Monday, January 27, 2014

Airplane Travel With 16 Month Baby

On my recent trip from Florida to Chicago, I redeemed a travel voucher and was limited in my choice of flights. I actually had to fly south from Tallahassee to Orlando to pick up a connecting flight to Chicago. Fun times.

As always, my goal was to bring everything I needed for my six day trip in a backpack and a messenger bag. It was tough, due to the fact that warm clothing is so space-filling. Let's break it down and see how it went. If you are interested in traveling with a small child, you can see what I brought and didn't bring and make changes in your luggage as needed.

First, in my backpack I packed clothing. Silas got a pair of warm pajamas, several undershirts, a couple long sleeved onesies, three warm coveralls, a jacket, a sweatshirt, a hat, and socks. I got a pair of jeans and a pair of pajama pants, two long sleeved shirts, two camisoles, a skirt, leggings, leg warmers, socks and underwear, and two sweaters. Somehow, when I wasn't using my baby carrier, I managed to shove it into the backpack too.

In terms of amount of clothing - it was possibly a little bit too much. I can't help that; I always, always overpack clothing. For one thing, I had access to laundry at my parent's house, so I just ended up washing clothes every day. I never ran out of clean options for Silas or me and I never wished I had different options.

I probably could have gotten by with two pairs of coveralls for Silas, but in the end, baby clothing doesn't take up THAT much space. Plus babies look so cute in different outfits; I'd rather he have some variety than me.

In my messenger bag, I packed diapers and wipes, a few toys and books. I brought too many books. I was very worried about Silas being bored on the plane and acting out, so I brought about six different paper books (standard size) and six or seven little board books (like two inch by two inch). Silas ended up picking three favorites that he wanted to hear over and over, and I ended up with a backache from carrying around all the extras.

I packed enough diapers for two days of the trip and bought some extras at my parent's house. That works out nicely. I brought two toys that he liked to chew on - also worked out very nicely. Once he was at my parent's house, he didn't want his own toys anyhow; he wanted to explore! I brought a baby blanket in case it was cold on the plane - that blanket never got used.

The messenger bag also carried my wallet and phone.

Because babies only fly free in an adult's lap until two, it's very likely this was my last flight with Silas for awhile. If I could change anything, I would have brought a few less clothes and a few less books. I think that it is easy to overprepare, worrying about a delayed flight or something, but keep in mind the airport and airplane itself also provide some entertainment; Silas loved looking at the safety cards because they were full of pictures.

Finally, economy plus seating is probably worth the extra money, kind of. I lucked out and ended up in there on my flight up, but on my flight back I was near the back of the plane in between two guys. Thankfully, the one on my left fell asleep and the one on my right told me he had four kids and to not worry if Silas accidentally kicked him. (Trust me, I still did my absolute best to make sure Silas kept the squirming down to a minimum. It was just nice to know I didn't have to apologize profusely each and every time a squirm happened.)

Oh, and there is probably no better workout than letting a baby walk down the terminal (try to find a section with mostly empty gates) - I would let Silas walk up and down, but the true workout came from trudging after him with all our stuff on my back and squatting down to pick him up and "reset" him when he started heading towards the crowded parts of the terminal.

Safe travels, all!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tired Mom, Happy Baby

You remember Christmas as a kid? I mean Christmas Eve, the night before. Going to sleep seemed impossible because tomorrow was going to be so awesome.

Or maybe you didn't celebrate Christmas, but you might still know the feeling - perhaps the day before your family went on a really fun vacation. You might have been up every other hour at night in excitement.

Ok, so maybe you didn't celebrate Christmas and your family never went anywhere. I'm sorry. That sucks. But you still might know the feeling. That feeling of anxious excitement keeping you awake the day before you start a new job or go to a new school.

I'm pretty sure that for Silas, every night must be Christmas Eve. There is no other explanation for how he can almost settle down to sleep, quietly babbling baby bedtime talk before turning over and sitting up and starting to shout about "football" or "doggies."

And once he reminds himself that there could be doggies outside, he can't understand why in the world I would want him to stay in his bed and not go look outside for doggies. After all, if he's thinking about doggies, clearly doggies are around here somewhere.

Imagine that for five nights in a row and you've imagined how my trip up north went with him. Silas could not and would not shut down at night. Somehow, he got by on less sleep than ever and I could only hang on for the ride.

I'll write more about my trip later, but I wanted to finish with the "happy ending" of this story. On our last day of the trip, we had two flights to get home. The first flight was roughly around the time of his afternoon nap. Silas fell asleep in the car about fifteen minutes before we got to the airport and no amount of clapping or singing could have stopped him. This led to him really not feeling like a nap on the two and a half hour flight.

At the very end of the flight, as we began our descent, Silas fell asleep for about another fifteen minutes.

After a two hour layover, we got onto our final plane. I was certain that Silas would fall asleep and remain asleep for the short one hour flight. We boarded the fairly empty and tiny plane and got a row of two seats to ourselves. As the plane taxied down the runway for take off, the cabin lights were dimmed and I thought to myself - perfect!

Then pretty much everyone else on the flight turned on their reading lights. On the tiny plane, this brought the light level up enough that Silas had to look around. He waved to the person sitting a row ahead of us across the aisle. He looked out the window and said "bye-bye doggies" about fifty million times. We read the Airplane Safety Card sixty times or so. Every time I would fold it back up, he would unfold it and point to a picture, looking at me to explain what it meant.

But I was not going to be discouraged. I scooted over to the empty window seat, hoping the space would be a little darker and tried to nurse him to sleep. It was almost working, until the cabin lights came up when the complimentary beverage service began.

I knew when I was beat. I read the Airplane Safety Card with Silas a few more times and we looked out the window together, wondering if, perhaps, there were some doggies outside.

Then we hit some turbulence. It wasn't bad, but my stomach dropped a few times and I'll admit I was somewhat more nervous than usual due to the small size of the aircraft. I did my best to breath slowly and calmly and to force my heart rate to stay normal so that Silas would not sense my nervousness.

He quieted down, looking out the window without trying to pull down the shade or asking about doggies. Was he scared too?

He had never sat so still in my lap, and I was certain he was deciding that this flying business was no fun after all. I couldn't quite see his face since he was looking away from me out the window and was hugging my arm gently. Each new bout of turbulent movement caused him to cling just a touch harder, and I gave him a kiss on the top of his head.

That's when I noticed he was asleep. The hugging must have been an involuntary movement, because he was sound asleep. So sound asleep that even landing did not wake him up, nor the movement of passengers retrieving their bags from the overhead compartment. But we couldn't stay on the plane forever, so I gently woke him and we went on our way.

That night, Silas didn't get to sleep in his crib until ten, and I was ready to cry when I heard him crying in his room at about five in the morning. I sent Smiley to go grab him, and Silas surprised us both by snuggling between us and going back to sleep until eight thirty. He must have been making up for some of that lost sleep. I was very thankful. And I even feel coherent. I hope this blog post reflects that. I'm too scared to check myself.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Two dogs and a kid

This is what it's like having two dogs and a kid.

Sophie: (Sleeping peacefully in dog bed)
Silas: (tries to pet Sophie)
Sophie: (Surprised yelp)
Sherlock: (Comes running from wherever he was sleeping to see if Sophie is ok.)

Silas: (tries to pet Sophie)
Sophie: (moves out of the way and makes a little yip noise. Barely audible.)
Sherlock: (Comes running from wherever he was sleeping to see if Sophie is ok.)

Me: (tickles Silas)
Silas: (Laughs)
Sherlock: (Comes running from wherever he was sleeping to see if Silas is ok.)

Me: (Playing with Silas)
Silas: (Laughing)
Sherlock: (Starts barking: warning, baby laughing)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Upcoming Travel

Silas and I are heading to visit my parent's house fairly soon here, and we're going by plane again. After two very long round trip car visits (18 hours each way), you would think I'd be stoked to know that we'll only have to travel for a total of eight hours each way.

Well, dear readers, I am not stoked. (About the travel, that is. I'm excited about the visit).

In fact, I'm doing my best to not think about the travel, because our flights include our first ever three hour plane trip. I have no clue how to entertain a baby sitting on my lap for three hours. And that doesn't include the time until take off and time before deplaning.

I find myself pacing endlessly, looking at his toys and books and trying to figure out exactly how many minutes each would entertain him. Then I'm trying to figure out how I'll cram that all into a carry-on and then I typically just stop thinking about it and play Age of Empires II. (Did I mention Smiley got me a new copy of it? And that I'm slightly obsessed? It's been so long since I've played it in my younger years.)

My goal this time, by the way, is to figure out how to pack my two carry-on bags as efficiently as possible. I want to be prepared without being over-prepared. I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Grocery Store Five Part Trip

My old online journal was a lot different from this wonderful blog. I used it mainly to record what I did each day, which tended to be hanging out with friends and going play DDR a lot. And going to Jewel (the grocery store I used to work out). I went to Jewel a ton. In fact, this old post I came across has me laughing at both how outgoing and social I used to be and how many times I can go to a grocery store in one day.

This vintage post came from the summer of 2005. Past me writes:

Well, yesterday was pretty cool. But let's break it down and see how many times I went to Jewel. Argh!

Woke up, went to Jewel - 1
Went to friend 1's house
Back to Jewel - 2
Taco Bell
Friend 2's house
Back to Jewel - 3 
Currency Exchange
Friend 1's house
Jewel - 4
Friend 3's house
Jewel - 5

Well, in any case, though, I had a very good time, although I did fail Sakura.

Three friend's houses and multiple locations throughout the day? I was a freaking social butterfly, people.

In case you're wondering, Eskape is the name of the arcade that I went to all the time to play DDR. (Sakura is the name of a song I was learning to beat on Expert mode). I'm PRETTY sure OCB stands for Old Country Buffet, which is exactly what the name suggests.

I have no clue what I did at Jewel 5 times.

And Blockbuster? Now there's a sign that these were simpler, quieter times.