I'm back from a weekend away from home, the two older kids, and my hubby. Although my time away was relaxing, I realized no vacation is truly a vacation when traveling with a 9 month old! I had a very hard time deciding whether driving or flying would be better with the baby, and flying barely came out ahead as the better option. Times have changed since 2001 when I first traveled with a baby.
First, I had to figure out how to pack. The airline I flew charged an extra $50 to check a bag, and I was not about to fork that over, so I had to figure out what was really important. It ends up a frugal person only needs about half of what they think when $50 is involved! Leave the diapers, wipes, toiletry items, running shoes, and your novel at home.
Next, how would I get through security and to my gate with baby, a stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and my suitcase? First off, ditch the stroller. Can you imagine having to take the baby out of the stroller, fold up the stroller, put stroller, car seat, and suitcase on the belt, all the while holding the baby? Oh, and take off your shoes while you're at it. NOT POSSIBLE! Here was my solution: wear the baby, put car seat seat on my rolling carry-on suitcase, carry diaper bag on my shoulder, and go! Unlike me, remember to wear your easy slip on shoes.
I saw couples traveling with their infants in the airport, and I was relieved I had gone the frugal route. They had SO much stuff, and looked WAY more exhausted than me, and they had each other to depend on! I think I even saw them look at me with a bit of remorse, as if they wish they had thought to pack less, MUCH less!
Okay, now we were on our way... next challenge, boarding the plane. I was tempted to pre-board when they made that announcement about those traveling with young children. I resisted the temptation! You may think it is a privilege, or even a favor, but it is not. Pre-boarding would extend my time on the plane by one half hour! And in "traveling with baby" time, that equals about two hours.
When I boarded the plane, I noticed that no one would make eye contact with me. Don't take it personally if it ever happens to you. It is because one of two reasons. Either they think they will be required to help you, or they think if they look at you, you will sit next to them. Just smile, give your baby a smooch, and move on with your chin up! Chances are they will get their payback when you walk by, and since they weren't looking, the car seat you are carrying will hit them in the head and knock a little sense back in.
Now we are up in the air, and what does baby decide to do with his time? That's right, big #2! As mentioned in an earlier blog, my plane did not have a changing table. YUCK! I'll spare you the details. But just so you know, the reason I carried the diaper out of the plane in a barf bag was because the flight attendant asked me not to dispose of the diaper in the bathroom trash. She told me she would bring me a bag to put it in. Great, something else to carry out with me...
My baby of course decided to settle down and fall asleep just minutes before the plane landed. At least I had a few moments to taxi in peace before debarking the airplane. I relished in the few minutes of peace before trekking through the airport once again only to find the next vehicle in which I had to reload my baby into.
As I stood on the airport curb waiting for my ride, I watched travelers being greeted by their loved ones with nothing but smiles on their faces. One group in particular brought tears to my eyes. They were overjoyed to see one another. It was then that I realized it was all worth it. I may have felt like I had been through the wringer, I had poop on my shirt, my hair was a mess, I was dehydrated, starving, and had not a stitch of make-up left on my face, but soon my parents would arrive to pick me up, and it would be my turn to smile!