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April 15, 2014 / mommy brain

Keep on keepin’ on

I flew up to Salt Lake City for work yesterday. I needed to be there all day and for dinner, so I had the choice of staying in a hotel and returning the next day, or catching a late flight to arrive home around midnight. I chose the second option so I could have the morning with my kiddos, and to be home overnight in case little miss sometimes-I-sleep-through-the-night-and-sometimes-I’m-not-into-that had a bad night.

When I arrived at the airport, I was psyched to be guided to this new fancy line where they swab your hands when they check your ID but then don’t require you to take off shoes/coat or take anything out of your bags. Woohoo I am all about efficiency, so things were starting off well on this way-too-early of a morning.

I sent my backpack and pump bag through the x-ray machine, and as I waited for them on the other side, I saw the TSA agent point to something on the screen with that look of “tsk tsk tsk!” and I knew he was pointing at my pump bag and my highly dangerous ice packs. He took my bag to be inspected and informed me that he has to make sure the ice packs are FULLY (not just partially) frozen. If they are not totally frozen, he explained, he’d have to take them away. I told him I didn’t understand why that was necessary, and that it’s impossible to keep them frozen all day, and they will obviously thaw at least partially by the end of the day. He advised me that I should just “stick them in the freezer at the hotel!” I thought, “Wow! What a fantastic idea! I’ll just put them in the hotel freezer. I never thought of that before! I’m SO glad we had this chat!” Right. This was a day trip, and after a day full of meetings, I’d be coming back to the airport to fly home, so I can be with my small kids. You know, since I’m a pumping mom of small kids, and that is why I have a pump and ice packs with me? Ugh. Besides the daytrip scenario, there is also the very common scenario of staying in a hotel but not going straight to the airport in the morning, going instead to more meetings and arriving later in the day with partially thawed ice pack weapons of mass destruction.

I’m quite familiar with this rule because I’ve had ice packs taken away from me before. During most of my pump-in-hand travels, the agents didn’t say a thing about the partially thawed packs, but a few have either given me a hard time or taken them away. The first time they took it away, it not only spoiled my day, I had to scramble to find ice to keep the milk from spoiling, and  it also spoiled the following day for me because I no longer had the ice pack that goes in my pump bag to take to work the next day. I obviously got another one, but Amazon is not good enough to make that happen between midnight and 7AM the next day.

It’s all dumb and completely unnecessary. I’m grateful that an exception exists to the liquids rule for breastmilk, but a traveling pumping mom will almost always have with her milk PLUS a frozen, partially frozen or thawed ice pack, so really, it would make the most sense for the exception to apply to both the milk and the ice pack.  They check the milk with the wand at security, so why can’t they also “check” the partially thawed ice packs?? Your guess is as good as mine.

To add to my traveling mommy fun yesterday, my flight from Phoenix to Abq was delayed because of a missing flight attendant, and I landed around 1AM. I pulled into the garage around 1:30AM, and I rushed out of my car into the driveway to see if I could get a glimpse of the “blood moon” lunar eclipse. It took me a while to find it in the sky in my zombie-like exhausted state, but then I saw it, and it was magnificent, and for a few seconds, I marveled at how beautiful the universe truly is and how amazing it is to be a small part of it. Then I walked into the house to find G at that exact moment walking down the stairs, cursing and mumbling something about T peeing in the bed. (T very rarely has accidents and G is very rarely not grumpy in the middle of the night.) I followed him into T’s room, and while G changed the sheets, I picked up a pee soaked T-bear, and just as I thought “eek pee on my dry clean only clothes,” T looked at me and said, “I’m so glad you’re home, mommy.” And at that moment all was right in my pee-soaked yet magnificent universe.

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