Planes, taxis, rental cars, oh my! (part 2)

On the way to the rental car place, our taxi narrowly avoided a turtle trying to cross the road. It was actually a 5 lane highway and he was just starting to cross the road. As we swerved around him, I saw him tuck his head into his shell and I thought, turtle vs highway, does not look good for turtle. I hope that he made it or at least decided to turn around. Did I mention that we were in Detroit. Who knew turtles like to hang out in Detroit?

Once we were settled into our rented Chevy Impala, we began the slow trek through rush hour traffic to Lansing, MI. A few hours later, after one snack stop (oreos, fritos and gatorade – we’re really healthy on the road!) and one nursing stop, we arrived at the YMCA for a lovely dinner with close friends and family of the bride and groom. There was a little bit of pass-the-baby, but B was tired and wanted mama. It was maybe the third time that he has shown a bit of stranger fear in big group situations.

A little part of me secretly loves when he starts to wail and then throws his arms out towards me. I gather him up and tell him he’s fine and he ducks his face into my shoulder (and he immediately stops crying). Intellectually, I know that he knows I’m his mom, but the emotional side of me feels oddly validated when he so obviously chooses me over everyone else. I guess that might be where the concept of “mama’s boy” begins.

Don’t worry. I don’t hog him too much. I make sure to calm him down and then tell him that “fill-in-the-blank” is going to hold him again and that he is doing great…

B asleep as the wedding band begins to play

Both nights of our trip, we made sure to get B to bed around the usual time and we totally lucked out with pretty average nights that included 2 night feedings. Despite being overtired, the whole weekend, B. had plenty of smiles to share with everyone. We tried to give him some space for his 2-3 daily naps but they tended to be short since he was so excited and since they weren’t in the most optimal settings. We also tried hard to avoid public meltdowns. It’s amazing how a baby will immediately calm down if you go outside. I think everyone ends up happier that way.

For the trip back home, we actually flew out of Lansing, had a 2 hour layover in Chicago, a 3 hour flight to Denver and then got home at 9:45pm. Overall, I preferred the fly and drive vs the 2 flights and a layover. Either way, it’s a long day for a 5 mo old who has never really traveled before.

Bailey really showed us how amazingly resilient and adaptive babies can be. Once we got through the first day of change which included some expected fussiness and crying; it seemed like he adapted to being in a constantly changing environment. Although his naps were short and not very deep, he barely fussed about the situation and always awoke smiley and ready to go. I was really impressed. In fact, I think we slept worse than he did. During the night, it felt like our hotel room was permanently lit to resemble 6am in the morning. Why can’t hotels invest in some good room darkening shades? It’s a simple thing that would make hotel stays sooo much better.

And before you think, oh I guess this baby is really portable and doesn’t need the daily routine of naps at home (or in one stationery place); he did make up his sleep once we got back home. The first day back, he took two 3-hour naps, and then crashed for a 12 hour night. The next day, he was at grandma and grandpa’s house and was still overtired. He had a hard time napping and spent most of the day rubbing his eyes, fussing and wailing but also refusing to go down for his naps. We owe grandma and grandpa a big treat for dealing with the aftermath of a whirlwind weekend trip.

I hope that today he is back to his normal routine because next week, he starts daycare two days a week. Eeek!

Planes, taxis, rental cars, oh my!

We just got back from a whirlwind 3 day trip for a family wedding and all I can say is that B is a really great baby. And he showed us how amazingly resilient and adaptive babies can be- it makes me feel like one proud mama!

My biggest worry for the trip was about naps since Bailey has been pretty reliable about when he needs his naps for the last month and he can be pretty vocal when he’s overtired. Oh, and he is highly distractable and curious these days which generally means it’s sometimes hard for him to go to sleep especially if we’re on the go OR he won’t focus on eating and then suddenly be starving and cranky – just like his papa!

Day One (part one):

On Friday morning, we left the house at 8am, caught a flight to Detroit MI and then drove a rental car to Lansing MI. We got to the night-before-the-wedding dinner at 7pm (ET) and then to the hotel just after 8pm. Bailey made it to bed by 9:15 which worked out to his usual bedtime of anywhere between 6:45-7:45 MT.

Happy Bailey on his first plane (5 mo. old)

We got on the plane about 1 hour past B’s first nap. B typically needs a nap every 2-2.5 hours. So an hour late is pretty significant. However, he was a happy smiley boy if slightly glassy eyed right up until he feel asleep nursing on take off. He only got a 15 min nap in but woke up smiling and excited  see his new surroundings and he completely missed the take off which meant silent baby! About an hour in to the flight, he had a minor melt down but really it was maybe 3 minutes long of “I’m soo tired” crying and then he fell asleep again. Overall, I think the flight made me and Lee more motion sick than Bailey.

Important tip: I did make sure he was either nursing or sucking on his pacifier during take off and landing which really did make a difference with his ears. I was told that babies respond to pressure change way before you even notice it in your own ears, so I had him sucking on the runway and basically til we leveled off. The one time he stopped sucking on his pacifier, he did start whimpering and crying so Lee and both became crazy pacifier cheerleaders – “suck Bailey suck, you can do it!!”

Once in Detroit, we took a taxi to the rental car place. For those of you newbies to parenthood, the taxi driver had no problem strapping our car seat base into his van for Bailey’s car seat.

Oh! I should probably digress into other  important tips for getting through security without becoming that family that takes half an hour and holds up the line – no offense if you have been “that family”!

  1. You can bring milk and water for the baby. They prefer clear containers and that you open the water bottles to show them – we didn’t bring any liquids so it wasn’t an issue for us.
  2. We did bring a car seat, car seat base and stroller. We packed the base in a checked bag and we gate checked the other two. Both the stroller and the graco snugride 35 seat fit through the xray machine. But put them through first because they need the weight of your other bags to push them through.
  3. I wore shoes that were easy to slip off and already had my hoodie packed away so that I didn’t have to deal with taking stuff off. I carried Bailey through the metal detector and then we grabbed our stuff on the other side and went.
  4. The stroller takes two hands to open up again (at least it does for me) so either be ready to instruct the security person on how to do it or have your hubby/travel partner take care of it. I’m sure there’s a single mama way to do it but I was at a loss and strangers are often scared of holding your bambino which means you get to do the one arm flailing thing while security people look on helplessly unless they’ve had kids recently in which case they’re much more helpful.
  5. Now this might seem obvious, but give yourselves plenty of time if you’re not used to having twice as much luggage as usual. I saw a family on the way back where the mom was freaking out as they tried to find their connecting gate. I really hope I’m never that mom you see -storming through the airport, sullen red-faced kids in toe and a scared looking father/hubby. You know the kind I’m talking about!

The good news is that if your baby is not crying, everyone around you thinks he/she is adorable and they generally slow down and smile more at you. And even if baby is crying, I swear it sounds a lot worse to you than anyone else.

In terms of packing, my approach was to get as much as possible into one checked bag and then carry as little as possible on the plane. I also recommend backpacks over diaper totes or really anything that goes over one shoulder. I like having both hands free to carry the little one.
I packed one backpack with 2 toys, 2 books, 1 fleece blanket, 1 little lovie blanket and the diaper stuff. The diaper stuff was all in a plastic bag in the backpack so that it was easy to pull out for use once passing through security. I also brought one of those expandable tote bags to put the diaper stuff (the kind that folds down into a tiny bag). We used everything we brought and didn’t feel like we’d forgotten anything. Our one extravagance was the Snuggleme pillow – looks kind of like a dog bed but it’s really for baby and it’s AWESOME for home and on the go. We used it in the hotel room (we’re non-crib folk – and that’s for another a post) and we also used it in the terminal during our layover on the way back. Other than that, baby stuff like clothing doesn’t take up too much room, but pack double in case of blow-outs or spit ups. Yay babies!

Last, we also brought a cheap baby monitor which worked out really well since Lee’s parents had a room a few doors down and we hung out there once baby was asleep in the evenings. Whew, Logisitics out of the way. Back to the story…