Bella and I packed into the car this morning to take my sister to the airport, which is a short hour away (if you weave in and out of winding country roads the way I do). We got dressed for our day of travel:

Then she got all buckled into the back seat and I nestled the mini-DVD player in her lap (because somebody lost the strap to hang it. Somebody named MY HUSBAND). She watched Bobby da Nudcackah for about five minutes and promptly got upset because I can't explain what "stern" means.

The line: "Uncle Drosselmeyer was very stern."
My two year old: What stuhr means?
Me: It means you have to follow the rules.
My two year old: Stuhr is da roos?
Me: Yep, like someone who is stern doesn't let you play around.
My two year old: Da roos not say no pwayin' woun, mama.
Me: I mean, if you're being silly and I say NO M'AM then I'm being stern.
My two year old: Silly is no da roos, Mama. You not knowin da roos.

And on we went. So I took away the DVD player and we all settled on singing Laurie Berkner and They Might Be Giants for the rest of the way. But someone (that'd be ME) failed to mention that WE were not flying. ASHLEY was flying. Bella then launched into a Level 5 fit in the car, complete with snot and screaming and kicking and crying.

So I did what every stern parent of a toddler does. I found a regional airport and smuggled the both of us out onto the tarmac and let her touch a plane designed to look like a race car and lifted her up so she could see into the body. I chased her between the crop-dusters and around the mini passenger planes. The wind was torrential but the skies were blue and the sun was warm and my daughter and I felt like we were flying.

The feeling lasted the full ten minutes it took the airport staff to realize we were out there. Did you know it's not cool to play around on airport tarmac, even the ones in your sleepy little town? We were quickly told to leave and giggled as we chased each other back to the car. As I was buckling the big girl back into her seat, she said to me with a shrug: Dat man is so stuhr!

Like flying. Free and clear and weightless. That's a warm January day with the people you love.

This post is part of Steady Mom's 30 Minutes or Less Challenge.


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