It was time to head back to Ottawa. We left Auntie Mary's a little bit later than we wanted to as I had a hard time getting going in the morning. Google maps was already showing more traffic than the previous days, so we were anxious to start with. Elizabeth was tense. Matthew was cranky. Amelia was wailing. I was just wondering whether we even had time to stop in the event that the baby needed a diaper change when she thankfully fell asleep. Traffic continued to not be great. I was grateful for GPS that was able to continuously recalculate and give us the fastest route taking the current traffic into account, but in retrospect watching the time probably increased rather than reduced my anxiety levels. One minute we'd be missing the check-in time by 20 minutes, the next we were making it by the skin of our teeth.
Finally we were in Toronto. Matthew had fallen asleep after complaining about an "owie tummy" for a few kilometres. The GPS was having us do the convoluted lane dance that seems to define mega city driving. Keep left. Then right. Then the middle two lanes while keeping left at the fork. We're just at a crucial moment in directions and Matthew suddenly starts throwing up. "Matthew! STOP THAT!" hollers a very upset Elizabeth, waking up Amelia. Amelia starts to cry. Elizabeth starts to cry. Matthew is bewildered, sick and covered in vomit.
We've missed our exit. The GPS recalculates and I give Mary directions in between stripping Matthew and mopping vomit off him with wet wipes. There's nowhere to stop and anyway we don't have time. Then I call the airline to tell them we are 5 km away but Google says that'll be another 20 minutes and we aren't going to make the check-in time. Porter - who is awesome - says we probably can make it and to do our best. They won't hold the airplane but they've noted we're on our way and as long as we make it before the doors close we should be okay.
When we arrive there is no parking that we can see. I leap out of the car. Obsessive GPS recalculating has pushed my cell battery to the edge. Matthew is naked, so I throw a pj top on him. I ignore the fact that he isn't wearing any pants. Elizabeth and Amelia are still both crying. I abandon the vomit covered car seat (Thank Goodness for Auntie Mary, who also dealt with clothes!)
Officious parking control won't let Mary help us to the counter, so she gets us to the elevator and we go on alone. In the elevator is a really nice man who has recently travelled to Vancouver with a three year old and found it hard with two adults. "Would you like help?" he inquires. Of course I would! I am so thankful that he carries my extra stuff. There are a whole pile of escalators and moving sidewalks. The kids are able to get on and off them by themselves without incident. Nice Helpful Vancouver Man is very impressed. So am I. We can't go super fast because Matthew says running hurts his tummy (!), but we do make it and the airline staff take over from Nice Helpful Vancouver Man. The plane is boarding already but the agent marches us up to the front, bypassing most of the rest of the airplane. Matthew decides to take his bear's bead necklace apart while everyone is waiting patiently for them to process us. About six passengers scramble to pick up the beads scattered all over the boarding tunnel.
So getting to the airplane was just a TAD stressful. You could see people visibly wincing as the crazy lady with screaming baby and pantless toddler approached. Poor guy that was in our row couldn't even make eye contact.
The actual flight was lovely though. Porter sat us all together and Amelia calmed down as soon as I changed and fed her. She didn't cry at all after that - actually I was quite impressed with the behaviour of all of my kids though a certain little boy did want to fiddle with the seatbelt! My phone even stayed charged long enough to get "first flight" pictures. Elizabeth cuddled Amelia while Matthew and I checked out the toilet facilities. Matthew was particularly taken by the concept of peeing on people's heads - because we are WAY UP HIGH Mommy! Elizabeth loved seeing all the "doll houses" on the ground and proudly announced to anyone who would listen that it was Matthew and Amelia's first time in an airplane but NOT hers!
The Porter staff helped me all the way to the arrivals lounge and then I was so glad to see Grandma Margaret. We dropped Elizabeth off at school and then I went home, tossed Matthew in the tub, handed the baby to Daddy and then took a very long, very hot shower. All. By. Myself.
Then we madly dashed around sharpening skates and went to skating. Where we discovered that actually the first class was last week. But that's another story entirely.