hanging out working from the Boston waterfront all summer long. I’m thrilled! Since we leave tonight and our house is still not packed (oops), I’m keeping this short.

In the spirit of this summer’s adventure, here’s another Alec Baldwin / John Krasinski gem. You’re welcome.

My Son, the Author

When I was a child, my favorite thing to do was write stories. My mother still has (somewhere?) the first story I ever wrote. “Watch the Flower Grow” is a tale of a small seed that — you guessed it! — grows into a beautiful flower. Free play time from ages 5 through 10 was consumed by story creation, and I dreamed of becoming a novelist when I grew up.

Flash forward twenty years and it seems G has gotten the bug. Lately, he has been commandeering every piece of printer paper he can find, producing multiple books per day. Sometimes he will transcribe the story himself; others, he will get frustrated with his inability to spell quickly and enlist the spelling skills of the Ex or me.

His latest piece is actually a compilation called, “The Days.” It will have (when finished) 30 stories — “one for each day” (presumably in a month). Each story involves a family and what they do on that day. The words are G’s own and he of course does the illustrations himself. I need to scan images of this book and post them up — it’s adorable beyond words and fills me with pride.

“You know, Mommy wanted to be an author when I was your age,” I told him.

“Are you an author now?” he asked.

“Well, no…”

“Why not?”

I decided it was best not to launch into a conversation about abandoned dreams and changed the subject. Thankfully, he didn’t press me on the topic — he had stories to create.

Sitting Around in the New York Times

Many people have a revered text, a writing that influences the way they view the world and live their lives. For some, this is the bible. For me, it’s the New York Times.

You can imagine my elation, then, at being quoted in an article on entrepreneurial fashion in last Sunday’s paper. (Imagine if you were quoted in the bible. It’s THAT awesome.) My words of wisdom to fellow entrepreneurs – don’t try too hard. No suits, no stockings. And nothing that requires ironing or dry cleaning…or god forbid, both. Your product should speak for itself. If you need to wear fancy clothes to impress someone, your product isn’t good enough.

Check out the full article here.

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