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AirBwenture! August 1, 2010

Posted by Erin F. Wasinger in Bad ideas, Being a mama.

Walking back to the car — parked in the lot as far away from AirVenture as humanly possible — while pushing a stroller holding only Baby Cuckoo and a bottle of water, my koala-like 2-year-old Velcroed to my chest, next to my mom who was pushing my whimpering 3-month-old in her stroller, I thought “This was a mistake.”

AirVenture, one of the highlights of my summer (commentary on that fact would not be appropriate aloud, thank you), was just too much for too long for the two little girls. I knew it would be going in, but I naively thought it’d be OK enough to fake it.

Well. I think our trek back to the safety of our car, where I could sit down, fan out my soaking wet sweaty T-shirt and snap “Let’s never do that again” solidified the fact that next year I’m going to need a babysitter while Dave and I go to AirVenture.

It started out better than you might anticipate: Violet slept through the air show, the wall of fire, fake explosions, a stroller ride over bumpy terrain. When she woke up, she was content to watch the planes soar overhead from her infant carrier.

Alice sat on our laps and held her hands over her ears, and after we told her the explosions were over she went to everyone — Dave, me, my mom and stepdad, Dave’s dad — and shook her head and said “booms go bye-bye,” and she was fairly content.

Until the trick pilot started swirling above the runway, that is. Violet, the uncultured little thing she is, wailed every time Sean Tucker came near us, so her cries ebbed and flowed with a rhythm that wasn’t at all embarrassing for me. I walked around the grounds with her, my mom trailing us, seeking shelter in a pavilion with a bottle (hers) and red cheeks (mine).

And I mention what happened next not because it really fits in with the rest, but because it doesn’t: The most symmetrical-featured, tan, dark-haired, white-teeth, starchy-pressed-in-a-good-way uniformed man appeared like a mirage. I thought, since I was holding a squirming baby among many, many childless people in this tent, that he was going to ask me to leave, and even was doing an inventory of how we were going to pick up all our stuff and flee in shame. CLEARLY there must’ve been a sign posted: “No babies. SERIOUSLY. GO HOME.”

“Put on your innocent face,” I was telling myself, “SMILE.” But he just wanted to say hello. He asked how old my baby was, and joked about the kids being “future pilots,” and I was staring into his eyes and reminding myself how to form vowels and consonants. “You have a nice day,” he said. “YOU” — adding in that extra personal attention. “YOU.” Not just “Have a nice day,” like you say to someone at the bank. And he DIDN’T add “ma’am” to that nicety, so I’m fairly certain it was my pre-maternity pants that led to this whole scenario. In other words, I left the pavilion, satisfied because no aircraft could replicate the thrill of not being that invisible pregnant lady anymore. Worth the admission fee.

But then I walked back into the sunshine and four jets roared overhead and I yelled to Dave’s and the grandpas’ backs: “I’M DONE.” Alice wailed behind me, Violet was beyond breathless, screaming in fear.

For shame. For shame.

After this whole thing — the walk of shame back to the car, the embarrassment I felt over bringing them in the first place, the annoyance at not getting to see what I wanted to see as we left the guys there … It stuck with me all night — a vague, nagging feeling that people would probably agree it was stupid to bring the girls, thus stupid to go … And a little guilty that I’m glad we tried it, despite that.

But then — this is where the redemption comes in that has nothing to do with a man in uniform in an AirVenture pavilion …

“At church someone said they were at AirVenture yesterday and saw a couple there with four young kids, and one was like Violet’s age,” Dave said.

“Oh?” Trying to act all cool and not affected.

“Yeah, they said the kids were acting up and crying and stuff and so one of the parents put something in the baby’s bottle — like alcohol. And then the baby settled down. And they put it in the kids’ cups, too, and they calmed down, too.”



“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“I was trying to decide how I was going to frame my guilt about AirVenture in a blog post. You just answered that question.”

REALLY. I took mine home — I’m pretty sure THAT’S the commendable example here. SEE! SEE! I’m doing fine.



1. Alisa - August 1, 2010

Ah-HA! There IS a reason men in uniform ROCK! I just KNEW IT!!

And don’t be embarrassed. Most everyone around you has been thru it and understands. Even I understand….The Childless One…understands!! Glad you got to go! 🙂

2. Mom and Bernie - August 1, 2010

I think he was trying to choose between Erin and I…he was a sweeeet piece of eye candy if there ever was one. Very much worth the heat, the girls crying, the long walk back to the car…I”d do it again to see the “man”.

3. Alisa - August 1, 2010


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