Here is a sampling of the things I was fretting about before our trip to DC:

• Airport security would freak Riley out and he would refuse to take off his shoes
• The plane taking off would scare the shit out of him
• The pressure would hurt his ears and he would scream
• The great lie of his “Amazing Airplanes: Amazing Machines” would be revealed when he discovered the stewardesses do not in fact serve massive platters of food but rather will grudgingly sell you a box of crackers for $5
• He would get airsick
• He would refuse to use a strange toilet
• We would run out of distractions 45 minutes into the flight and I’d have to spend the remainder of the time hissing dire threats in his ear while he howled and whined and nearby passengers plotted a group takedown, terrorist-style (”Okay people, he’s not looking, let’s roll . . . who’s got a sharpened plastic knife from the cracker tray? What? No one had five dollars?”)

So for me to say he exceeded my wildest expectations doesn’t tell you much, because as you can see the bar had been set quite low. Instead, I’ll tell you what an utterly goddamned fantastic kid he was, so well-behaved and quietly entertained that once we’d landed on the flight there, a woman sitting across the aisle elbowed her husband, who was seated directly to my right, and said, “Did you tell her?” He turned to me, a little embarrassed, and said, “Ma’am, your child has been a real pleasure.” His wife then told me what a great mom I was, and what a nice boy Riley was, and I tried to think of something just this side of human sacrifice to show my gratitude.

(Aside: I know how awful it is to sit next to screaming kids on a flight, and I hope I’ve always done my best to be patient and understanding, even when some little shit is kicking the back of my seat for five straight hours. But I’ve never gone out of my way to say something complimentary to a parent before, and now that I know how unbelievably wonderful just a few little words of encouragement can feel, I promise to do so in the future.)

(Another aside: about those kicking feet—I know some kids do like to deliberately kick, probably just to pass the time. I did notice, however, that if Riley was slumped downward in his seat rather than sitting straight upright, his little legs extended out and didn’t really bend downward at the knee, so his soles brushed the back of the seat in front of him. I worried this brushing might be giving the impression of kicking, or at least be annoying to the person in front of us, so I removed everything in the seat pocket in order to create a little more room, which helped.)

The only time Riley expressed any audible impatience was after we had landed and we were waiting for everyone to debark. When I explained to him that we couldn’t get off the plane quite yet he unleashed a Homer-esque “Ohhhhhhhh” of frustration which made everyone around us laugh. Who can’t identify with the maddening sensation of having spent X hours trapped in an uncomfortable tin can, only to have to wait even longer while people rustle around seemingly taking their sweet-ass time getting down the damn aisle?

The silver bullet for both plane rides was my laptop, loaded with Curious George and Blue’s Clues episodes. For the majority of the flights, Riley watched the “tiny TV” using these headphones and I was able to just sit back and read my book. We also made good use of crayons, kid-friendly scissors (which happily, or depending on how you view it, disturbingly made it through security both ways), and a box of Band-Aids I’d bought at Old Navy, which oddly enough became the one item he wouldn’t let out of his sight all weekend long. He even napped for a while, curled half on my lap.

Our hotel was an absolute dream, and the room—which was beautiful and immaculate— had a little living area that they’d set up with a single bed for Riley. He basically had his own little suite adjacent to my luxurious king bed, and it was so cozy we could have happily stayed there the whole time.

I’d tell you about the shower but I’m still experiencing involuntary Kegels every time I think about it.

The Smithsonian tour itself was a lot of fun, although I think Riley was more geeked on the ability to run all over an empty museum rather than taking in the specific sights and displays. He was a little hard to manage, especially since a lot of the displays were only surrounded by a sort of railing that he could easily duck under—I’d blink and suddenly, wait, is that my kid getting ready to scale the priceless Amelia Earhart plane replica? Or climbing the tippy-looking movie standup?—but it went pretty well and I think he had a lot of fun.

I met a lot of really nice people (Mom-101 did a better job than me at getting everyone’s name and website figured out) (also: in person, both Melissa and Liz are as crisply pulled together as a freshly ironed sheets and have fantastic, infectious smiles, and I really wish they’d tried to be more slovenly-looking or at least tone it down with the fucking dimples and rapier wit because come ON, ladies, I’d just been on a 5-hour flight and was about as sparkly as the inside of a badger’s asshole), and the folks at Hershey who pulled this whole thing together could not have been more friendly or accommodating. They even gave us a rather large amount of chocolate to take home, including a stash of my very favorite candies of all time, Whoppers, which I am going to eat until my tongue gets shredded to a pulp and my ass cannot fit in my jeans without a shoe-horn.

On Sunday I took Riley around Georgetown a little (this stroller worked out awesomely) and we even stopped for brunch at a cafe where I had the best french toast I’ve ever had in my LIFE, almost worth the Orange Juice Spillage Disaster and subsequent meltdown and lightening-fast exodus, and the weather was hot and sunny and flawless.

Overall the trip was a giant success and I am particularly glad for the timing because after over a week of Riley being sick and getting on my every last nerve, it was an amazing experience to get to spend that kind of time together. I’m so very glad we went, and so grateful for the opportunity.

Hershey’s is running a sweepstakes right now where you can win your own trip to DC, I don’t know all the details but you can read up on it here. I believe there are 5 grand prizes, and each winner gets a free trip for 3 to spend the night in the museum and do assorted fun things, and if you read the fine print on the Hershey’s website it actually says you can take a cash alternative of $10,000 if you’d rather have that than the trip. Whoah. Cool.

Finally, I do have one story to share of a less-than-stellar moment in our travel adventures. We had arrived back in Seattle, rode the little train over towards baggage claim, and were just approaching the escalator when Riley dashed in front of me and hopped on. I think he must have thought it was going to be like the flat people-mover he had so enjoyed in the DC airport, and as he ascended and the steps pulled apart he completely lost his shit. He was clinging to the steps and howling and I pulled him to his feet, begged him to stay put, and in the meantime I managed to leave the stroller back at the bottom of the escalator, so I told him to stand still and I began sprinting back down the up steps, which I thought was going to be easy but ha ha ha HAAAA, NO, I was running like an idiot with my heavy-ass backpack pounding against me and my flip-flops making comical splatting noises against my feet but I was making no progress, like some sort of giant stupid hamster on a wheel, and Riley was screaming “MOMMMMMY!” and stretching a pathetic little arm out to me and people at the top of the escalator turned to see what horrible parent had abandoned their child who was probably going to get sucked under the sucker-inner part at the end and I was like “Just a sec! Just a sec!” and finally a security guard came and grabbed the stroller and got on the escalator and gave it to me, THE END.

Comments

62 Responses to “DC trip”

  1. Erin on April 27th, 2009 1:49 pm

    Best. Ending. Picture. Ever.

    Also? I hope I did not make you paranoid about children and the seat-kicking thing. Also REALLY impressed that the couple went out of their way to compliment you. A good reminder for us all!

  2. samantha jo campen on April 27th, 2009 1:53 pm

    I’m so so so so SO happy you had a fabulous trip. I was excited to keep getting your twitter updates so I didn’t have to bite my fingernails nervously wondering how things were going.

    What an amazing experience! Yeah for Riley and yeah for you!

  3. lumpyheadsmom on April 27th, 2009 1:56 pm

    So did the Orange Juice Spillage Disaster mean you didn’t get dessert – the best part of brunch? Because as great as your trip sounds, missing dessert at Cafe La Ruche is a terrible fucking tragedy.

  4. Anne on April 27th, 2009 1:56 pm

    I did very nearly the exact same thing with one of my young cousins, except I was running up the down escalator instead of down the up escalator. I have done things that made me feel/look dumber, but not often.

  5. JudyU on April 27th, 2009 1:56 pm

    OMG I am LMAO with your update. I knew your trip would be a glowing success because Riley is at the right age to appreciate all the newness around him. And you are such an awesome mom that you planned for every possible outcome. No one gives a crap if your kid has a stain on his shirt. I knew you would be thrilled with him. He is such an adorable kid and the next time you are out in my neck of the woods I may just have to come and buy you a latte’ and Riley a donut. What confounds me is your twitters thought this weather was awesome. BLECH. Treeporn and HEAT is not awesome.

  6. sundry on April 27th, 2009 2:08 pm

    Lumpyheadsmom: nope, the brunch stop was actually not a good idea on my part, maybe it was the heat or maybe it was just overload at that point but he was NOT into sitting still and being quiet at a cafe. And as soon as he knocked over the orange juice, the waitress was NOT into us sharing the same earth as her. (Sorry, Anon Waitress, but if you had maybe brought me some fucking NAPKINS I could have cleaned it better, also thanks for taking forever to bring the check, bah.)

    Judy: I personally enjoyed the heat and the treeporn was NOTHING compared to what we’ve been having in Seattle. Was there a visible cloud of yellow sexdust in the air? No there was not. Win!

  7. danielle on April 27th, 2009 2:14 pm

    All’s well that ends….oh, nevermind. I’m glad it was such a wonderful and fantastic trip!

    While I love my children, I think I’d have to take the 10K over the trip for 3 to DC. Even if it meant missing out on a suitcase of Whoppers.

  8. Mom101 on April 27th, 2009 2:18 pm

    I have known badger assholes, and let me tell you, you are no badger asshole.

    It was delightful meeting you too, if only now that I get to out you to every one of your 8 million readers and let them know that your son is nothing but sheer joy and I think you make all that “difficult kid” stuff up when you have nothing to write about. It’s okay. I understand.

  9. Amy on April 27th, 2009 2:22 pm

    Best ending ever! I am lmao and my co-workers think I’m crazy. I am so glad the trip was a success. I love it when I have one on one time with my kids (although we’ve never done an undertaking like that).

  10. nonsoccermom on April 27th, 2009 2:23 pm

    Yay, so glad it went well! And that last picture is hilariously adorable. Hee.

  11. Eric's Mommy on April 27th, 2009 2:25 pm

    So glad you had a great time! That last pic of Riley says it all!

  12. whoorl on April 27th, 2009 2:48 pm

    Oh man, deplaning is the worst! Although Wito is a awesome flier (50+ flights already, holy schizz), he can’t STAND waiting to deplane. The poor kid will literally attempt climbing over seats and people to get off the damn plane.

    Your trip sounded fantastic!

  13. Jillian on April 27th, 2009 3:40 pm

    Whew for things going better than you expected.

  14. Melissa D. on April 27th, 2009 3:46 pm

    So glad you guys had a great time. I just got off a plane with my 3yr old who was a dream and my 12 month old who was just not enjoying being held all day. Whine, screeeech! Whine, screeech! Yeah – I was the one with that kid. Giving you an exhausted high-five. :) And by the way, remember all those times that Riley was such a Daddy’s boy…bet you never thought you’d be able to do something like this with him. Very cool.

  15. KJ on April 27th, 2009 3:50 pm

    Congratulations on a fantastic trip! Way to carpe the hell out of the diem.

  16. Audrey - Mom Generations on April 27th, 2009 3:57 pm

    It was cool meeting you. I have to say – I think it was kismet that they had all the moms with kids between 2 and 4 together. That way they could do whatever they wanted. You are a riot. Glad to have met the woman behind the blog. Next time – let’s make a deal. You bring your other son. I will bring my other 3 sons. And we’ll just let them roam and play.
    xo
    Audrey

  17. Amy on April 27th, 2009 4:11 pm

    Involuntary Kegels is going to be my new tagline, that was priceless.

    Glad you loved it! Escalator and orange juice things aside ;-P.

  18. veralynn on April 27th, 2009 4:14 pm

    OMG, is it just me or does he look crazy old in the last shot?! Holy cow, he’s growing up so fast! Not possible. (and yeah, it feels weird thinking that about kids I’ve never met! heh)

  19. Amy on April 27th, 2009 4:18 pm

    So glad you had a good time in my town. What a great weekend for it!

  20. H on April 27th, 2009 4:22 pm

    I’m usually not into making resolutions, but this year I did resolve to give more compliments and say thank you more often, similar to the gentleman who complimented you and Riley on the plane. I’ve found it has a wonderful impact on people and I hope that they pay it forward, as you plan to do. OK – Oprah moment aside (sorry about that), your trip sounds great and I love “the end” because no trip is complete without a story like that!

  21. the goddess anna on April 27th, 2009 4:43 pm

    Glad your trip was a success! If it’s okay, I’m stealing the word treeporn. : )

  22. Christina on April 27th, 2009 5:07 pm

    Hip Hip Hooray for the awesome trip!!! I knew it would go well. But OMG the Seattle airport/stroller story… ah tears in my eyes. Love the last photo – this is such a fun age (okay but some times not but still fun most of the time… er I can keep talking in a circle like this, fun, not fun, fun, not fun…)

  23. victoria on April 27th, 2009 5:11 pm

    I am really, really happy that you had a great trip.

  24. Jen - Mom of 4 on April 27th, 2009 5:19 pm

    I’m so glad that your trip went so well! I can totally picture you on that escalator!

    I have 16 year old and have just started to tell parents how great their kids are being. It struck me one day that I’m sure that they only hear the crappy stuff that their kid has done. I know it makes me feel better anyway!

  25. Christine on April 27th, 2009 5:21 pm

    I, too, am really delighted that it went so well. It’s lovely to give the boy a chance to be good, and fabulous when he lives up to it.

    When we flew to Australia the year before last the people beside us told us and the couple to our right that our kids (mine was 16 months, theirs was much younger) were the best they’d ever seen on such a long flight. We were all dead chuffed.

  26. Victoria on April 27th, 2009 5:30 pm

    Awwwww!

  27. Renee aka Mekhismom on April 27th, 2009 6:01 pm

    It was great meeting you and I loved Riley’s band-aids. He was so generous too. I think I took the prize for most misbehaved child but all in all I think it was a great trip. Actually, all of our children did quite well considering we had them up waaaay past bedtime but it was worth it. Your photos are gorgeous and I am sorry I missed hanging in the museum with the 4 and under crew. I suppose that is what happens when you are chasing a two year old and everyone disappears like magic!

  28. Nichole on April 27th, 2009 6:43 pm

    That sounds like such a fun trip!

  29. js on April 27th, 2009 7:11 pm

    This post actually made me teary. I’m so happy it went so well! And I love that the couple made a point to tell you how well behaved Riley was (also, what a great mom you are). My daughters first flight was when she was 4, and someone did the same to me, I wanted to make out with them hardcore. And the last picture? Priceless. Rest assured, he WILL remember this.

  30. Erin on April 27th, 2009 7:38 pm

    Dude. That last picture is amazing. High school graduation card, anyone?

    I have a question! I live in Portland and am taking my first trip to Seattle in a few weeks. I’m wondering if there is anything awesome and relatively un-tourist-y that you think I should do? We’re going to go to the EMP and the sci-fi museum because, well, we NEED to, but am wondering about the lesser-known Seattle awesomeness (that may even keep me from stabbing hordes of Bumbershoot and holiday weekend crowds because I plan trips for horribly inopportune times.)

  31. kim on April 27th, 2009 8:08 pm

    Absolutely wonderful – thanks for sharing all of that with us. I’m glad you guys had a great time…I was so hoping you would!

  32. Chelsea on April 27th, 2009 9:53 pm

    That picture at the end is the cutest ever.
    Glad you guys had a fun trip!

  33. janet on April 27th, 2009 10:34 pm

    so glad it was a success! And I love that you ate at Cafe La Ruche — my now-husband and I ate there after he proposed to me (somewhat spontaneously, as it’s hardly fancy) so it has fun memories. Must try their breakfast I guess!

  34. lisa on April 27th, 2009 11:16 pm

    Im so glad it went well and am just a wee bit jealous. Nathan is all about space ships and airplanes and whatnot. We lived in the DC area for about two years (granted Nathan was a baby so it wouldn’t have mattered much) but I always loved how much there was to do there. It makes me wish we had done more, but that seems to be the case everywhere we live…you always think you’ll “get around to it”, whatever “it” might be and then you move. Im sure we’ll feel the same way once we leave Japan.

    Oh, and if we still lived in the DC area I would have made it a point to come and meet you and let the boys play because, well, just because I’d love to meet you. :)

  35. Donna on April 28th, 2009 12:42 am

    This was the best trip I wasn’t on. Ever!
    Sounds like there should be more in the future!
    How did JB fare with Dylan? Can’t wait to hear that story too….
    Jealous, did I say jealous?

  36. Stephanie @ And twins make 5! on April 28th, 2009 5:14 am

    It was great meeting you on the D.C. trip. Can’t wait to read about your experience on the red carpet. Only wish we’d had a tad more time to chat.

    Stephanie

  37. Erica on April 28th, 2009 5:28 am

    Maybe I am emotional today – but that brought tears to my eyes while at the same time I was cracking up about the escalator. Love it.

  38. Jessi on April 28th, 2009 6:18 am

    I’m glad it went well. Love the pictures!

  39. Anonymous on April 28th, 2009 6:37 am

    those escalators are deceiving. I tried to run down one once….didn’t work. looked like idiot.

  40. Claudia on April 28th, 2009 7:51 am

    I’m so glad y’all had a great trip. DC is a wonderful place and you should go back with both boys when they’re a little older. My daughter and I had such a great time there a few weeks ago. Of course, we got to ride the train up, which was a fun excursion in itself (and a first for her). The Zoo is fabulous and easy to get to via the Metro.

  41. Sharla on April 28th, 2009 8:51 am

    Sounds like tons of fun! The escalator part at the end made me laugh so hard. (Sorry, I know it WASN’T funny in the moment) I would have paid good money to see that. =)

  42. Alyson on April 28th, 2009 8:55 am

    Congrats on your success! You have survived one of my worst nightmares.

  43. Maria on April 28th, 2009 10:05 am

    Hey, new layout! OMG OMG OMG, I FEAR CHANGE!!!

    I like it, actually…very soothing.

    I’m glad you had such a great trip! Awesome pics.

  44. hollylynne on April 28th, 2009 10:15 am

    Fantastic photos, it looks like you had an amazing time. I can’t wait for the movie!!! :)

  45. Sundry on April 28th, 2009 10:39 am

    Maria: new . . . layout? *looks around worriedly* Wha?

  46. vicky on April 28th, 2009 10:44 am

    loved meeting you and Riley- wish we had more time together as I do love and admire your blog and I’m officially de-lurking myself here and now. Glad the travels were all so smooth too. I freak out just like you each time I have to travel even an hour on a plane with my kids.

  47. Sandy on April 28th, 2009 10:59 am

    Delighted for you that the trip went so well!

    I didn’t know that immaculately clean hotel rooms still existed. Seems we always end up on the other end of that regardless of the price.

    Share which hotel? We’re headed in that direction soon. :-)

  48. Junni on April 28th, 2009 12:42 pm

    “I’d tell you about the shower but I’m still experiencing involuntary Kegels every time I think about it.”

    You are so fucking funny. Your book would be a best seller.

  49. Maria on April 28th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Linda, I sent you an email about the layout I was seeing.

  50. spacegeek on April 28th, 2009 3:16 pm

    Yeah! I’ve been waiting to hear how it went and am so glad that it was great!! Let’s hear it for Low Expectations!! Good job mommy–you’re doing great!

  51. Pocklock on April 28th, 2009 5:46 pm

    Oh my goodness. I just drooled from laughing so hard at your escalator story. If the pictures that unfolded in my head were half as hilarious as what happened in real life, that is one great story.

    And yes. I’m so the person that points and laughs when someone gets cracked in the nuts. It’s a huge character flaw.

    So glad it went well and that you guys had a great time!

  52. Keri on April 29th, 2009 6:51 am

    I’m so glad you had an AWESOME time with Riley. The last picture of him with thumbs up says it all. ;)

  53. sundry on April 29th, 2009 9:14 am

    Note: if you happen to notice the site looking broken right now, it’s because something is Technically Fucked. Pardon my dust. Also: french.

  54. aimee on April 29th, 2009 9:24 am

    Awesome! So glad things went well. Yay for that couple who complimented you. Wouldn’t it be great is more people did things like that?

  55. Sandy on April 29th, 2009 11:07 am

    The site looks fine for me – I’m using IE 7, if that helps!

  56. Josh on May 1st, 2009 2:07 pm

    Dude. Did you seriously just insinuate showerhead masturbation? I’m pretty sure you did. Ha, what a perv. Anyway, the trip sounds really fun, I’m glad you decided to go.

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