Although Flynn flew from Cotonou to the States with his grandparents, and although he spent most of my stay in the States in the Midwest with his grandparents, he would be coming to DC to fly with me back to Cotonou.
I find it curious that this was to be my second time flying across the world alone with Flynn, while Andy has yet to once have the pleasure of this experience. Curious indeed.
And this time would be even worse than the first. Before, Flynn had his own seat. This time, since the trip was on our own dime, he wouldn’t.
(Andy would like to note that it’s also curious Alex is not mentioning the easy workdays, sushi and bagels she got to experience in Washington, while he went about business as usual in Cotonou. He thinks he definitely got the raw end of the deal.)
But fortunately the flights went as well as they possibly could have gone. Our DC to Paris flight departed at 11 p.m. After many long conversations both on the phone and at the gate, I managed to get myself the bassinet seat, which meant Flynn had a place to sleep, and sleep he did. Thank goodness he wasn’t a holy terror because the woman next to us on that flight popped up a few days later at the embassy in Cotonou to work with us on a project.
Speaking on people sitting next to you on planes, I’d like to take a moment to register my disapproval of this new trend of parents passing out goodie bags to other travelers as an advance apology for their kids. Parents, please stop doing this. Have you ever gotten a goodie bag from that jerk who insists on claiming your shared armrest the whole flight, and even lets his arm creep quite clearly into your territory? What about from that other jerk sitting in the window seat who seems to purposefully time his bathroom breaks for the moment you fall asleep? You haven’t, and that’s because dealing with annoying people is part of life. Babies and young children traveling on airplanes is part of life. Do your best to keep them in line and not annoy others, and you’ll already be way more considerate than pretty much everyone else. No goodie bag required.
Our second flight went amazing well too, mostly because I managed to befriend a gate agent who changed my seat to be next to one of the few empty seats on the plane, so Flynn got his own. Thank goodness for this because he was awake and active the whole time. Also thank goodness that the plane’s movie system had 101 Dalmatians.
“Flynn, where’s Abbey?”
“Abbey, Abbey, Abbey, Abbey.”
Identifying the Abbeys kept him busy for a while.
In between these two flights we spent a day in Paris. It was quite different from my solo day a few weeks back. Rather than hitting as many sites as possible, we concentrated on one. Parents of toddlers take note: Luxembourg Gardens is a great spot. We strolled through the beautiful grounds. We ate ice cream. Flynn rode a pony, who he of course called Abbey.
He chased pigeons. He watched a marionette show. And he played in the massive, massive playground with little French children who were actually quite sweet to him.
He found himself an American friend too.
He was playing in a giant sandbox when I saw him run over and steal a little girl’s shovel. “Flynn, no,” I started to tell him. “That’s not nice. Give it back.” I looked up to see the little girl’s parents. And they were…
No one else seemed to have any idea who they were, so I played along and let them just enjoy their day.