I've traveled a million times with my 6-year-old son Cash. We took him to Mexico when he was four months old and since then he's been to Germany twice, Costa Rica, Spain, England, back to Mexico several times and and all over the United States. But as we prepare for a trip to visit my in-laws in Florida, I'm starting to get nervous about traveling with the new baby. I'm scared I'll forget something important or that he'll cry hysterically on the plane or that he'll have a blowout. I'm literally almost hyperventilating thinking about it. It doesn't help that we have two layovers on the way.
Probably my most memorable trip ever was flying alone with Cash to Germany to visit my dad. He had just started walking (late) at 19 months and we were stuck in the middle of one of those long center aisles -- in one seat together, mind you. After walking the aisles forever and figeting in my lap, he finally fell asleep. So of course I wasn't going to move. There I was, stranded immobile in my seat. I barely dared even shift my body at all. I had to go to the bathroom but had to hold it for hours. I couldn't read because I couldn't hold a book and I couldn't even take the meal when it came around because I had no place to put it. And I wouldn't have been able to use my hands to eat it anyway. Then suddenly, Cash woke up, looked around and saw the fruit on other people's plates and screamed, "GRAPES!!" I looked at my neighbors in desperation and said, "It is in everyone's best interest to hand over the grapes." I still have nightmares about that trip.
So I'm trying to remember my tricks. Here's what I can recall. Please, please offer me help if there is anything you can think of.
Always travel with the Boppy. I love my Boppy and aside from using it to nurse, it is most comfortable to have the baby rest on it so that my arms don't get numb while he naps.
Bring the carseat. If you did not buy a seat for the baby, take the carseat all the way to the gate. If there is an extra seat on the plane, they will often let you have it for the baby. I love having the seat with me because he always sleep so much better that way and I can actually get a break.
Take a change of clothes for the baby — and yourself — in your carry-on bag. Planes make babies explode - from both ends. Cash once had a blowout where chunks of corn and more poured out of his diaper over Terry's arm. We had to wash him in the sink and strip him down to a diaper. It was 9 p.m. at night and we were on a flight from Reno (that was our layover stop on the way back from my mother-in-law's) and he was naked except for the diaper. Talk about white trash. My co-conspirator Danielle said that one of her kids once actually pooped through his diaper onto her white pants while she was on a plane. She didn't have a change of pants. Enough said there.
We often travel on free tickets earned with miles so somehow I have almost always ended up flying alone with Cash while my husband is blissfully alone on another flight. So in one of my most desperate moments, I tried to drug him with Benadryl. And Tylenol. And Dramamine. The doctor said it was ok to use a little medicine to calm him on the plane. But he is apparently one of the very small percentage of kids who are instead hyped up by the medicine. After trying one after another a day or so before our flight, my husband finally put a stop to it. Sure, easy for him. He's reading the New Yorker while I'm practically juggling trying to keep from being that mom who gets kicked off a plane because her kid was out of control.
Because we are all flying together this time, I'll hold out on experimenting on Catcher. But the next time you see me alone on a plane with the kids, you can bet I'll be holding a bottle of Benadryl!