Crossing the Canadian Border With Your Kids, Clint Eastwood Style
I get asked often about traveling and immigrating to Canada by my American friends. I've moved over the border twice, imported two cars, applied for visas three times for five people at a time and have traveled back and forth over the border for majorly important events
Target more times than I can count. I am a plethora of Useful Border Information, and today I thought I'd share a few examples of how to not border-hop with your kids, because knowledge is power, friends. Forewarned is forearmed.
The Good: If you are trying to travel alone with three children who think they're going on vacation and have 30 pounds more packed into your luggage than is allowed by the airlines and no one to help you get from your car to the gate and no stroller and no baby sling and no sleep under your belt, all you have to do it get to the airport at 4 in the morning. Then just walk up to the baggage counter with two boys bouncing from delirium, one screaming infant and morning breath. Just look them in the eye so they know that you're beyond over it, kind of cry a little, and hand them your checked bags. They'll not only wink at you and push your seriously over-weight bags through, they'll escort you to the plane, get you seated and give your kids those wings pins and extra granola bars. And the best part? No one will ask you for your parental consent forms, which is good because oh god, you so don't have those. And you really have to get on that plane before he realizes you've gone.
The Bad: If you come through customs with your mother in law, your three gorgeous children, all the proper documentation and smiles on everyone's face, you stand a fairly good chance of being thought to be a terrorist. The best way to be mistaken for a terrorist is to have your baby's stroller tests positive for explosives. The most effective way to get detained for several fun-filled hours, marked as a blond haired terror cell is to let your kids use up the last of their snap pops right beside the baby stroller the night before you left for Canada, and not remember this until the last ten minutes of the two hours they will happily detain you. Happily for them, certainly not you.
The Ugly:Driving up to the guard shack is best done in a car with tinted windows. Why? Because if they are normal windows, and they're rolled down, and your three children are hanging out of them and happen to smell like rotting hamsters, the border agent is going to look into those windows. The agent is then going to see the 16 inches of empty juice boxes and Nutra Grain wrappers and broken crayons on the floor. They're going to see that you've got a dirty diaper or five in your lap because you ran out of places to toss them. They're going to hear your kids whine that their bottoms are killing them and that they really have to pee, maaaawm.
Two years later, you might realize why they felt slightly justified in interrogating you.
Just because you state that you drove two days straight for fun and that you're bringing your children into the country their father lives in, that doesn't necessarily mean that the agents will believe you. Just because you know that your kids school lets out in May doesn't mean the agents know that it doesn't let out in June like it does in British Columbia. And when you explain to them why you just really have to get over this border, that your husband is waiting on the that side with a drawn bath and nutrition, that you have a sciatic problem and no longer can feel the greater portion of your right side, that you cannot you have been listening to Trout Fishing in America for 48 hours non-stop, they're going to assume you mean that your husband is tailing you on this side of the border with a police force and a warrant. They will not believe you, no matter how hard you cry, no matter how many phone numbers you throw at them or addresses you give them. At some point, however, they are going to get so sick and tired of you and your idiocy and oh god that smell that they are going to look at you, say "Fuck it" and let you go through.
And just for the record, if you happen to be traveling across the border alone, it's wise to avoid showing up at the border with a US passport, a car registered in BC, a 6 month expired visa, an Arizona driver's license and a Big Gulp cup full of pee because hot damn is that wait a long one on a Sunday night.
For the record, and all.
::This is an original, and totally hypothetical *wink* post for Canada Mom Blogs. Mr Lady would never dare smuggle her kids over a border or give them explosives to play with, and she certainly wouldn't drive for two days across country with them. And if you believe that, she's got some beach front property she'd love to sell to you over at Whiskey In My Sippy Cup ::