Daddy's Plane Trip 
with a 3 Year Old

Paul Alexander Moeller

© Copyright 2006 by Paul Alexander Moeller


My back-pack is filled with unopened toys I purchased at a dollar store. Sean does not know this. I pray these toys buy me five hours-- the length of time it takes to get back to Los Angeles.

Every time I go to the airport I want to get into at least two fist fights. Where else can you get a bottle of water for $6?

"How much for this miniature tooth brush?"

'Seventeen dollars.'

"Okay. I'll buy two, then."

Luckily Sean decided to turn my luggage into a shuttle bus. My suitcase has wheels and Sean straddles the entire case and tells me how fast to go. He convinced the American Airlines attendant at the ticket counter to hand him a sticker, which he peeled with gusto and stuck to my bag.

I asked the attendant if she had 50 more stickers?

I was held up momentarily before heading into the Customs area at the double doors. Sean ran back to Grandpa and Grandma who were saying goodbye. I was slightly stressed out by this as I moved aside to let a man with way too many suitcases move past me. Sean finished with his hugs and we moved on. Arrivals are so much superior to departures.
He was lying on my bag again as I wheeled him up to the Customs line. I told the man and his family behind us in the Customs line that I should get a seat attached to the bag. Everyone gets a kick out of watching Sean on my bag.
We arrive at the gate. A little boy named, Leo was playing with some plastic animals. His father was bald. He said Leo had asked him the week before why his hair went to heaven?

We boarded the plane. On the way to our seat Sean yelled at everyone, "I'm going to see my Mom!"
He High fiv'd a few passengers including the man from the Customs line.

1st toy.

Earphones. The little earphones fall out of his little ears.

I have to reinsert them  to prevent the kicking. He figures out how to change the channels on the arm rest and listen to different music stations. He has also learned he can shove the tray table in-- knocking my book out of my hands. Now he has handed me one of his earphones and we are bobbing our heads to a pop station.

He just said, "We're listening to music, right Daddy?"

I look into his face. At this age a lot of kids could pass for a boy or a girl. All pre-schoolers have a once in a lifetime face-- as if they're getting smarter right before your eyes. It makes you want to freeze them at 3 and a half. It won’t be long and he won’t let me kiss him whenever I feel like it.

The headphones are helping us get through the current air turbulence. He has been bobbing his head for 5 songs. I told him to stop kicking the seat in front of him. It would be quite a scene if the man in the seat swallowed his peach with the pit still in it.

The Stewardess just announced the food service selections and everyone on the plane fell over laughing.
The movie started but the Stewardess pushing the cart down the aisle was equally fascinating to Sean.
I asked Sean, "Movie or Lady?"
He said, "Lady."

The earphones come off. May never go back on.

The movie has a scene with some girls in a locker room zipping up their pants.

The cup of orange juice with the ice in it is the only thing that is interesting to Sean. The juice is dangerously close to the top of the levee.

Too late. It's all over his face and shirt. I remember there's an extra shirt in the back-pack. I can't imagine changing it, though. I tell myself, "It's okay-- the juice will dry."

Sean is eating the complimentary pretzels in the tin foil pouch and watching the movie. He wants more OJ. My pencil rolled off the tray. I'm going down to get it. On the way down I hit my head on the seat in front of me. If you're in the Economy section of an airplane every time you have to get out of your seat you give the person next to you a lap dance. I had to go to the bathroom and the woman in the seat to my left tipped me $20.

An hour has passed. Headphones are good toys.

Sean is not into the movie any more. OJ finished. He just took my pencil.

2nd toy.

A notebook. After failing miserably to draw a plane and a space ship for Sean I tell him I have a "suitcase of stamps."
It is a suitcase the size of a box of raisins with 6 stamps and a red ink tray inside it. Stamps of a boat, a train, and some trucks.

He is busy stamping his notebook. He seems to enjoy pressing hard enough to make the ink pad look like it's bleeding. He is really into the fire truck stamp. The ink is everywhere. He looks like he got lost in a raspberry patch. I take a bite of a cheese snack and it tastes like ink.

It is on my fingers as well. Ink probably has the same effect on humans as Hemlock.

He has been stamping fire trucks all over his book for half an hour.

3rd toy.

Thomas Train sticker pack. He tears into them. Parents of toddlers use the word, "WOW" a lot. Parents could care less about what’s going on but they say, “WOW” in order to keep the kid going on some activity so they can have a few minutes of beautiful peace.

I said, “WOW” to all the stickers he used.

Judging from the placement of the stickers he created the worst Thomas Train pile-up in history.

We’re burning good time here.

4th toy.

A couple of hours into the flight. Sean is starting to get upset that my bag of what I thought was foam sticker animals have no stickers on them. This toy is useless.

5th toy.

You must always have reserve stickers. I pull out a book of funny stickers for blank faces. You get to make up your own face with the stickers. Sean did his best to copy the great Dada artists of the 20's.

This worked long enough for me to notice I will not be drinking from the same bottle of water I gave Sean. It looks like a fish aquarium when you first sprinkle the food into it.

He has to pee.

Taking a toddler into an airplane lavatory is like trying to assemble a kite in a phone booth.

And then fly it.

6th toy.

Tube of plastic dinosaurs. Worked for about 2 minutes.

Sean is squirming all over the three seats we have. The woman next to me moved far away a long time ago.

He has removed his socks and his seat-belt and is using my jean jacket as a blanket.

The Captain announced we were heading into turbulence and to fasten seat-belts.

Sean looked at me and said, "I have to poo pee."

We make our way, the only ones standing, to the back of the plane to use the lavatory. Inside the bathroom (for the second time) I put lots of paper on the toilet seat before Sean sits on it and then see that he is bare foot. I'm not a clean freak but bathroom floors freak me out. He wasn't lying about going poo pee. I towel him off including his feet and carry him back to his seat. He struggles free, and beats me to the seats. I am not in the seat I started out in. Nor is Sean.
He has turned into a small version of Houdini. The seat-belt can no longer hold him.

I’m sure a lot of time has gone by.

7th toy.

A plastic robot filled with water. You push the buttons and it shoots little rings around inside the water. The object of the game is to settle the rings on tiny spears. I have adjusted the golf ball size light above me to spotlight the robot. This is a pretty good time killer.

8th toy.

A box of raisins. He has poured them out on his tray. I notice the woman behind me with a boy a little younger than Sean. She also has a daughter-- maybe a year older. They are both in her arms quietly listening to her read a story.
I feel like an inadequate Daddy.

Sean just pushed the robot into my face and he has a slight smirk-- kind of like President Bush every time he gives a press conference. Then I see that Sean is trying to show me how he is using the tiny robot pincer hands to pick up raisins in order to serve himself.

I’m guessing twenty minutes went by.

9th toy.

A story book about Bugs Bunny going to a party thrown by Porky Pig and Daffy Duck.

5 more minutes.

10th toy.

Rubber, stretchy, technocolor animals. He played with them for a few minutes and then gathered these and several other toys (about five pounds worth) and tried stuffing them into a 1 pound bag.
30 minutes.

11th toy.

I pulled out the in case of emergency toy. A chocolate bar in the shape of a ghost.

We land. We made it. My back pack of toys worked and I didn't even have to pull out the paint set or the purple putty.

Maggie picks us up at the airport. Soon we're driving through a tunnel with the windows down. Sean is yabbering in the back seat about a robot, I'm trying to tell Maggie all about our trip-- Maggie yells over us-- "I can't hear anything!"

A few minutes later.

Maggie: "Caca Poo Poo Ding Dong!"

Sean: "Poo Pee you're Poo Pee!"

Maggie: "Daddy's Caca!"

Sean is laughing too hard to say anything.

I am home.

 I have made several TV appearances as a standup comic including MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour, A & E’s Evening At The Improv, and Comedy Central’s Comedy Product.  As a writer small presses have published me twice including an anthology of poems about 6 years in the life of a standup comic.  I am currently employed at Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach surrounded by The OC , The Medium , CSI Miami and Boston Legal . It is my job to make sure all these Network TVshows have Lights on all their sets. After eight years of Film Production experience I find myself writing my way into another career.

On Writing

I was having a conversation with my wife on the living room sofa one morning. The sun coming through the bay window. We held our coffees.  "My dream is to turn our house on the island into a library/cafe and get paid to write. I want to go to my shiny red mail box each month and collect a royalty check for my writing."  Looking past my shoulder my wife said, "That neighbor's going to let his dog crap on our yard!"

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