We went to the airport to catch our flight home after spending a few weeks with my parents, and like a weatherman predicts the weather, I was predicting by all accounts that the two flights home were going to be a breeze! Justin had been doing well in the airport and didn't seem overstimulated by all the noise and chaos. So my parents and I took the kids and boarded with high hopes of having a successful flight home. Justin always sits in the same spot, by the window, in his car seat. So he pulls the shade down on the window, and just like in the movies, when darkness falls, something bad is about to happen. (Cue the suspenseful music) My dad and I sat next to Justin because we were on "Justin duty." We both realized that as often as the weatherman's predictions are wrong, so were ours on this flight turning out peacefully. For whatever reason, Justin decided my dad and I were not allowed to look at him, yes LOOK at him! So every time we did, he would reach over and move our chins back to looking forward and shriek at us. His shrieking got louder and louder and then he started kicking the seat in front of him and throwing his arms around--and people are still coming on the plane at this point. (Side note, once we are on the plane with Justin, he's usually fine, it's the airport waiting that is usually a problem. So again, why was my prediction so wrong?!?) So I trade places with my dad, not because I enjoy moving closer to danger, but out of primal instinct I was thinking "me-your-mother, me-can-do-anything, you-will-be-happy!" I tried all the normal tricks, and nothing was working. No amount of ABA, positive reinforcers meant anything to Justin at that moment. And so I moved on to Plan B, empty out every emergency trick from my carry on magic bag. He did not care one ounce about any of them and at the same time was escalating his kicking and screaming and pushing my chin to not look at him. I gave him his evening medications, which usually induce sleep, and figured even though it wasn't quite night time, we could get him to sleep through this flight and the little hopper flight home. I was just praying we weren't going to get kicked off the plane.
Fifteen minutes later....no sign of the medications working, Justin is getting more and more mad and won't take candy or any of the usual "sure-fire" tricks. Passengers are still loading in, and the guy in front of us pulls out some earplugs and puts them in his ears. This earplug thing irritated me. EARPLUGS??? REALLY??? Why on Earth didn't I think of that!! Miss uber-prepared missed the idea completely! Because if I had thought of earplugs, I would have brought 15 pair and handed them out to everyone around us--oh what a great idea that was!!! So as things went from worse, to mommy-is-starting-to-lose-it-worse, I opted to try the emergency reserve of allergy medication. Here's where the winning part of the story comes into play.
Superwoman, that would be me, who has super-hidden-rodeo-calf-wrestling-skills that no one knows about, pulled out the 2 single serve doses of allergy medication and enlisted the help of her rodeo assistant superdad. As superdad held Justin's hands and knees, still in a car seat and kicking wildly, I used my super strong hands to pry open the pressed lips of Justin and slip the dose in. My super job was not over as I had to slide a finger to the back of his jaw and jam my finger behind his top and bottom teeth to keep his mouth open. As I'm squeezing the medication into his mouth, he is crying with clenched teeth and trying to spit it back out. So the arm wrapped around the top of his head shot down to hold his chin up and his lips shut, and we got the second dose in too. Alas, superwoman won. Thanks to her trusty superdad rodeo hero's help. All the while keeping my "happy-I-got-this-one" face on and announcing to worried passengers nearby, "Oh don't worry, he LOVES flying, we just have to wait for the medication to kick in! This is going to be great!"
Thirty minutes later we took off and Justin fell asleep. My dad and I took a breath of relief and I thought we were home free. And I was, for 2 hours. Then he woke up, and was still in a semi-foul mood. We landed at our layover airport, and waited 2 hours for our final leg home. He was still not in a good mood, but my parents are the ultimate optimists! My favorite line from my dad is, "I've climbed higher mountains, Shannon." But I really didn't think we were going to make it this time. Sure enough, as they called to board, Justin started screaming and running the other direction. So we let my mom fly home with my daughter, and my dad and I rented a car and we drove Justin home. And no, Justin didn't sleep one wink in the car either! We rolled into my driveway at 2 am that evening and he stayed up another 2 hours before crashing at 4am.
So I am not sure if we'll be flying anytime soon, I think the superheroes in this story might hang up their costumes for awhile and just be regular civilians in our happy, regular routine.