Monday, January 21, 2008

FAA Regulations Should Indicate No Jumping

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, is the agency responsible for maintaining all aircraft safety in the United States. They have determined that all travelers should listen to safety instructions at the beginning of every commercial flight. The frequent flyer can recite the announcements in unison with any flight attendant. Buckle your seatbelt, follow the lighting to emergency exits, life vests are under your seat, etc. etc. In the case of a real emergency, you’d be likely to forget everything no matter how much you’ve traveled. But, here are some rules they should probably start announcing if there are any 2-year-olds on the plane:

  • Do not use the chair arm rest as a diving board. Specifically, do not jump into your seat, head first, as if it was a swimming pool.

  • Do not play peek-a-boo (at least so loudly) with all the passengers behind you.

  • Do not shriek in excitement so that it actually pierces the eardrums.

  • Do not run up-and-down the aisles.

  • Do not jump on your seat.

  • Do not kick the seat in front of you.

  • Do not crawl under the seat in front of you or behind you.

  • Do not raise and lower your window shade more than 20 times.

  • You do not actually have to say ‘hello’ to every passenger on the plane.

  • Listen to your parents!

Alex and mom have been logging miles on airplanes for two years together now. Any hopes of it becoming any easier seem to be far, far off in the horizon. I’ve determined its best to never make eye contact with passengers around me, and to offer appreciation at the very end of the flight for the patience of those closest. While, the nearest exist row may be behind us, it’s never close enough.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Years in North Carolina

After Santa made his stop on Christmas Eve, Alex hustled onto to North Carolina to wrap up the end of 2007 in Charlotte. As one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, Charlotte is a great for children of all ages. Alex took it easy visiting family, looking for after Christmas deals at the Mall and strolling in local parks. But, for a 2 year old, it can’t get much better than that.

The Charlotte Nature Museum sits next to Freedom Park, around a large pond, it’s a great spot to walk your dog or chase your kid -- but maybe it’s not so easy to do both at the same time. At the Nature Museum there are lots of activities for the little ones to learn about trees, plants and animals native to the region. One of the highlights is the Butterfly Pavillion where many different species fly free and you can enjoy searching them out in the flowers and plants. If you really take the time to look, you’ll see dozens at once. The museum is also home to different breeds of turtles, snakes and even a few small mammals. There are weekly puppet shows to teach the children about conservation. And, for the wild wanderers, you can check out the gopher holes can crawl through holes and tubes that, at least for me, were as small as the real thing.

Alex made it home just in time to ring in the New Year in his own home, with dreams of where he’ll be flying off to next.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Santa Claus is Coming to San Francisco

When does something you do become a tradition? After you do it the once, twice? Or, must you spend a life time doing the same thing year-after-year before it is forever a part of who you are? Closing in on 2-years-old, Alex’s Christmas tradition takes him to San Francisco.

With mom’s sleigh (aka Ford Escape) loaded with presents, and the California I-5 Freeway clear, the six hour journey north from Los Angeles couldn’t have gone smoother this year if Rudolph himself was guiding the way. There are a few good tricks to handling a child who has to be strapped into a car seat that restricts him like a straight jacket. First, bring good music. But, leave U2 at home. Do You Know the Muffin Man or Where is Thumbkin can get you half-way through the state; you can Skip to My Lou the rest of the way. Second, prepare to stop -- and then climb and crawl. Congress should pass a law that requires every fast food restaurant along any interstate to put up an indoor Play Land with red, yellow and blue tube tunnels and curling slides. Finally, remember…there is an end to every road trip -- eventually.

San Francisco is a city that glows throughout the year, but at Christmastime the city also glistens with twinkling lights. You can lose your heart on Cable cars, at the Golden Gate, strolling at the Fisherman’s Wharf or twisting down the famous turns of the elegant Lombard Street Hill. And, of course, a few dozen cousins and aunt Fifi’s special recipes are also a part of the holiday cheer.

As the Christmas traditions of my childhood have faded away, Alex’s traditions are just beginning. As Alex’s journeys may take him far from home for the holidays, the good news is that Santa can find good little boys everywhere. Alex tops the list!