The Unbreakable George Brennan
I once wrote a short post called “Will of Will”—this was back when I was using Facebook to blog. In any case, it was about our strong-willed son Will and how he would, in equal parts amazing and painful, throw himself on the floor as a young child whensoever injustice prevailed in his world.
I think Will (even his toddler self) may have met his match in his little brother.
We flew home from Michigan yesterday with George (along with the rest of our overtired cherubim) and I can honestly say I have never seen such a tantrum in all my momming days.
As is the case with many of the great epic tantrums, most of the fault was my own. In the interest of saving on airfare we’d made a deal with the devil: non-stop from LAX to Detroit on the way there, but DTW—>Philadelphia—>LAX on the way home. And hot damn if we didn’t get delayed by two hours before we could even start the first leg (Thanks, Obama). By the time we reached Philly and hustled straight to boarding, the connecting plane had already pushed back from the gate, but by some divine meddling from the SPIRIT crew, they stretched the jetway back out to the door and came back!
The crew and everyone else on the flight verrrry quickly came to regret their generous decision to include us, though. George was acutely slumbering, Thank Jesus, after having screamed his way through the first flight. And so it was that no one knew what was coming, as Joe herded our other four kids aboard and I carried my open-mouthed little angel to my seat, all swaddled in his favorite bee, surrounded by benevolent travelers bearing parcels from the airport Sbarro, and kissed on the brow by a twinkling star.
The other passengers had already been waiting awhile. Mechanical issues, they’d said. Then, more waiting for us, followed by more waiting in a line that was more than twelve planes deep. We waited and waited for there to be room enough on the runway to take off or whatever the hell it is that one always seems to need to wait for out there on the tarmac. Right as I’d sat down and buckled, George’s cornflower blue eyes unlidded themselves in a manner most unholy and he began to scream.
George screamed with his whole body. He violently jumped up and down in my lap. He stiff-armed me and tried everything in his power to get away from me. He tried to reverse-headbutt me (I was able to dodge it, having survived Elise’s toddler years). Naturally, this is where I passed him off to Dad, feigning disappointment that he is by far the favorite parent.
Folks were sympathetically staring at first, then turning to more desperate means of pacification. A kind stranger passed me a full bag of skittles (his favorite!). George screamed and threw some on the ground. Someone passed him a lollipop. He screamed and spun his head away from it like a cat who refuses to take a pill. A lady with white-lady dreadlocks gave him a huge, rainbow, twisty lollipop. At last he allowed himself to be consoled…for all of ten seconds. It was like we had caught a feral pig from underneath Uncle Jerry’s barn and tried to snuggle it to death. George used poor Joe’s lap as a springboard, and progressed to a point in his fury that would not stop crying unless Joe carried him to the back of the plane and stood by the restrooms. Daddy was not allowed to sit, use the bathroom, or do anything besides hold George in a perfectly upright position while standing.
George screamed for about half of the five-hour-long flight across the country. He screamed while we waited for our bags to file off the carousel. Then he screamed for the full duration of the shuttle bus ride to WallyPark. Only once he was securely buckled into his own car seat did he stop, and at that point it was nearly midnight P.S.T. (3 A.M. for those who had adjusted to East Coast time over the course of a vacation). Then, he was mysteriously chipper, talkative, and awake, while everyone else moaned with exhaustion. We got home at about 1 A.M./4 A.M, depending on whose time zone you were committed to.
We’ve decided not to fly anywhere with George again for at least a calendar year.