Travel Traumas

Travel Time. Again.

Posted on Sep 27, 2012 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

“I can’t wait to travel internationally with a baby, by myself,” said no one ever.  Like, ever.

And let me tell you why: It will be the longest 9 hours and 41 minutes of your life.  And that doesn’t even count airport time.

And then you’ll have to deal with a seriously jet lagged infant.

Let’s rewind.  About a week and a half ago, I packed (and packed and packed) Elisabeth and me up for an extended trip to the States.  With Damon on deployment, it made sense to go stay to my parents’ house in CA where I won’t have to do laundry or cook or get up with the baby in the middle of the night to pass some of the deployment with family and friends.  If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that traveling with the little one is nothing new for me.  Elisabeth went on her first flight at two months old and just hasn’t stopped flying since.  Heck, this past trip from Tokyo to Los Angeles was her fourth international flight.  Sixth if you include Hong Kong, which practically doesn’t count since flight time was under four hours.  But anyway, this kid has earned her wings.

As for me, even though I’d always had adult travel companions on those past international trips, I’d also flown with the baby enough times by myself to feel mildly confident that this trip would be just fine.

Isn’t it funny how when you have even the slightest amount of confidence the world decides to throw it back in your face by keeping your baby awake the majority of a 10-hour red-eye flight?  And then that baby – who had been successfully Ferberized without much drama and had been peacefully sleeping through the nights and taking real hour-long naps for weeks now – begins waking up every few hours throughout the night and once again refuses naps. Yeah, that happened.

In fact, I’m writing this blog on the floor of Elisabeth’s temporary bedroom in California while she whimpers and cries and pulls herself up in her crib and presses her face against the slats and – oh wait – is that a laugh and a wave?  Look, Mom!  I’m waving!  You love this trick!  Aren’t I so cute? Now will you please pick me up?

I’m not buying it.  Because this child has been awake since 6:30 AM and took a measly 30-minute nap in the car and it’s freaking 8 PM and she’s exhausted yet SHE WILL YIELD TO SLEEP FOR NOTHING.  Not nursing, not rocking, not cuddling up with me in bed – nothing.  So I’m reduced to sitting on her floor humming The Rainbow Connection on repeat until she peters out.  I’m hoping that my presence will be comfort enough without picking her up (for the thousandth time) so that she doesn’t feel totally abandoned by me.

Really, as much as I hate hearing her cry, I’d Ferberize her again if I wasn’t hopping on a plane tomorrow to fly to the East Coast.

Yes, you read right.  I’m getting on another plane ride transporting us to another time zone.

Yes, I realize I am insane.

While my parents are on the West Coast, Damon’s family is on the East Coast.  And Baby Girl needs to visit her Grandma Alice and Aunt Meg and all her other East Coast family.  At this point, what’s one more (round trip) flight?  It’s family!

Maybe I’m getting too cocky, but our flight tomorrow can’t be as bad as the last one.  It just can’t.  For one thing, I’m flying Southwest.  I flew United from Japan and – though the flight attendants were lovely and we had a bassinet in the bulkhead (which of course Elisabeth refused to sleep in, but it was still nice to have) – United recently changed their family boarding policy.  As in, there is no family boarding policy.  Yup, United – I’m calling you out!  Give us back family boarding!

Now, look.  I’m not one of those people who thinks because I’m traveling with some snotty, loud kid I deserve special treatment and blah blah blah.  Pre-boarding families is actually a service to those of you childless travelers.  It takes us moms (in this case, single mom) carting a diaper bag and carry-on suitcase and – oh, yeah – WEARING A BABY ON OUR CHESTS around three times as long as a non-baby wearing person to get situated on the plane.  Do you want to be stuck behind us as we struggle to get settled into our seats?  No, you don’t.  So just let us board first and get over it.  (Yes, I have redirected my rant from United to those of you who complain about having to travel on planes with children because I’m pretty sure it’s those types of complaints that had at least something to do with the change in policy.  If not, well stop complaining anyway.  It’s not like we enjoy traveling with our snotty, loud kids either!)

I see I’ve gotten a little off track.  Point is, I’m flying Southwest and they do allow families with small children to board between boarding groups A and B.  Go Southwest!  Thanks for the help.  I appreciate it.  By letting us board semi-early, you are setting a positive tone to the trip, which will be sure to relax and calm my baby so that she’ll sleep soundly for the duration of the flight.  Right.

And not only am I flying an airline that throws a bone to us moms, but I’m NOT flying from Japan to California.  That right there is a big win.  I mean, what’s a five-hour flight after a 10-hour flight?  Nothing.  Nothing!  5 hours?  Pshaw.  Five hours flights are for amateurs.

And I’m flying in the afternoon.  So if Elisabeth decides she doesn’t want to sleep, who cares?  The only people who will be asleep will be the ones who have knocked back a few in-flight cocktails.  And she won’t be able to wake them up anyway!

AND it’s only a three-hour time change rather than a 16 hour time change.  I’m going to count that as another big win.  I can just keep Elisabeth on her West Coast time schedule for a few days and she’ll be fiiiiiine.  (I say that as if she’s on any sort of schedule right now)

Have I convinced anyone that I’m not totally terrified of getting on that plane tomorrow and having it be another miserable experience?  Because I’ve hardly convinced myself.  That’s how bad the last flight was.  I actually missed the cheerleaders.

OK, maybe Tokyo to Los Angeles wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but I’m not exactly looking forward to the return trip.  Or the flight tomorrow.  Dealing with a baby by yourself on a plane – be it for a two-hour flight or a 10-hour flight – is no picnic.  Have you ever tried to pee in one of those tiny airplane bathrooms while holding a baby?  Those are the times when you really need an extra pair of hands.  In the meantime, hopefully there’s no turbulence!  And on those occasions where your baby chooses not to sleep on a 10-hour red-eye flight EVEN THOUGH YOU BOOKED IT FOR HER BEDTIME it would be so, so nice to have someone else deal with her squirming so at least you can sleep even if baby won’t.  -Sigh-  I miss my perfect travel baby.  Send good thoughts that she returns to me tomorrow.

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Reflections on Summer: 2012 Edition

Posted on Sep 3, 2012 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

Holy moly – I missed my blogoversary! By, like, weeks!  I’ve been a negligent blogger but I intend to right my ways.  As I enter into my second year of blogging, my goal is to blog at least weekly.  But I need you.  I need you to hold me accountable.  I need you to get on my case if a week has passed blog-less.  Send me nasty emails.  Post obnoxious comments on previous posts.  Whatever it takes.  Can you do that for me?  Okay thanks. I have one caveat: on weeks that I am traveling, I am given a free pass.  But other than that, totally get on my case if I get lazy.  And by lazy I mean “exhausted and overwhelmed by life,”  but whatever.  No excuses! Since I’ve been so neglectful of this blog, I figure I’d spend this Labor Day recapping my summer.  Last summer I was glad to see summer go.   And this summer?  Well, I’m glad to see summer go again.  I just hate being hot and sweaty.  It’s that simple.  Last summer I was hot and sweaty and cooking a baby in my belly.  This summer I was (am still…) hot and sweaty, but instead of having the baby inside making me even hotter and sweatier, I have the baby constantly attached to my front making me hotter and sweatier.  It’s just not my thing.  Despite the nasty heat, it was still an exciting time, especially as we got to explore our new country.  So here’s the recap: 1) Memorial Day: We had just moved into our house and were preparing for Damon to deploy.  So yeah.  I was overwhelmed and stressed and thus summer’s kick-off is a bit hazy to me now.  I think there was a pot luck. 2) Damon deployed. 3) My mom visited: During my mom’s visit we A) spent over 2 hours driving around Japan trying to find some garden.  B) visited Tokyo and ate the most expensive asparagus in the world.  C) traveled to Kyoto and saw a lot of shrines.  D) pretended to put my...

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Italia, I miss you

Posted on Oct 19, 2011 in Travel Traumas, Uncategorized

I failed.  Yesterday my exhaustion reached levels of such epic proportions that I  simply didn’t have the physical capacity to drag myself to my laptop to type a post for this silly post a day challenge.  Had I tried, anything I wrote would have been completely incoherent anyway.  Forcing myself to post everyday has taken the fun out of this whole blogging thing, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I believe quality should trump quantity in this case.  So I admit defeat, but not without this slew of rationalization.  Onto blogging. I know I have been promising a post on my fall fashion wishlist, but A) I’m guessing most of you don’t really care what clothing items I’m lusting after and B) It’s flipping 80 degrees where I live and just looking at coats and capes and boots makes me break out into a sweat.  So fall fashion is going to have to wait. What’s on tap for today?  A healthy dose of nostalgia.  When Damon is gone, I get to catch up on movies he would never watch with me.  The other night, I watched Eat, Pray, Love.  The film was mediocre, but it made me long to return to Italy.  When I was a little girl, I wanted to visit three places: London, Paris, and Italy.  I have no idea where these desires came from, or why I designated specific cities in England and France, but left my Italy travels unspecified.  I like to think that at eight years old I had to foresight to realize that all of Italy is worthy of visiting. I had the good fortune to participate in an internship program in Florence the summer of 2005, followed by a study abroad program that fall.  While Florence is my fave, I love all of Italy, (almost) everything about Italy:  The people, the food, the art, the food, the language, the architecture, the food, the history, the food… you get the picture.  I returned after college graduation in 2007, but haven’t been back since.  And that makes me sad. Watching Julia Roberts...

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