A few pictures from the trip, because I know you are positively DYING to see vacation photos from an online stranger. (You’re welcome.)
We like to relax and hang out when we visit my parents, but I would say that having a baby changes the dynamics of travel a bit.
A few examples:
1. I packed enough stuff to keep us fed/groomed/dressed/happy for approximately 4 years. Give or take. Usually, we carry on. Yeah. Let’s just say we had more than 5 carry-ons (not including a twenty-pound baby, who I literally carried on), plus two large pieces of checked luggage.
2. My parents were more than happy to spend quality time with Henry, leaving Ryan and I free to go on a day trip and leaving me free to visit with blog friends for lunch and shopping.
3. I was exhausted. Even though I had Ryan and my parents who took Henry a lot of the time, being with a baby outside of his routine is exhausting. For his mom mostly. He was totally fine with the changes and took them like a champ. But, I sort of like our routine.
We took a group hike up Silly Mountain with friends and family. Henry passed out in the Ergo about halfway up.
This was the very first time on a plane with Henry. Which caused me more stress than I care to admit. Something about bringing a little guy who refuses to sit still onto a plane where he was required to sit still made me queasy. Not to mention the fear of hurting ears and screaming and blowouts. Oh my.
In the end, it went really well. He’s a pretty easy going baby anyhow, but I give him major props for being great on both flights. However, he didn’t have much interest in sleeping, which is an issue when your flight doesn’t arrive until 11:30 p.m. But he was pretty happy and excited to see all the people and get lots of attention.
I’m far from an expert, but here’s what worked for us.
Have very low expectations.
This sounds very cynical, but I was not looking forward to being trapped in a plane with a 9-month-old. A 9-month-old who has recently decided that staying in one place is lame. Because I was really expecting some sort of hellacious experience, I was pleasantly surprised.
People around us on the flights were not only friendly, but also incredibly supportive. They were the ones saying “What a good little boy,” to Henry when he was looking around and trying to pull out their hair and grab their fingers and lunge into their laps.
The act of going thorough security was also tons better than expected. I carried Henry in the Ergo (which he loves) and I was even able to use it through the TSA area. The security agents were also incredibly kind and helpful with all our carry-ons and the breast milk, which I was a bit concerned about. They even checked the finger paints that I accidentally put in my carry on luggage so I didn’t have to throw it all away. Kudos to them.
In the end, you have very little control over the situation. If the flight attendant is a (insert expletive here), smile and stand your ground. (Been there.) If baby fusses, take a deep breath. (Been there.) And when he finally falls asleep, pat yourself on the back because you are awesome. (Been there.)
This goes for accepting help from Ryan when rushing to the gate, to those around us on the plane who were more than willing to help us pick up all the stuff that Henry was knocking off the tray, to my parents, who graciously watched Henry for us while we were in Arizona and got up with him early so we could have a little time to sleep in. There is nothing wrong with accepting help from those who offer it.
When in doubt, bring it.
Yes. This probably goes against what everyone else will tell you. But, I believe in the power of overpacking. It helped my sanity a great deal to know that everything I could possibly need was in tow. I didn’t bring a lot of toys or books, but i did bring a few of his favorites to keep him entertained and make him feel at home. And I carried on quite a bit of breastmilk and food “in case of emergency.” I also made sure to bring plenty of clothes, regardless of what happened with the weather. And I had way too many diapers and wipes and clothes for the plane, but God help us, I didn’t want to run out.
When you forget, buy it.
With that said, know that almost anything can be purchased when you arrive. My mom bought diapers and wipes so we didn’t have to lug them, and I made a grocery store run for some additional Henry-friendly food. It’s nice to know that it’s not the end of the world when you realize you forgot or run out of (fill in the blank).
Do what you love.
Even though we were traveling with Henry, we still were able to do things we enjoyed while there. I think all too often, people use a baby as an excuse. “Oh, I can’t do that because of the baby.”
- My parents hosted a great shin dig with 50 people, and Henry was the star of the show. (And then passed out like a dream when his bedtime hit, while we continued to party away. Well, until 8 p.m., when retired people go to bed.)
- Ryan and I took a day trip to Tucson while Henry enjoyed time with my parents.
- Henry enjoyed the golf cart rides as much as we did.
- We took a great hike up Silly Mountain to spread my grandmother’s ashes, with baby-in-tow.
You may need to adjust, but I found that having Henry along just made things all the more fun.
And a great big thanks to my parents for being such amazing hosts.