As I’m typing this, I currently have seven child travel related tabs open in Google Chrome. Baby M has turned the corner on her illness giving me the confidence that she’ll be ready to leave later this week – so now it’s time to plan. We’ve got a one hour domestic leg, two hour layover, and then a seven hour transatlantic segment to get ready for. Let’s do this.
Conveniently, awty just wrote up a nice little packing guide (so make that eight tabs, ask my wife if you think I’m exaggerating). I wish I was that organized, but I’m not. Instead, I just wanted to share some of my thought process about packing and getting ready for Little M to make her second trip to Europe. I’ve been running through different ideas in my mind so I think putting them down in writing will help me sort them out – plus I’d love to hear people’s opinions (no flaming!).
Contents of Little M’s Carry On Bag of Distractions
Yes, we will be bringing a diaper bag with diapers, wipes, two changes of clothes, and a changing pad. But that’s not the stressful part – the stressful part is what to put in THE bag. AKA, what are we going to bring to distract her and prevent a meltdown. As a little aside, our travel habits unfortunately don’t give us enough practice to come up with any tried and true methods (not that there is even such a thing). Our trip to Italy was super smooth, but we haven’t been on a flight for more than two hours since. No matter how she does on this flight – she’s going to be totally different by the time we’d be able to apply any of the lessons learned from this one. Such is life. So not only do I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I never even get to apply lessons learned. Hopefully my thought process is helpful to some of you, but I’ll never claim to be a Mommy Points or Trips with Tykes or Have Baby Will Travel or if I continue to list my open tabs this will never end. But hey, at least I’m a dad operating in this space. Oh wait.
Anyway, here’s what we’re thinking of bringing to distract M:
Comestibles: String cheese, crackers, Cheerios, milk, water
Toys: Legos, stacking cups, wrapping paper
Other Distractions: Drawing (scribbling) supplies, airplane amenity kits, stickers, books, pictures of family (printed)
911: Tablet, Lufthansa in-flight entertainment
Writing down that list, I’m not even sure it’s enough! But we still have a few days. Anyway, we just “practiced” unwrapping things with Little M to try the “give presents for good behavior on planes” trick. I don’t think she gets it, whenever she unwraps something she just gives it back to us to wrap again… She’s a big fan of legos (duplos) although that generally consists of building the longest row of blocks she can make; I sense lost legos in our near future. She is pretty good at getting distracted for long periods of time – the key is having the right distractions; like, she can take a spoon and pretend to move liquids from one cup to another for like ten minutes straight. Mental note: bring some spoons.
Anyway, she hasn’t really watched TV before so I’m not even sure how she will react if we show her some stuff. She sees me on my computer headset all the time so whenever she puts headphones on she starts talking…don’t think she totally gets the concept yet. But at the very least I think she will enjoy looking at pictures on the tablet and on our phones.
What to do about food?
Our first departure is at 1:05 PM for a short flight. This could be great or it could be a disaster. Our current plan is to bring lunch for M to the airport, feed her there, and hope she naps on the flight (it falls right into her daily naptime). Of course, if she’s still a bit under the weather, all bets are off. Our next flight takes off right around dinnertime, so I’m thinking of bringing a second meal just in case she rejects everything on the plane. Honestly, she is not a picky eater at all – except when sick. So best to have a back up plan I think.
Milkwise, according to my rudimentary knowledge of calculus, we need to bring approximately 10 gallons of milk for the 12 hours of travel. OK, I’m probably going to round that down to like 24 ounces. Three weeks ago it would have been 16 but she has been on a milk binge lately. Aside from that, I think we’ll just need to bring a bunch of crackers as snacks, maybe animal crackers if we are at Defcon 2. I think we should be fine because there should be a near limitless supply of bread in our cabin. Like any good toddler, M loves her some bread!
What about the stupid carseat?
Ack. Largest source of stress BAR NONE. Life was so easy when we had a carseat + caddy. Take it into the terminal, gate check both, continue your regularly scheduled programming. Now we have a separate carseat and stroller, and I can’t decide what to do!
Admittedly, I’ve gone a little loco about this entire situation. First, I bought one of these bad boys. I was like, hey, we’ll just check the stroller in, or maybe bring both and try to gate check both, and wheel M through the terminal with this like COOL PEOPLE.
Now I’m waffling – if I could guarantee that we could gate check both I’d do that, but there are no guarantees since that technically violates the rules. We are bringing our super cheap umbrella stroller though, so I think if necessary I’m more comfortable checking that in with regular luggage (in a garbage bag maybe?). Throw some diapers in that bad boy too. (A week from now I will write a post titled “My garbage bag ripped and we are now diaperless.”) But yeah, I’m still leaning towards dragging it through the airport on that thing. I can throw M in our Beco if she doesn’t want to ride shotgun.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings. The reality is, I know everything will be fine, and, oh yeah, my parents are coming so I’m not complaining. Still, this is why we never get to plan our trips anymore – prepping to bring Little M takes up way too much processing power! Better get to packing…
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