Military Life · Travel

Away We Go (Again)

It’s Wednesday! How did this happen?

The past 10 days and the post I had drafted for Monday disappeared in a much more humane way than whatever the hell I caught Saturday night. And by more humane, I mean under the cover of allergies and a sick toddler and broken sleep. (Stomach bugs can really help one’s perspective.) Though I do have photo evidence that a good time was had somewhere in there.

I wanted to get the kiddo a flu vaccine before we sealed ourselves into a metal tube with hundreds of strangers for 9 hours. And in my mothering magnificence I decided to knock out the DTaP while we were at it, just so as to not drag out the misery. Thankfully it’s the last one of those for years. We received a real life, middle-of-the-night demo on why I refused to call baby spit-up “puke” and several days of crabby, hunger-striking, fever-fighting baby. Now that my husband is experiencing my opposite-of-fun Saturday night, it seems that the ickiness may have come from the kid and not the fish, as I had originally assumed. So there was that, disguised as vaccine side-effects.

We’ve been on lockdown this week, avoiding contact with any human under 5 feet tall and de-germing any shopping cart we might require (which, by the way, I had NEVER done until yesterday). Because the kiddo and I are going to the States!

For those of you unfamiliar with our particular Air Force breed of deployments, here’s a quick overview: he’s going nowhere any time –– suddenly he’s going somewhere in 3 weeks for months –– you buy a plane ticket home because it’s dark and cold and miserable and you can’t imagine even an entire week and weekend ALONE with the kid –– 3 days later he’s not deploying after all –– 2 days later the sun shines and it’s 50. A day later he might be deploying somewhere else some time soon, maybe, for a short or long period of time. Maybe.

The tickets were nonrefundable, and I’m really feeling a need to be with my family right now, so the little man and I are going. It’s kind of a lousy feeling, running off with the kid for a few weeks. And I definitely feel a sense of “WTF! was I thinking?!” as I prepare to make this long trip. BUT! The dog gets some torture-free time and undivided snuggles, and hopefully my husband will get some decent sleep.

I find myself surprisingly relaxed about packing our (huge) checked bag. Why? Because there’s SUPER TARGET. No toothbrush? Forgot some clothes? Baby needs a snack? We can knock it all out in one stop. And we don’t have to carry everything home on the stroller. And we won’t have to wedge ourselves into a parking spot that we’re probably paying for. And then we can park in the garage right next to the door to carry everything inside with ease. Aaaah, America.

However, I’m not at all relaxed about the carry-on. Fortunately (and maybe not) there are no layovers. This means two things:

  • PRO: The likelihood of spending an unexpected night in an unexpected town to be rerouted home via an airport near the opposite side of the country is minimal. Read more about my first time flying with baby alone to understand why this concerns me.
  • CON: Me and hundreds of other people will be on a plane with my toddler for 9 hours.

I had the wherewithal to purchase a seat for said toddler because even I knew it would be insane to expect him to sit on my lap the whole way.

  • PRO: We get two seats! He gets his car seat! We get two carry-ons!
  • CON: I have to figure out how to get the toddler and the car seat and the two carry-ons to and on the plane.

I’ve purchased a strap to attach the car seat to a rolling suitcase to use it as a stroller.

  • PRO: A carry-on on wheels! No stroller to wrangle through security! An easy free hand when he wants to run around! The car seat makes it onto the plane!
  • CON: What if he HATES it? (I suppose we could test-drive it at home, but I’m hoping novelty works to my advantage.)

And I’m going bonkers with my Valentine’s Day iTunes gift card, downloading a variety of interactive board books, flash cards and kid-friendly games to my iPad and the iPod that is now his (yes, we’re those people, but it’s a long story and he doesn’t know it’s his). My kid’s lucky if I let him watch the Elmo’s Ducks video on YouTube once every two weeks, so hopefully this trick pays off. I promise a follow-up on our favorite apps after we make it.

  • PRO: Potentially hours of entertained toddler.
  • CON: Mama doesn’t get new music, and what if there’s no turning back?

In all honesty, I’ll be imagining that gate at the end of security at O’Hare is a finish line, with a crowd cheering me for my achievement just as all you crazy marathoners out there get cheered for making it all… the way…to the end. I’ll do a little Rocky dance with my child strapped into the Baby Bjorn after I push my cart full of customs-cleared luggage (and the car seat) right up to my Dad, voluntarily oblivious to the two hour car ride that’s still to come.

Eventually, we’ll get there, and sleep, and have some fun!

Have you ever made an international flight with a baby, toddler or child by yourself? What tips or stories do you have?


2 thoughts on “Away We Go (Again)

  1. I love the analogy of flying international with a toddler/running a marathon. It’s really the same and you should get a medal at the end. Have a great trip and say hello to SuperT for me (super jealous). I’ll monitor the Flabshaker while you’re gone.

  2. I agree- you will definitely deserve a medal!! I’m sorry that the AF is constantly changing their minds about things, especially big-deal-things like deployments. I’m hoping for the best for you! :)

    We were the idiots that didn’t buy the seat on the plane for Sam and oh how I regretted that decision. And our flight was only TWO STINKIN’ HOURS. So major props to you for having a brain and realizing that lap-sitting toddlers would not be a good idea. (I am still blaming pregnancy brain for this oversight.)

    Have fun with your family!! Can’t wait to read your recommendations for air-travel with toddlers when you return!!

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