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Travels with Baby

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Traveling with a baby is exactly what it sounds like: not easy.

Christina Montoya Fiedler: Summertime is for traveling -- enjoying the open roads, flying the friendly skies, and exploring new locations. But, gone are the days when my husband and I could pack a carry-on with bathing suits and one or two changes of clothes and skip out of town unnoticed. Being new parents has changed that -- our 10-month-old son is not a light packer, and he requires more equipment than an NFL team.

Our travel story begins here:

3 AM: What possessed me to schedule a 6 AM flight out of LAX, I will never know. I broke one of the cardinal rules of parenthood: never wake a sleeping baby. And so our traveling day starts with a half rested child, and even less rested parents.

5 AM
: We arrive at LAX scarily close to boarding time and park in the only lot available, which happens to also be one of the most expensive. We unload our baggage and the shuttle driver helps us into the van. I'm getting déjà vu, as the grimace he has on his face as he lifts our bags is similar to the one my husband had earlier that morning.

5:15 AM: We check our bags curbside. Joe is not happy to be moved out of his comfy stroller and into the cold morning air. My husband and I check in and get our boarding passes. And then it happens. The lady asks us for something with my son's birth date on it to verify his identity. Couldn't I just verify his identity? "Yes, ma'am, he's mine. Can't you see he looks just like his father?!" I search high and low for the paperwork I thought I put in my purse. It seems like an eternity as I shuffle through bags. Finally, crumpled in my pocket: the copy of his birth certificate. Sleep deprivation does not help the memory. Off we go.

5:20 AM: We get to bypass the horribly long security line, and are escorted to the family line, albeit with a dozen other sleep-deprived parents and cranky toddlers. I seem to have blocked this part of the experience from my memory.

5:45 AM
: Dad has a run-in with the security conveyor belt and the stroller. His eyes are speaking again: "You expect this to go WHERE?" So it goes, along with all our other massive amounts of equipment: diaper bags, binkies, blankies, fuzzies, lovies, duckies, and all that. Oh, and our baggage, and our shoes, and our belts. Try holding your pants up, walking barefoot, and holding a wiggly baby while airplane security tests his bottles to make sure they are safe. Finally, we're done and we book it to the flight.

6 AM: We board. Joe is a big boy and hands his boarding pass to the stewardess -- it's covered in drool. I can see the dread in the other passengers' eyes. "Oh no. There's a baby on this flight." But Joe is all giggles and smiles. He even seems to be pretty popular with the ladies who are cooing and fawning over him. Flash-forward 20 minutes. Tears, kicking, screaming. His popularity level has plummeted, and so has ours.

The only thing that seems to work is Cheerios. Thank GOD for Cheerios. Remind me to write a heartfelt thank-you note to them.

Maybe too many Cheerios? It happens. The smell invades our nostrils. It is a smell that makes you stop in your tracks. A dirty diaper. A very dirty diaper. A mile-high dirty diaper. The worst of the kind. To the lavatory with him. Dad volunteers. Brave man. Let's just say that a wiggly toddler, a 4 x 4 airplane stall, a 6-foot-tall man, and turbulence do not mix. Dad returns white in the face. Joe is all smiles.

8 AM
: We land. Phew. We've never left the scene of a crime as fast as we do that morning. We bolt right out of there. My husband and I both look like we have survived a war zone. The boy comes out virtually unscathed.

8:30 AM
: The only saving grace? The smiling faces of grandma and grandpa at baggage claim. Our vacation has started, and boy do we need one after that.

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous July 3, 2009, 12:07 PM

I am sorry but I am laughing right now! You so described traveling with a child. I travel with my two boys (3 and 1) by myself and I dread it everytime. They could be great or someone could have a meltdown. People always tell me how brave I am when they see me get on the plane. I also cannot say enough kind things about Cheerios!! Good luck with all future travel.

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 11:33 AM

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