Monkeys on a Plane

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Last week we took the twins on their first airplane flight, for a week’s trip to California. Everything was completely worth it–the babies definitely enjoyed themselves, it was great to see family and to get to go to a really beautiful wedding. But I won’t say the trip wasn’t a challenge. This post is just about the airplanes, so if you’re curious about the experience of flying with twin 14-month-olds, read on.

Our flight from Pittsburgh departed at 12:30 pm, scheduled to arrive in San Francisco around 5 pm (8 pm Pittsburgh time) after a short layover in LA. We checked our four bags and two car seats, which came to $120. That’s $25 for the first bag and $35 for the next, car seats free. We gate checked our double umbrella stroller and carried on two diaper bags and the Ergo carriers.

In the security line, as we began to unclip the babies from their stroller, an agent helpfully informed us that they didn’t have to take off their booties. We put sippy cups full of water through the scanner. On the way there they were waved through without any problem. On the way back, when we had milk plus water sippy cups, we nearly missed our flight as they held up the whole line to wave test-strips over them, put them in a special machine, wait for them to scan, then put them back through the whole scanner again.

On the flight out I had asked for milk from the beverage cart and was informed that milk was only for first class. The flight attendant later snuck me a little carton. We entertained the babies with a wide array of snacks until M started to get over-tired. She refused to sit in my lap, crying, slipping off  to crawl up the aisle. I put her in the Ergo carrier and started walking with her up and down the aisle in the hopes of lulling her to sleep. After we’d walked a cumulative five miles or so, with M kicking peoples’ shoulders as we went by she finally fell asleep.

I sat down very carefully so as not to wake her. D was standing next to me with E in the Ergo, bouncing up and down trying to get her to fall asleep. The person next to me (D and I couldn’t sit next to each other, as two babies aren’t allowed in the same row because of the number of oxygen masks), was just sipping the last of a ginger ale, underlining passages in a book. “I can’t remember the last time I underlined passages in a book,” D said.

While in San Francisco, we ended up buying a big suitcase on sale, figuring we could fit three suitcases-worth inside it and save ourselves $75. On the flight back they charged us an extra $100 for the big suitcase being overweight, so the charge came to $150, $30 more than on the way there plus the cost of buying the suitcase. The flight attendant on our final leg also informed us that Ergo carriers were against FAA regulation. Sometime that night we finally made it home.

 

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Who Taught the Babies How to Hit?

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These babies are changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. There are no first steps yet, though they can now walk independently using the walkers, and their words continue feeling vague, though they more often they refer to the correct objects. Still, there’s an unmistakable feeling that they are more and more present. No longer passive observers, M and E know what’s happening and react independently.

When you carry them downstairs they cling to you happily, pointing to pictures and objects along the way, and when you put them down they either scramble off to get a toy, or they start crying immediately to be picked back up. Also, they are suddenly so much more tuned into each other. They play games that involve offering the other a toy, then grabbing it away and laughing hysterically. Sadly, they also suddenly fight. If one has a toy the other wants, they grab it. Then the first fights back by hitting, and it continues. Tonight I kept putting peas on M’s tray, then eating off the ones that seemed too big and/or hard. Finally when she saw me reach for a pea she hit my hand. Hm… Who taught them how to hit? I guess we’re born with that one.

But their new consciousness really struck me the other day when I had a “conversation” with E about eating. M had finished her kiwi, so I gave her some cut-up grapes. E looked and pointed at the grapes on M’s tray and made a sound, “I want that” she was clearly indicating. I pointed to the kiwi on her tray, “But you still have kiwi. Finish the kiwi first.” She watched me as I said this, then she made a whining sound and pointed again at the grapes. “But I want that!” I pointed again at the kiwi and at that point, frustrated at my lack of understanding, she wiped her hands across her tray, scattering the kiwi to the floor. “Fine,” I said, “you win,” and I gave her some grapes.

 

The Twins Reach the Most Important Milestone

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This weekend we took another outing with the babies. Part of our new “we can get out of the house,” and, “let’s try to explore a bit of this new city we’re living in” Saturday routine. We went to Oakland with the plan to go to the library, but ended up visiting D’s office so I could see where he worked, and wandering around the green outside the library watching the carousel and enjoying the sun.

Most importantly, though, we visited Dave and Andy’s Homemade Ice Cream shop. This store had been recommended to us recently, and it was a spring-ish day, so I thought we better check it out. Which is how the twins ended up at this momentous milestone, this marker of adulthood: first ice cream.

They were appropriately serious about the whole thing. At first we weren’t sure if they liked it, they were so intently focused. Then we found it difficult to get the cones away from them because they kept craning forward to keep eating, and we were each holding a baby and an ice cream cone. Suddenly difficult to eat the ice cream out of their reach. Needless to say I think ice cream was a hit. Though I will have to explore other Pittsburgh ice cream options, since this one wasn’t quite up to my very high ice cream standards. I’m something of an ice cream connoisseur, you see, or a snob, or something. I’m very serious about ice cream.

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