I'll begin at the end. I have never been on a more excruciatingly miserable flight--and I've flown halfway across the world. There were at least ten children under two on Hawaiian Air Flight 16 from Honolulu to San Diego last night. Most of these babies were on their way home from having way too much vacation and way too few naps. Most of them decided to scream for long portions of the six hours it takes to fly nearly halfway across the Pacific ocean. This, most assuredly, included my offspring who began the initial shrieking upon take off. Of course, he fussed and/or screamed and/or flailed violently for many many minutes during the duration of the flight as well. However, at one point, we decided to put him on the floor by our feet. He played happily until I realized that Garrett's version of playing is finding old crumbs leftover from previous flights and putting them into his mouth. When I realized he was doing this, I snatched him up from the ground and reached quickly into his mouth. At 14 months old, however, he's on to my tricks. Glump! He happily swallowed before I could do anything about it. Shudders and nausea swept over me. I didn't know where it had been or who had left it for my little explorer. Later in the flight I let him down again, this time putting my foot over the area with the previous passenger paraphernalia. He climbed around between our legs for awhile and then...bloop! He was gone. Nothing remained but his ankles. I grabbed one. Apparently the couple behind us didn't have anything under our seats. Garrett maneuvered the restraining bar and was happily climbing toward them when we halted his expedition. Trying to pull him back proved unfortunate. He let out a yelp and fought for forward progress. The woman said, "Oh, he's coming through. I see his head! Here he is!" And she pulled him out. And really, it was kind of like giving birth all over again only less exhausting and more embarrassing. See, when you give birth, you just kind of expect that they've seen it all so many times that yours is not all that impressive to them. When your child climbs under the seat and appears in some total stranger's lap, you've gotta think that no matter how good of a mom you might truly be, these people will always remember you as the crazy lady who let her hooligan loose on an airplane. Or worse, the psycho who had no control to begin with.
Other than that, Garrett did spectacularly well. He accompanied us on an all day kayak/hike/zipline/tractor riding event otherwise known as Kipu Falls Zipline Safari http://www.outfitterskauai.com/KipuFalls.html. He adjusted to the three hour time difference like a traveling champion. He got in the car seat and back out more times than anyone cared to count and he did it all with his signature smile.
Troy and I went on three tours and also went to the Smith Family Garden Luau. My parents paid for our condo and the rental car Thanks Mom & Dad! Love you! and our tax return paid for our airfare Thanks Garrett! Love you! so our summer vacation money (and we hadn't had a summer vacation in a couple years) paid for these tours. They were amazing and definitely enhanced the trip.
We spent a day and a half on Oahu and Troy and I went on a Pearl Harbor and Honolulu city tour. Going out to the memorial over the USS Arizona was amazing. I'm more of an artsy languagy theatry kind of girl and generally less of a history buff and I was in crazy awe of this place. I've always heard of the men being trapped and all and felt moved by the story but when you get out there, and you look over, and below you is this old, sea life infested, rusted, barnacled ship it really hits you. It's a ship. I mean sure, it's doesn't look like it's gonna up and set sail but it still looks like a ship. And it's still leaking oil from the hull. Troy and I were standing there, looking at the watery graveyard lying peacefully beneath us and, wafting up from below like a black ghost was 66 year old oil. And, for all my irritation with Congress and party lines and politics in general, for all the sorrow I feel over the innocent lives lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for all the opinions I ever held as a bleeding heart teenager or a more conservative twentysomething, I was suddenly very proud to be an American.
On Saturday we flew to Kauai. And on Sunday we had a relaxing day around Poipu and at the awesome pool at our resort. http://www.sunterrakauai.com/poipupoint/
Monday was our all day adventure which began with kayaking. Some people who hear that I took a baby on a kayak think I'm crazy or brave or a hybrid of both. These people don't know me very well. I was swimming by the tender age of two and think every child should grow up with a good set of gills. Back in August we took Garrett kayaking off of Catalina island so we knew he would survive. The only problem is his loathing of the life vest. We did encounter some tears but they were purely a result of the giant, neck eliminating jacket. For the most part, he settled down and enjoyed both the views and squishing berries that landed in our kayak from trees that we passed under. After the kayak we met up with our Kipu Ranch tour guide, Clint Eastwood, and we hiked onto the ranch. (We had a baby backpack) We used a rope to swing out into a pond that was murky and kind of icky and had a distinct funk that was less than thrilling. We took a ride all over the ranch in an old tractor that clunkity clang bangaranged up and down and all around and Garrett actually feel asleep in Troy's arms with his head flopping all over the place. We had lunch. We ziplined. Well...Troy and me and my mom and dad ziplined and Garrett sat in the backpack. Apparently you have to be seven for that sort of thing. Whatever. :-) Then we swam in a swimming hole with a rope swing that was much higher than the first and also went into a pond that was not stinky with funk. Then we rode bouncy tractor some more. Garrett fell asleep--again. We got out. Said goodbye to Gary, er, I mean Clint Eastwood. Hiked some more. Got on a boat and traveled down the river and back to our car. Oh and wait...on the hiking adventure part, I got eaten alive by many mosquitoes and had over twenty bites on my legs plus more on other parts of my body and they got huge and red with yellow centers and it looked like I had a scary disease because mosquitoes love me and I am, apparently, allergic to them.
On Tuesday my parents went on a tubing trip which we did on Thursday. So, we hung out at the pool, played cards while Garrett took the longest nap ever, and read out on the lanai (patio, veranda, deck, etc). On Tuesday night my mom decided to stay up all night barfing her brains out. That doesn't really have much to do with anything but I mentioned it for two reasons. 1. She's not really one to discuss her vomit so it's kind of funny and 2. If I didn't mention it, she would have seemed like a total hag for ditching her family the next night when we all went to a luau.
On Wednesday my mother was recuperating from the Night O' Spew and laid in bed all day. We decided to leave her alone so my Dad drove us to Waimea Canyon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waimea_Canyon Later we had lunch on some beach and partook of a shave ice. Good thing my mom remembered the next day that our shave ice had contained blue raspberry. We were getting really concerned about why our kid's diaper deposit was an unnatural color. On Wednesday night we went to the luau and it was yummy and fun and we were sorry that my mom couldn't make it but chicken noodle soup didn't even sound good to her so I'm sure that kalua pig, mahi mahi, chicken, teriyaki beef, Chinese rice, mashed potatoes, salad, coconut cake, mixed vegetables, mai tais and poi would not have been high on her list. Actually, I don't think poi was high on anyone's list but we all tried it. Well, all except my dad. He claims he's tried it before...Then we watched the show which was really good but Garrett got bored so my dad took him out Thanks Dad! and they played and then Garrett fell asleep on him.
On Thursday we went to visit a couple of waterfalls and then went on the Tubing tour http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waimea_Canyon which was really neat. You ride a tube through irrigation canals for an old sugar cane plantation. Garrett wasn't allowed to go on this trip so my parents watched him. You get to wear a headlamp that makes you look, well, nothing short of dead sexy. With that and the swollen yellowed bites I'm sure I was irresistible. In any case this tour takes the Hawaiian wilderness and combines it with a water parkish lazy river atmosphere and you get a really relaxing and interesting concept as a result.
Friday was our last day there and we packed the day full. We drove to the north end, saw the Kilauea Lighthouse, had lunch on the shores of Hanalei Bay, stopped at different sea caves, hiked a little bit of the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast, swam at Ke'e Beach, had a shave ice and drove home.
On Saturday I tried to hide in the bathroom, hoping they would leave for the mainland without me but they found me. I was standing in the doorway. I wanted to climb in the shower and pull the curtain closed but no self-respecting adult can actually act seven. Can they? We flew from Lihue, Kauai to Honolulu, Oahu. Garrett was a good little traveler for the 20 minute flight. If only we knew then what we know now...
Maybe we would have purchased a tranquilizer.
I've left out so many details, so many stories about Garrett loving the white sand that surrounded the pool. So many tales of him trying to swim in the shallow waters. Such memories of him being covered in sand and stripped down to his birthday suit at an outside shower at Ke'e Beach. I forgot to tell about how I saw an old friend from high school in Honolulu. It was supposed to be a surprise when she knocked on our door but ended up being a comedy of errors as she was stuck in traffic and I was getting more and more mad at my family who was refusing to let us go to dinner so that I could feed my starving baby. I forgot to write about how our tour guide for the safari was a year behind me at PLNU and when we walked in I instantly knew that I knew him (Dan, not Clint). There was so much to see and tell and remember. There was so much to file into my memory. There is so much that I already miss...