Monday, August 23, 2010

All flown out

Natasha and I (and #2) have flown some 7,000 miles and 16 hours in the last 10 days.  We are now done with flying for the next few months at least, and I could not be happier.  A few highlights from our travels:
  • 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.
Also, there's a TSA agent at National Airport, whence we flew to Omaha the next day, who is on my list.  True to form, no one offered to help me get myself, Natasha, our carry-on and her car seat and stroller through security.  I managed to get everything folded up and on the belt, but on the other side, where there is no room to reassemble yourself, I had a bit of trouble.  Needing both hands to retrieve and unfold the stroller and carseat, I plopped Natasha into one of those security bins.  This conversation ensued:

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.



  1. Hi Masha,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I'm sorry that you had such a harrowing trip back to the States. I can definitely relate. When I traveled alone with my then 6 month old son to Romania back in 2007, I encountered similar mishaps. On the 9 hour Delta flight back to Detroit, I pressed the call number 3 times so that I could get some water (I was nursing) or try to go to the bathroom. No one answered. In fact, the attendants just came by and switched it off without once looking at me! So, I didn't get to get up once that whole flight! In trying to get my bags, I put my son in the ergo and attempted to lift my heavy bags off the belt. No one helped, in fact, people stepped over me to get to their bags. I'm going to be traveling alone with my son (now 3.5) again next week - 3 flights one way - so I'm worried! I hope it will be uneventful and I will try (like you) to not expect any kindness from strangers!

    -Magia (

  2. I can't believe the rudeness of people, 7m pg AND with a baby and no one helped! I offer to help every parent or pregnant woman I see whether or not they seem to be struggling! I can't speak to Muscovites but I do find Americans to be relatively nice when you are pg, esp outside NYC where I live! So that's terrible. I'm glad it's over for you and you survived.
    I enjoy your blog!


Thanks for stopping by!