As you must be already know, Alex (my husband) is in a long business trip now, and to make my life easier (sarcasm) I decided to go for a vacation, with just 2 of us: me and 10-months-old Jane.
Spoiler: it all went really good and I learned much from this trip. Both about myself and about my little one too. But let’s start from the beginning.
Go light. No, I mean it. Pack as little things as you can. And then remove another 1/3 of stuff. This tip saved my ass when it came to a waiting lines and boarding. Cuz you might think you can ask for a help – and yes, you should do it. But from time to time there’s simply no one around. So the less things you have, the better.
Here’s my check list for a whole week:
- Documents and Money
- Food for Jane (2 bottles filled with water and container with formula – measured portions, snack, snack and snack again, water bottle)
- My stuff (2 t-shirts, 2 long-sleeves, underwear and socks, toilet set, coffee tumbler + wearing on me jeans, t-shirt, hoodie and a rain-coat)
- Jane’s stuff (2 bodies, 2 long-sleeves, pants, fleece sweatshirt, waistcoat, socks, hat, pair of shoes, 5xPampers, thermometer, 1 favorite book and a small bundle of toys + she wore a warm romper and another pare of socks)
- Other stuff (MacBook, Kindle, notebook+pen, iPhone, charges for all above, 2 books as a present for our friends, stroller+light blanket)
Hmm. Yep, this is it. I packed my regular backpack and a bag for Jane – as the airlines allowed to take as a hand-luggage.
Few comments to add here:
- I bought more Formula and Pampers right after check-in at the destination
- I planned to go shopping and to get more clothes for both of us
- We had an extra crib for us at our friends’ place, I would rent one if there’s no any
- I was planning to work at least few evenings, but had no chance to do it. MacBook could have been left home. Kindle as well.
I was so afraid of what could have happen there. I’ve read millions of stories where the kid was crying all flight and only few stories where it slept the whole time in the air. But it went good for us! The only thing is that I was so nervous that Jane woke up at 2 a.m. instead of 3.30 a.m. – so I wasn’t asleep at all, and baby had her naps here and there till the boarding time.
Tips for self for the next time:
- Sleep, dear, as much as you can.
- Pack all bags beforehand, stack them near door ready to go.
- Put on your travel clothes – on baby and yourself. This tip saved my ass again. I was ready to wake up, put baby into carrier and walk out as the flight was really early.
- Place tickets-money-documents in an easy to reach pocket.
- Make friends. People around can help you a lot. Smile, relax and ask for a help if needed. Easy advice for my Jane, who is smiling and waving to everybody around her, especially to the men (lol!).
- Use baby carrier or sling. In the airport, on the board, on the waiting lines. If your kid is acceptable size, weight and mood – this will help him to sleep more and for you to control the situation better.
- Use stroller. As a bags trolley. As much as you can.
Baby feels your statement, stay calm, don’t force it to sleep or to eat, or to behave. Remember yourself in your childhood? My best memories are from the times when the schedule was broken, or parents took me somewhere far, or when their friends came, or something like that – anything that gave me a chance not to sleep or to behave. Newborns and toddlers are pretty much the same, they explore, watch and learn all the time. By giving them a chance to be a part of a journey – not a part of a problem – you rase a
It took me 2 days to get into a normal mood. I had a crazy hysterics the next day after arriving. I still feel awful for letting my friend see me in such condition (Jane and I stayed at my friends’ apartment). I had lack of sleep and was very tired in general. After sleeping and walking and talking a lot – I recovered and felt much-much better.
What about Jane? Oh, she’s an angel. She adapted to new conditions very fast. Babies are the most adaptive beings in the world. They only need a chance to show it.
Lessons I learned and why travels are a must with a baby.
First and the most important: kids are very adaptive (I’ve mentioned it before, right?). But we as parents don’t have many situations in a day-to-day life to let them show their super-adaptive-power. Traveling is a great opportunity for it.
Next is very important too: I felt a new level of connection to my baby. Everyday routing made me think predictable about my little one. When we came to a different environment, Jane began to act differently, better, more interesting, more creative (if this applies to a 10-months-old). She learned new crying tones from my friends’ almost-2-year-old baby. She communicated A LOT with strangers. She communicated A LOT with me. She mastered walking by hand (and made her first independent step next day after returning home). She slept better, ate better, smiled more and communicated ALL THE TIME! And me? I was happy near her, watching and feeling her differently. I now try to keep this feeling here, at home too.
This one is more practical: I learned the other family experience from inside. How they live, what rituals use, which games play, how got used to a daycare and various other things. Be like a baby: watch and learn.
Another practical thing: my baby learned eating new foods. Food is a thing for me. I don’t cook much at home and there’re several meals I combine in a day-to-day life. But this time I learned a lot about cereals and how my Jane loves them. I also watched how my kid was a so-so eater when we had a meal by ourselves, and a huge eater when we had a dinner in a big company. She’s very sociable.
Travel with your babies! Don’t be afraid to give them a chance to surprise you. I truly believe that various experience is a great thing in the early childhood. I also like that point of view that children are not a problem – they are your companions in this life. It’s not easy, trust me, I know. But it can be really fun for both you.