Have baby. Will Travel.

I strutted down the aisle.  No, I sashayed. Hell sat in my arms doll-like only moving occasionally to look down at the interesting people as we passed them. She looked like a little regal queen boarding her chariot.

Hell’s pastel purple sundress looked fashionable, yet innocent. For once, she looked like a baby cover model. Her skin glowed, shoes shined, and her hair looked like the perfectly brushed baby soft puff. I had spent the last hour at the airport obsessing over keeping her perfect looking. Luckily, I turned it into a game, which her Highness seemed to love.

My skinny jeans looked perfectly tailored to my curves. My purple linen top said business, while my black heeled boots said fun. My hair was pulled back in a neat bun with strategic pieces pulled out to frame my face. I had decided to go with the no-makeup look, which involved way to much makeup.

We looked damn good.

Why?

I was taking Hell on her first flight to CA, and I wanted everything to be perfect. Searching for the perfect outfit for my little misunderstood evil cherub was a long task. I wanted her to look innocent, yet not too angelic. My not too logical logic was that people were more likely to be nice to us if we looked cute, yet confident.

Since Southwest does not let you choose your seat, I had to cross my fingers that I could get a good seat. I wanted either the immediate front or the very back. I figured the less people around her, the better chance Hell would fall asleep, and I would not develop more wrinkles on my forehead from stress.

There were three other babies on the flight. Hell and I got a complete row at the very end. The other families stuck to the front, not sure if they knew something I did not. At least I would not have to worry about someone kicking my seat. We lucked out that the flight was only half full.

Of course, I packed everything that had ever entertained Hell for the flight. She had more  snacks to offer than the Flight Attendants did. I would have packed the dog too, but I thought having a 6 month old and a dog on a flight could lead to a stress induced heart attack, and I wanted to live.

As the people started getting on and headed towards the back, I started getting the leers. Other passengers would look at Hell, look at me, grumble because it was too late to get those last seats in the middle, away from all children.

Seriously, are all families with babies supposed to sitting the front?

The flight attendant was so sweet. He chatted with me as the plane filled in. Hell seemed entertained just watching people walk down the aisle. When the flight attendant left to do the preflight play with seat cards and oxygen masks, I got set up. I stocked the seat-back pockets with snacks and toys. I smiled at the creepy old man across the aisle that could not seem quit leering at us. I was ready to go.

The engines started. The plane pulled out of the spot. We taxi towards the runway. Hell started to squirm. My first thought was “shit, not now.” Moms know when their child is about to start screaming. The ramp up before all hell would break loose. Hell kept trying to take the pacifier out of her mouth. My hair started to fall out of it’s perfect fun. Our perfect illusion was starting to fade.

The creepy man seemed satisfied that his leers were warranted, like being an ass before anything went wrong was his right.

The plane sped up. We start to take off. A baby in the front started to scream. I could hear the moans from other passengers. Immediately I felt sympathy for that parent. I know the people around them are not making things easier by complaining and giving the poor family dirty looks.

The old man continued to stare at us. He stared at us so hard he had to take off his smudged glasses to scratch his eyes on his old flannel shirt. He was disgusting to me. I wondered if he had kids of his own. His wrinkled face seemed to hold way more frown lines than smile lines. He wanted Hell to scream so he would have something to bitch about.

Hell seemed on the verge of screaming. The flight attendant must have seen the panic in my eyes. He casually walked over to me with a huge supportive smile blocking the creepy old man. He leaned down and started blowing raspberries into the air inches from Hell’s face and she started to screech with joy.

In that moment, I would have married that man had I been single.

The old man finally looked away. The sound of laughter seemed to annoy him enough that he decided we were not worth his attention. Hell giggled a little longer then faded into sleep where she spent most of the flight, other than a quick break to play with a peanut bag. She did not use one toy I brought, or eat one snack.

I spent the entire flight in a pool of stress that Hell might wake up. The baby up front settled down after take off, and the flight was boring and uneventful.

So much stress and overpacking for nothing.

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