Finding Peace at 37,000 Feet

Punditdad wishes this plane had an inflight movie!

Punditdad wishes he could click his heels and be home!

Welcome back readers, lovers and those feeling lucky web crawlers! Punditdad returns from the Great White North which was actually grey, cloudy, rainy and generally not as sunny as the PunditFamily would have liked. But, we prevailed and introduced the Bean to our loved ones who never had the pleasure to meet her prior.  That said, Punditdad braved the Friendly Skies to deliver the Bean to the 49th State on the first leg of the journey. Solo. How pray tell did we do? Better than poor William Shatner in the picture from the Twilight Zone. He wishes he was sitting in 1st Class!

Leaving the Orange Curtain at 4:00 AM on the (on time) SuperDuper Shuttle for LAX turned out to be easy and no-fuss. The Bean slept while Punditdad fussed and worried about the drive, weather, and the ancient cattle-farm conditions at LAX but it was no hassle. Arrival at LAX was a breeze and of course like many in this ridiculous, ludicrous Post-9-11 world we arrived well over 2 hours early which makes Punditdad want to shoot himself. When you arrive early, the transitions of travel are a breeze. If you arrive late, the security line is ASSURED to be a mile long. Duh.

The Flight. Of course, Punditdad was the darling of the ball with a cute baby girl and an expression of self-assuredness masking complete and utter terror the child will explode any second. Never happened. Thank god. Slept in my arms for 3 hours and played with a happy grin completely intoxicating all the Japanese tourists surrounding us and any errant grandmothers in a 50 foot radius.  Hmmm, this wasn’t so tough! I could do this in my sleep! Hah! A 9-month old baby is putty in my arms and with my Cheerios I am Master of the Universe!

The Return. With Punditdad and Mommy on guard the return 5 hour trip from Alaska with 2 bottles, cheerios up the behind and plenty of toys to entertain the Bean I was certain this would be smoother than Barry White in a Crisco factory.  Wrong. Little did I know that our 5:00 PM take-off, delayed by 45 minutes (that’s 3 hours in parent time when you have a baby on your lap) was smack in the middle of a regularly scheduled feeding and eventual sleep time. What? My baby can’t fall asleep as usual at 37,000 feet????

After cajoling, beggin’ and the feeding of 1,300 cheerios later we patted her stomach endlessly under a darkened shawl over her car seat until a drowsy peace fell upon aisle 24.  Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes long.  Sweet jesus has anyone ever felt such love for a simple bout of reading, snacking and light conversation for those precious minutes. Never. I recall the bliss Punditdad used to feel when he could just jack in his headphones and read The New Yorker while drinking his thirst quenching diet soda. Ahhh the plane trips of old. How I miss thee.

But wait. There’s more! 40 minutes of waiting for baggage. That’s like waiting for your mouth to go numb BEFORE your dentist goes to town on your teeth. Nothing but the dread that your trip is not YET finished. Baggage arrives and we pile the SuperSmartCarte full of seats, baggage and what have you.  Out to the SuperDuper Shuttle stop looking for our handy trip coordinator to direct us to our ever-present van just waiting to carriage us away to the OC.

Hardly.

The SuperDuper Shuttle Stop at 2:00 AM at LAX is a place of lost dreams and crushed reservations.  Abandon all hope ye who hope to leave from there.   PunditFamily spied another family that had been kicked, beaten and tossed asunder by SuperDuper Shuttle. Apparently no one wanted to give them their “exclusive” ride to the OC. Mother was on the phone screaming at “Ken” at LAX dispatch.  Punditdad tried flagging other shuttles but they were all going to Burbank, Westwood, Culver City or possibly Las Vegas for the weekend. Anywhere that didn’t incorporate taking ACTUAL PASSENGERS. You see, all their shuttles were empty. Damn you airport transportation!

Finally, the SuperDuper Shuttle Gods showed mercy. A shuttle stopped and Punditdad immediately loaded luggage while the Abandoned Family Mother argued about her “exclusive” ride. That means she didn’t want our kind there. My logic is that it’s harder to throw someone off a van than to keep them from getting on. We were on the bus and triumphant.  But the cast of sad characters we picked up were a slide show of exhaustion, frustration and hopelessness.  Their stories were rife with indictments of SuperDuper Shuttle.  I shared their pain but I was headed home.

By the time that faithful key turned occurred at the home, the Bean was completely destroyed.  Her bottle had leaked into her car seat. Momma lay her on floor for a moment. She stared at the ceiling with a goofy smile like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest after Nurse Rached has fried his brain. It was nearly 3:00 AM and our family went to bed…finally.

So, what are the lessons learned dear reader, parent and travelers with young children?

1) Fly early. Not late.

2) Airport transportation is more important than you think. Don’t do it on the cheap if your time is important.

3) Cheerios, toys, bottles and in-flight entertainment will never assure smooth travel. So cross your fingers.

4) Prepare for the worst and you’ll never be disapointed.

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The Hot Political and SAHD Days of Summer

Hillary voter trying not to "look back in anger".

Hillary voter trying not to "look back in anger".

The temps behind the Orange Curtain are in the 80’s and the Inland Empire is in the 100’s.  The McCain campaign is in a tailspin and the Obama campaign is the new “Born in the USA” Springsteen tour of the 80’s.  The dog days of summer bring strange events as the sweat on the back of your neck grinds you down.  To celebrate these hot days, here are the top 10 things the presidential campaigns and SAHD’s have in common.

10. Nobody knows who is in charge. The Bean thinks its her because she’s the one who knows when she’s hungry, tired, bored or just ambivalent.  I think it’s me because I have 36 years of outstanding life experience. There is confusion.  Just like with John McCain. The McCain Campaign has hired new staff, but the current staff is oblivious. See here.

9. Day to day activities are often upset by the unexpected. Punditdad gets an eye infection and spends the morning clamoring for an appointment with the Super-Exclusive-Never-Available-Completely-Booked-Ophthalmologist to see her BEFORE the 2 week vacation.  Just made it under the radar.  Obama has airplane trouble as his MD-80 (on loan from the Hill Campaign!) had an inflatable slide deploy in the cone. Heads down press! Ride out the bumps says dad.

8. People hold you to what you say. Obama talked ’bout change in the primaries, but some left-istas seem to be in horror that he would use church’s to help communities, vote to give telecom immunity, give capital gains taxes to those who invest responsibly and not use government as the solution to every problem.  Unfortunately, McCain has pledged to balance the budget by 2013. Doesn’t he remember G.H.W. Bush on the no new taxes? Dumbass!

7. Naps are important to maintain high performance . John McCain, could possibly the oldest president ever to be elected, MUST need a nap every once in awhile. Obama looks like he naps during midday Sportscenter on his couch. The Bean needs a nap between 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM everyday or her head explodes and daddy is sent to the lowest level of hell. She’s just now sleeping off a battle of wills with Punditdad.

6. Maps are important to find where you are and where you are going. Punditdad believes in Google Maps wherever he needs to go. Have you ever spent 45 minutes looking for a thrift store in the middle of Orange County while your daughter goes ballistic in the back seat? No. You don’t want to either. She’s not mad about being stuck in the seat just that she had more confidence that her daddy was not a dumbass.  Maps also guide a campaign on how to reach the critical number of electoral votes. The best map of the states are here. Methinks Pennsylvania and Ohio are unjustifiebly powerful. I mean really, aren’t you sick of Ohio?

5. The Bush Economy sucks. The economy is getting worse by the day — 62,000 fewer jobs in June and no end in sight with the airline and the auto industries among others taking it on the chin because of rampaging gas prices. T Boone Pickens says we need windfarms. I say we need more bikes. The Bean says we need more naps…continuing.

4. Young people matter…maybe. In the 2008 presidential primaries, youth vote (18-29) increased by 2.4 million share. In the Republican primaries it increased 1% and with the Democrats it increased 5%.  Every four years people talk about how this year the youth vote will put one particular candidate over the edge. Did it work for John Kerry or Al Gore? Maybe there was a Real World Reunion Road Trip marathon on MTV2 during those elections? Who knows. The Post did an article in April drinking the Kool-Aid on youth vote that’s here. Since Punditdad is closer to 40 than 30, he thinks that the idealistic, overachieving upper middle class youths will vote to protect their white bread lifestyle and assuage their societal guilt. Meanwhile everyone else in the color spectrum under 30 will be at one of their 3 jobs or taking care of their children or trying to find a job. Elections should be on a Saturday (with same day registration) and anyone who feels different is an idiot.  Despite that, any youth voter under the age of 1 should be napping.

3. Blogs matter…maybe. Does this one? Does Daily Kos? I mean, do you think Barack Obama was running through the “Daily Thread” to check what “NiteOwl23” thought about his FISA vote? Gimme a break. McCain hasn’t touched a computer except the one that is connected to the paddles they put on his chest every morning to wake him up!  Bloggers matter as much as court jesters, mall security guards or fat free ice cream. In other words, the world could do without them and move along nicely. This blog not included.

2. November is a long way off. Yah, but it’s closer than you think. There is time for Punditdad to teach the Bean to hold a cup, but when? When Grammy comes to visit she’s going to wonder where all the “development” has gone. Time is short. Hell, the kid doesn’t crawl. Chalk it up to inappropriate societal expectations.  For McCain, he needs every waking second to get his ship off the reef and reassure his donors that the Straight Talk Express hasn’t gone off a cliff called Bush’s Third Term.  Obama has to make people believe that he’s more white than black, more Christian than “non-christian” and more of a leader than an orator.  The clock is ticking.

1. This IS a popularity contest. There is only one poll that matters and babies don’t vote. The candidate who wins the election is the person who won the campaign. They convinced the public to vote for them to have the most responsibility in the free world and to completely go grey as a result.  SAHD life is a balance between popularity and the FISA vote, what is right and what appeals to the masses who are going to love you anyway. Isn’t that how it always is?

The Dangers of Ego Parenting

Media Whore Tori Spelling exemplifies Ego Parenting - is there anthing she wouldn\'t do to stay famous? Sell her children?
Media Whore Tori Spelling exemplifies Ego Parenting – is there anthing she wouldn’t do to remain on the D list?

Sure, I know we live in a self-loathing, guilt-infested culture that is always pointing the finger at itself! Blogs like this do more damage than good when pointing out the problems that parents harvest with their children through thoughtlessness and ego.  But since having a child, I’ve realized that children deserve the best of ourselves, that we should find a degree of selflessness and sacrifice in each other we never knew possible to ensure the best for their future. Most parents do. I try to. But some, no, hold that, many do not. I call it Ego Parenting (note strategic caps since I intend to copyright this term for my Oprah taping).

Ego parenting is my term for parenting that ensures the child, or its needs, never interfere with your needs as an individual.  You never let anyone around think that you’re not as cool or stylish as before you had children. You fight to do all the things you did before as a single person. In fact, you hold onto your former single lifestyle more fiercely than when you were single!  Thank god there aren’t dance clubs with day care because I know there would be tons of parents dropping them off and ordering a pomegranate martini before you can say “Finding Nemo”.

But ego parenting isn’t about just being cool. it’s about putting you first rather than your kid (see hyperlink: http://www.poshmama.com)(http://www.babychic101.com) and I see it all the time here behind the Orange Curtain.  Kids get dragged around to malls and stores and are really just ornements that their parents insist on displaying.  I see it in cars where children are ignored by their phone waving parents while the kid watches tv in the car! I’m not even targeting moms either, the same can be said for dads who live the lifestyle to be seen as a parent but not actually want to pay the price as a parent.

Why are some parents with misguided judgement and an infantile sense of self worth having children? Because society and our culture of success has said that you can’t be a “winner” or a have  “made it” unless you have children.  How else are you going to be able to pass on the same addiction to corporate consumerism unless its through your children?

The dangers of ego parenting are multiple: your child develops with a sense that the world owes them something rather than a desire to earn their hopes and dreams.  They have no feeling of self worth or ownership of their lives.  Punditdad sees kids everyday who live in a nightmarish, endlessley repeating loop of “Real Moms of OC” filled with petty drama, useless bling, fashion, bickering, and yet, they are striving for it, not trying to escape it.

I’ll be talking more about ego parenting as I observe in my adventures with the Bean – and pointing out that behavior in myself when appropriate. Let me know your thoughts.