Friday, October 23, 2009

Traveling with a One Year Old

This post is long overdue, I know. A couple of months ago, we took Christina, our wonderful one year old, on vacation. This included a plane ride, a plane ride with a one year old. Got that? Does it sound like fun?

I was a bit nervous about it. Knowing how wiggly and antsy she can get and since she wouldn’t even have her own seat on the plane, I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as possible. I took a trip to Toys-R-Us and bought a ton of travel toys. I got a travel etch-a-sketch, and a travel sized magic doodle, I got a special coloring book that comes with markers that only write on those specific pages, I got a couple of small fun new toys including one that had lights and music, and I even bought some card games thinking that if she fell asleep maybe Nik and I could play.

I loaded up on all sorts of food and snacks, water, milk, and anything else that I thought she could possibly want to eat or drink on the trip. I uploaded a ton of music onto the ipod and even added some Baby Einstein movies to it (we have the video ipod). We also brought a laptop with Baby Einstein movies and music.

In addition to the millions of things I already mentioned, in my carry-on, I also packed a couple of blankets (one light and one a little heavier), a teething ring, one extra outfit, one pair of pj’s, a burb cloth (for any quick clean-up’s), three take-n-toss spoons, three disposable bibs, lots and lots of baby wipes, and about four diapers. I also packed an extra shirt for myself.

The plane ride was only 3 hours.

I had a lot of stuff.

I was well prepared.

Christina didn’t need/want 90% of what I brought. She didn’t even need a diaper change while on the plane.

And yet, I’m still glad I brought the 100 pounds of stuff.

Just in case.

As I expected, CC was very antsy during the plane ride there. Luckily, we were flying with my family, so there were lots of people to pass her back and forth to. She literally would not sit still for a single moment on the plane. She wasn’t really interested in any of the toys (the etch-a-sketch and magic doodle were really too old for her) and she definitely wasn’t interested in eating. She drank a little. She didn’t sleep AT ALL. She wanted to reach for everything, but she only wanted things that were not hers. We managed ok. It was a short flight.

On the way home, we were flying just the three of us, so I knew it would be a bit more challenging. When you know what to expect going through security though, it is a whole lot easier. Luggage goes on conveyer belt. Baby has to come out of stroller. Stroller gets folded up and put on conveyer belt. Laptop has to come out of case. Belts and shoes have to come off. So do jackets. All of that stuff goes on conveyer belt. Baby food and drink goes separately through conveyer belt. As does the zip lock bag with our travel “liquids”. Everything in pockets comes out. One of us walks through with baby. One walks through alone. And that’s basically it. Security usually helps when you have a baby and are struggling.

I was dreading the plane ride. I was regretting not buying CC her own seat. I was afraid she would end up in the lap of whoever was sitting next to us. But our little girl decided to surprise us and she slept the whole way!

We never got to play our card games. I don’t know what I was thinking. How can I play cards when I have a sleeping baby in my lap?

Next time I think I’ll still pack like a crazy person going on a hike in the middle of nowhere for 8 months, BUT I will buy Christina her own seat. How nice would it be to put the car seat next to us and strap her in so that she has nowhere to go? That would have been a huge help on the way there. We could entertain her easily and not have to worry about her reaching and jumping all over everyone else on the plane. Or, she could sleep happily in her car seat and maybe I could even take a nap too.

Also, the big problem with not having her own seat is that it was practically impossible to feed her. Definitely getting a seat for her would be the way to go next time.

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