Wednesday, December 28, 2016

travelling with kids today was hard

Here is how my Canadian airport security experience went today:  we have to stop halfway to Vancouver (which is a three hour flight) and go through the airport security in Prince George.  The waiting in line through security sucks enough, given that the two kids want to go in separate directions all the time, and the concept of a line up is not something that Daniel gets just yet.  We took off our bag packs, our lunch bags, our computers, our camera, my belt, our coats, and cellphones.  We went through the screening gate, and waited for the stuff to arrive.  The kids hands were swabbed and screened for explosives (yep).  Then my camera was swabbed and screened.  Then my computer was swabbed and screened.  Then, at the very end, the kids bag packs came through, and I forgot that they had two water bottles with some water on the bottom.  The airport security guy told me that I had two choices now, "surrender" the bottles (yes, he really said that) or go back outside, empty them and go through security again.  I thought about how hard it is to get kids water bottles in my home town, and how I really wanted to keep those two, that I had to order off amazon.  I said I would go back out to empty them.  I then noticed that the lineup to security looked about half an hour long, and asked whether I needed to wait in the lineup again.  I was told that of course yes.  I pointed out that my kids were inside the airport already, and was not comfortable leaving them there for so long without me, and they told me that I should take the kids with me in the lineup again.

I got so angry that I lost it.  I told the guy that he is lacking civility and basic courtesy.  I am a travelling mother, with small kids, one of which is 2 and in all reality needs his water bottle as he is still not good at drinking from a cup without spilling.  I was ok with going back out and emptying it, as I knew I could fill it again once inside, but being told that I had to line up for a second time, without much consideration of the fact that the kids are small and would not do well lining up or waiting without me was upsetting.

If anybody wants to feel better about their day, think about me raising my voice in frustration at the airport security guy and asking him directly "do you have any idea what it is like to travel with kids aged 2 and 5?"  Clearly, the answer is no, and knowing that should have given me a hint that the question was going to fall on clueless ears anyway, so the simple fact that I asked it shows my extreme frustration.

They gave me a 1800 number to call and complain, and I left a message on that number with the full story.  Will they ever call me back? who knows.  Gone are the days of "I would like to speak to your supervisor" when something seemed amiss.  Nowadays you get a card with a number to call, where a machine answers and you can leave a message.  NICE JOB, Canadian Airport Security!  Good work making mothers with children feel welcome and supported.  And good job listening to my concerns.  Talking to the machine was very therapeutic.  Thank you!
Ps. I called the 1800 number and was told that that is indeed the correct way, making me line up a second time. Also the CATSA agent confirmed that no concessions are to be made for women travelling with children as far as shortening the lining up time for the little ones. This seems a basic lack of civility to me, but I guess if that is the way it is, there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I am going to start by writing short and easy posts about little things that go through my head during the day.  This is a bit like the short, easy runs that someone would start when they first take up running.  It takes a long time for my brain to concoct longer posts, so I am warming up.  If I never get there, that's ok too, but this is a nice place to start, with one or two paragraphs every couple of days.

Winter holiday has started for Emma, who is now in Kindergarten.  Since my daycare lady is off on Tuesday, I ended up taking four whole days off, and it feels like a mini holiday.  Today we had a fully indoors day, since Emma is ill and I do not want to take her outside in the cold.

I realize that I have not had a full day indoors in a VERY long time.  A day in which I do nothing, the kids do nothing, and we watch a whole lot of TV, clean and cook.  It was GREAT.  We did absolutely nothing purposeful the whole day.  Any cleaning that happened was a happy byproduct of my boredom and inability to sit still.  And it was the more exotic variety of cleaning, like pressure steaming the T-fal indoor grill, and vacuuming the inside of the cutlery drawer.

At the end of the day, the house was pretty, it smelled good, it looked lived in and it had a different energy level than it usually does when we all roll in at 6 pm after work and after school activities.  There is something to be said about staying at home versus working:  for me, staying at home has always lead to a cleaner house that smells better, feels warmer and more inviting, and just plain feels lived in by the kids.  I notice that they also feel more "at home", more relaxed, that they explore corners where they do not normally go in the few hours between dinner and bedtime.

I am a working mother, so no, this is in no way a debate for me between staying at home mom versus working mom.  I work because it is the-way-I-do-things.  However, I find it useful to note these little nuances, and maybe indulge in these simple pleasures once in a while: vacuuming at 10 am, watering the plants at noon, looking at little details that make my space more pleasing to the eye, diffusing peppermint essential oil in every corner.  It does not happen often that I can, so when I do, of course I wonder how my life and my kids lives would be different if I did that every day.

What I remember right afterwards, of course, is that I love my work as much as I have loved any hobby, and that I would do it for free most likely.  That it gives a meaning to my existence beyond being a mom and a wife, that I would miss it.

I think I should be able to do both, but until we can create clones of ourselves, we will always have to make choices.  I feel like my choice is clear, but were my job less rewarding, less of a "calling", I would probably have a hard time not being a home body.

Trying to write

I am trying to restart writing.  This has been an ongoing dance for me most of my life: writing and pausing, then writing again, then taking another break.  I don't know why I occasionally let writing fall to the side, in favour of more physical activities, but I think it has to do with the elusive balance that I am striving for in life.

In any case, it is winter now, I am indoors a lot, given that outdoors it is frequently -30 C (that's -22F), so the parks are a bit chilly.  Indoors activities are not as exciting as they sound: knitting, writing, playing piano and preventing my kids from hurting each other with sharp objects.  Therefore, here I am. 

I was debating whether it might be time for me to start another blog.  One day, on a cold outdoors run, I was thinking of calling my new blog "lotsakids".  Not because I have lots of kids, I only have the two, but they sure feel like lots more, most of the time.  However, every time I hit the stats button on this blog, I realize that despite me completely disappearing off the map for several months, people still come here (or maybe it is just automated search engines? I have no idea...but if it is real people, could you just comment something like "hi I am not a machine"for my peace of mind..), so I have a hard time leaving this space. 

So here I start again...