- I learned that, for the most part, the Muscovites who so impressed me with their politeness and regard for a woman with child (in or out of the womb) must not be the ones who can afford to fly to the United States. When Natasha and I finally made it to our gate at Domodedovo Airport, I actually had to ask multiple people whether the seats next to them (occupied solely by luggage) were taken, before someone reluctantly cleared a space for me. When an airport employee wheeled an elderly woman to the gate and rather unceremoniously dumped her there, standing, no one offered a seat. Natasha and I gave up our seat in her favor. I don't think anyone was moved to regret by my dagger eyes, but I stared them down all the same.
- When I saw the symbols on this bathroom door, I thought that they denoted a safe place for handicapped people to pee or for mothers to nurse their babies. I was wrong. When used in tandem, the signs actually mean, "Please Smoke Here."
- Natasha's car seat, which fit just fine in the Delta economy seats on the way to Moscow in May, was too wide for the United "Economy Plus" seats on our Moscow-DC flight. (The flight attendant was nice about storing it in a closet for us, though, so that's something.)
- The bassinet, which we did get (thanks, Agent C!), was basically a hard-bottomed vinyl sleeping bag. With some padding, it would be adequate for an immobile baby, however, Natasha is pretty much the opposite of immobile these days. So I had no way to contain her other than holding her. Also, she peed on me within the first hour of the flight. Having stuffed the carry-on full of her various diapers, extra clothing, toys and food, I didn't have a change of clothes for myself, so I spent the next 13 hours stinking of baby pee.
- Having satisfactorily emptied her bladder, my daughter then amused herself on the plane by bothering our very tolerant seatmate. Later on, I let her crawl down the aisle. Yes, I know it's gross, but I had no way to contain her and it WAS a 10-hour flight. Go ahead and judge. Anyway, the aisle-crawling was short-lived, as it turned out Natasha was mostly interested in turning into people's personal spaces and playing with their shoes.
- It was raining when we arrived in DC, so we had to wait until the storm had passed (an hour later) to get our bags. Little known fact: United baggage handlers actually melt in the rain. Thankfully, my luggage does not.
- In the cab on the way to my parents' house, where Natasha and I were staying over night, she projectile vomited not once, but three times. While we were stuck in rush-hour traffic on 495.
Agent: You can't do that.
Me: Do you have another suggestion?
Agent: You can't do that.
Me: Well, I'm seven months pregnant with a baby and a bunch of stuff. If you'd like to help, that would be great.
Agent: That's not my responsibility.
Since we were in America, my fellow passengers just watched us snipe at each other. No one offered to help unfold the stroller. I really should start expecting this. Maybe then I wouldn't get so pissed off each time it happens. Also, I was really tempted to take a photo of the agent and post it on the blog, like that girl in NYC who took a photo of her subway harasser. I figured I'd get arrested, though, so I refrained.
Natasha screamed half the flight to Omaha, but other than that, our remaining travels were uneventful. We spent five days catching up with grandparents and great-grandparents and other friends and family in Nebraska, and then flew Omaha-Chicago-Norfolk, VA without incident.