We did it! I was nervous as heck to travel alone with Syd but all went well. We went to visit our old neighbors and their two kids, one of which is a month older than Syd. This trip was my attempt to break up the 5 days with Royce gone on his bike trip with his buddies.
Along with some good planning, light packing, and low expectations I set out. The big thing I had to grapple with is hands. I only have 2; one of which sorta needs to be free to hold/support/sooth Syd, and the other to carry something. Which leaves me with the physical capability of only bringing one large bag. Since we had to bring her car-seat, that bag was her car-seat bag which I had stuffed full of clothes and other necessities. Also was armed with my backpack and her Ergo Changing pad (which again saved the day — hands down best changing pad for traveling) and of course Syd was in her sling. Thankfully I’m still producer/feeder of milk so I only had to bring a small amount of solid food for her to last through the weekend which I transported in recycled baby-food jars (thanks Amanda!).
I was nervous with her extreme need to wiggle. So I made sure I got to the airport with enough time to avoid the stifling melt-down a ride in a car-seat direct to airplane seat would create. We found a perfect quiet spot in a vacated gate and I just let her go. I got over really quickly the germ-phobia that existed pre-kids (I would never imagine I would let my kid crawl on an airport floor). I figured she has probably inoculated herself with everything under the sun from day-care so this airport floor isn’t going to hurt her. She had a blast crawling from one end of the gate to the other and charming everyone in-between. By the time we got to our seat she was a sleepy hungry babe (just how you want them!) and so I obliged and the rest of the flight was cake.
I highly recommend window seats. I find the urge to crawl is much less if she can’t see that there is an area to crawl on; not sure I would have had it so easy if I was on an isle seat! Not only that, the window provides some good entertainment too. I also found it handy to pack a bag within my backpack that had everything I would need on the plane while I was in my seat (water bottle, blackberry, toys, cloth diaper for spit-up, sippy-cup, Ipod, pacifier). This allowed me to store everything else in the overhead bin while keeping just what I needed at arms reach in an easy to maneuver bag that I could access while holding Syd. I prepped this bag before I even boarded the plane so that way when I got to my seat I was settled — no fussing required.
Her stay in Chicago was so-so. Saturday afternoon she had a really hard time calming down for a nap. The new sounds (of a 3-year old) were probably at fault. I did get 30 minis out of her but that wasn’t enough compared to her typical 2-hour nap she takes in the afternoon. She did sleep great at night (waking at 5:30 CST which is her normal wake time on EST) which I expected since I pretty much replicated her sleep routine she has here at home, right down to her snuggle doggie and music sea-horse.
On our way home I was pleasantly surprised to run into a colleague at the Chicago airport who was returning from her trip home to China. She was able to switch seats with the guy next to me so I had someone familiar (so much nicer when breastfeeding) and helpful on my return flight. A total breath of fresh air. Although sleepy Syd slept for almost the entire flight!
Back at home, I’m so appreciative of the familiar place it is. Traveling is fun but it is hectic. I found solace in tonight’s routine; laundry, cooking, bath-time, bed. Just a few more nights alone before Royce returns. We both miss him so!