Traveling Toddler Part 1 - First Flight
First piece of advice: no matter what people who work at the airport tell you, ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, make sure your infant (0-24 months) is in the system for the flight or add whatever you can somewhere in notes that you are flying with an infant. I had numerous Guest Services Agents tell me that I just go to the counter on the day of the flight and they will process her like a carry on, and will just ask for a birth certificate. This is NOT the case.
I get to the airport with what I assumed was a reasonable amount of time. Here's some hindsight: it wasn't. Our flight was at 10:30, I arrived at 9. Typically as a single woman traveling before kids that was plenty of time. Yet again, not the case. When I arrive I ask the WestJet attendant, standing near the roped off area for Guest Agent Assistance to check in, "Is this where I process an infant & luggage?" Without even listening to me, like a well oiled machine trained to tell people not to go to real life humans because it costs Westjet more money - he replies "It's faster if you go to self checkout"
I lug everything over to self checkout. Nowhere on the screen does it say 'Add Infant', which, I mean for security purposes I'm happy about, because if it were that easy I can imagine how easily children could disappear, okay... maybe a bit morbid. Moving on. I cannot figure out how to get Jaxzen on the plane with me (because she's an infant she is free as long as she sits on my lap). So, I track down a self checkout attendant and she says: "I can get your bags on the flight but not her. I'll bring you to someone who can" She processes the bag tags than slowly directs me over to Someone Who Can.
Meanwhile Someone Who Can is assisting another customer, at a snail's pace. Finally! I get to her counter, with a pissed off toddler who just cannot wait to have the snacks & movies I promised her, Someone Who Can says to me: I can't do that I don't have authority; you have to go back to Guest Assistance and check in.
Guest check in line: 35 minute wait.
Guest service agent: Uhm, The person who booked this flight for you should have put her on the flight at time of booking. This is going to take a bit and your flight is boarding soon... I mean, NOW.
Someone Who Actually Can enters all of our information into the system, quite literally throws our boarding passes at me like she's making it rain in a rap video, lifts my grabs my luggage (there's one silver lining: I didn't have to pay for the bags because we were so late) then she sends me to security. That takes a while, because I obviously got directed to the longest line, in the wrong part of the airport and I totally forgot to take my laptop out of my backpack, so in go our carry-ons, twice. At this point our stuff comes through the xray machine and I'm fumbling, dropping everything, thankfully not Jaxzen (that comes a little later), and some wonderful strangers help me get my shit together and on our way.
Security then tells me "your gate changed to A 19 in the other wing of the airport".
Thankfully I wore my Nike runners because I'm just doing it. I'm running, full speed (or what I think is my top speed, until that's challenged) I'm booking it. Picture this: two backpacks, full to the brim with books, a laptop, coloring stuff, snacks, and my 24lbs toddler hanging on my hip. I brought my ring sling but didn't even have a moment to throw it over my should. So, while running I decide mid-sprint to put Jaxzen down, on second thought, that was a terrible decision, but it happened, my kid tumbled and hit her head... Ugh. Mom fail #101, and it's only 10:20am. Pause. Console, kiss & more kisses. All better? Ya. (still crying) "Okay baby, mommy is really sorry". More kisses.
Out of breath we arrive at A19 and hear:
"Last boarding call for flight ### heading to Toronto at 1030 - get to B34 right NOW"
Let's just say I had completed my cardio & weights for the entire day by 10:25AM. This was top speed. I've never run so fast in my entire life. Had I ran that fast in any sport that I ever played chances are good I would have earned full scholarships. We get to the gate, I'm crying, Jax is crying. I can't breathe, like literally cannot breathe, I collapse on the chair nearest to the gate and the gate attendant says "Honey, take a deep breath you still have a couple minutes, would you like some water?" First off: Yes I'd love some water. Second: Why the fuck didn't you say "You have a couple minutes to get to Gate B34 instead of NOW!" What politely came out was "Yes please, I'd love some water... with vodka." Just kidding. We were last to board the plane, we were seated in F22, so literally the second last row at the back of the plane. I got to do a serious walk of shame in front of all customers so they could witness that I'm the mom who doesn't have it all together. Jaxzen was so happy, she took this opportunity to strut her super cute outfit, like the aisle was a runway, she was handing out high fives to strangers and giggling with everyone in the aisle seats. Thankfully she was the face of the "passenger who couldn't get her shit together" so, it eased the blow and everyone was super happy to welcome us onto our first flight... Ready for take off!