Little darling, it’s been a long cold rainy winter here in the Bay Area. (I know, I know. It’s really brutal everywhere else, but I’m a California Girl and my blood is thin) When my boss told me we would be spending February break at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu I was completely consumed with gratitude that my awesome employers had the resources to travel with their Nanny. And, that they were extremely cool people that I adore spending time with.
Rule number one of travel: Never go anywhere with assholes. Seriously. Someone reading this is right at this moment thinking about that unfortunate road trip they took with their Drama-Queen-Sorority-Sister/Whiney-Cousin/Bitchy-Brother-in-law/Overbearing-Employer or Needy-Nanny. Make sure that the people that you travel with are the lot that you would look forward to spending six hours with on a plane, coasting around in a cramped rental car or camping out in a hotel room while your beach day gets rained out. In the employment world this cannot be a guarantee, but it certainly makes it better.
Rule number two of travel: If you are going to be travelling with small little people, be prepared for any and every type of disaster that could happen from exploding diapers to a large scale earthquake.
Our disaster was a six-hour flight delay. We had sauntered into the San Francisco airport with fully stocked carryon bags for each child, containing numerous snacks, diapers, pull-ups, wipes, and a variety of entertainment, in electronic, sticker board and book form. We had bought our gum and tabloids. We had gleefully boarded our plane and settled into our seats. And then we sat. And sat. At first we were waiting for a flight from Boston (where it is truly cold) so those passengers could make their connection to Honolulu. Then it was some small problem with the air conditioning or the wings or the engines or something vaguely important for a six-hour flight over the ocean. We sat and waited over an hour for maintenance to arrive.
“Twenty bucks we end up switching planes.” I said to my boss, holding the Girl Baby on my lap and entertaining her with Dora stickers.
It was when they announced that we would be waiting yet another hour that I became aware that the man across the aisle was glancing at me in such a manner that could only be described as creepy. He was smiling at me and shaking his head in such a way that his thought bubble would have read, “You are such a dirty little Bunny!”
Finally I stared back at him and demanded, “What?”
He said in a thick European accent, “I am sorry. I am from overseas and I have never seen such a family as yours.”
The Girl Baby needed a change of venue as this exchange was going on, and I stood up and handed her to her mother.
“What are you talking about?”
He now addressed my Mom Boss and myself.
“Can I take your picture?” He was in his overhead bin and pulling out a camera. “We don’t see this in my country.”
And he began snapping away at our startled faces.
“Holy crap,” I mouthed to my Mom Boss, “he thinks we’re in a plural marriage!”
“We are not a polygamy family!” My Mom Boss shouted at him, holding her hands over the children’s faces lest they end up in some sort of salacious article in a Swedish newsletter. “This is our Nanny!”
We decided to beat the crowd and exit the plane, which was clearly not going anywhere. We were rebooked on the 5pm flight, and retired to the First Class lounge where we recharged every cell phone, computer, iPod and Game Boy while the children snacked on the complimentary cookies and carrot sticks, dropping huge crumbs on the floor until our little area looked liked rampaging rock stars had just rolled through. One guy, hugely fat in unfortunate denim shorts, actually hissed “pigs” at us as we caravanned out, a carnival of strollers and carry-ons and all those neck pillows we had just had to buy five hours earlier. We boarded our new plane and sat with our fingers crossed until we taxied to the gate. We were on our way! And only one hour after we already should have landed in Oahu!
It’s a weird thing how small children who have just spent many hours in an airport with no naps with not get tired once settled into cozy plush first class seats that fold out into beds. Our children seemed to be on some sort of speed. The Girl Baby pointed out the window and repeatedly squealed, “Deda ook ki!” (Rebecca, Look, Sky) for three full hours. The Four-year-old boy only wanted to sit under his seat, and happily spent most of the flight burrowing. We did many laps to the rear of the plane and back again. Thirty minutes before landing we got the Girl Baby to sleep. The boy powered through and exited the plane dragging his own bag.
“Where are we?” He asked, zigzagging through the Honolulu airport.
“Hawaii.” I said, breathing in the warm air and smiling. “Finally!”
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at http://www.abandofwives.ning.com/
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