I had a different post planned for today’s Throwback Thursday (which is hosted by Brittany at My Own Balance, so you should go on over and check out her link up), but then the organizer of my high school reunion posted a bunch of old photos in our Facebook group this evening, so I got all nostalgic for the ‘old country’ and dug up this ancient post to share, of the time I took a baby on a plane to Australia.
You see, it’s my 20th high school reunion this year (and I cannot really comprehend how that happened so fast). Bear in mind, our seasons are opposite, just like our hemispheres, so our school year ends early December and Australia has summer break right about the time we’re all bitching about the cold and snow and polar vortexes and what-not over here. That means my reunion is coming up in a few months.
We’re not going to make it back for the celebration, unfortunately – it is just ridiculously expensive. Baby T would still fly free, but Roman would be charged full fare and he’s really been slacking on the whole looking-for-a-job-to-help-with-rent department. He does seem to think he has a strong chance at a career in the construction industry, although yesterday he suggested to me we use his “power tools” (a broken water gun that’s become his electric drill and a fake thermometer he calls his spanner) to break Tanner’s crib apart in order to get the cat hiding under it (in terror of the toddler) out. I suggested shaking the cat treats bag instead and the crisis was averted.
This post is from the last time we went back, for Christmas, right before Roman turned one (so we’d sneak a trip in when we still didn’t have to pay for him). This was about the time I took an old, barely updated blog and thought, maybe I should post more regularly, so the post is pretty woeful. I have elaborated with a few stories from my present-day perspective to support the original post to make it more interesting. Enjoy!
I hope everyone had a great holiday! I haven’t posted for a while because we went to Australia for Roman’s first Christmas. I was so nervous about taking a baby on such a looooong flight, but was really looking forward to handing him over to grandparents so I could go work out, or run every day, free of babysitting charges!
Well, the good news is Roman was a trooper on the flight. Despite a 3 hour delay at JFK, and another delay at LAX, we made it to Sydney with no meltdowns, just a lot of sleeping and playing en route.
Present day update: About that delay…so we were delayed getting out of JFK by about three hours, which in baby time is about 18 hours. But Roman was so good. We wandered around with him (in the Bjorn, he wasn’t walking), we ate dinner, he kept his cool and it actually worked out that when we got on the flight to LAX, it was past his bedtime and he crashed for about half of the way and we managed to entertain him for the rest of the flight. Then, we got to LA and it was late, I think about 2am our time. The captain announces that they’re going to do the quickest clean/refuel of their aviating lives and load us back on, then he and the co-pilot were going to put pedal to the metal and make up the lost time en route and he (confidently) estimated we would only end up being about half an hour late to Sydney. He was very clear to tell us, we all HAD to stay in the gate area when we arrived, which had bathrooms and power outlets and what more would we need, because TSA was no longer at LAX, so if we left the secure area, there was no way to get us back on the plane. This was all on the in-flight announcement. So everyone on that plane knew, don’t leave the gate area.
The second photo below, of me holding Roman, was taken at the gate area of LAX, right after we were informed that one of the passengers had decided he needed to pop outside for a cigarette. They spent the next HOUR trying to get someone from TSA to come to the airport to screen him back in so he could get on the flight…to no avail. So our chance at making up time was wiped out, we all trudged back onto the plane and the captain came on the in-flight system again to let us know that when someone has to unexpectedly leave a flight, their luggage must also be located and taken off the plane. So those guys we saw pulling up on the tarmac below? They were just going to start looking for that guy’s suitcases. It was a LONG trip.
Back to my original post: The bad news, however, was that Fran and I both came down with a cold pretty much the same day we arrived.My advice to clients when they get colds is to continue working out if it’s just a head cold, but once it gets to your chest, all you can do is rest up. And drink tea. (The tea drinking tip is purely because I’m an Aussie and that’s pretty much my cure for anything). Well, we were chest sick immediately. Given that half my packing was workout gear, this was frustrating to say the least. Instead of being handed over to grandparents while I ran, he was handed over so I could get another hour of sleep.
We still managed to have a great trip. Christmas Day was lovely – the morning at my parents’ house, then lunch at my brother’s place:
Present Day Update: I cannot believe how little Roman looks in these pictures. I also can’t believe he was 11 months old, yet Baby T at nearly 4 months has already outgrown that little fish onesie Rome is rocking.
And we also managed a trip down to Sydney, to spend some time at the beach:
Present Day Update: FACT -Australian coffee is amazing. And I’ve lived in Italy and will still tell you Australian coffee is better. It was kind of lovely having an early-rising baby, because when we were down by the beach, we spent three mornings taking a walk and then just drinking coffee at a little cafe near the place we were staying, so we didn’t wake our family. Also, that’s my friend Elli in the picture at the bottom, who was my first Fit Mama Friday. I miss her so much! Our boys are about six months apart and she has a little girl, now, too.
And then the day before we left, Roman decided to start walking. 🙂
Present Day Update: This was a real-time oh-my-god-he’s-walking photo. One of my parents’ friends took it right as he took off. I had let go of him to see if he’d take a couple of steps, but he was way more ambitious. He’d been trying the whole time we were there to walk, but my parents’ place and my brothers’ place both have hardwood floors, so they were slippery. This was at the golf club near my mum and dad’s and was just wide-open carpeted space. He got a grip with those little feet and just ran. There was a lot of falling and giggling too, but the next day we got on the flight back home and had to take turns walking behind him up and down the aisles because all he wanted to do was walk. The great part was after three hours of this he was exhausted and slept the remaining 10 or 11 hours to LA in the little fold down bassinet, so we actually watched movies and slept and enjoyed a flight with a baby. Unbelievable, right?
I’m so happy to be back home, though, and can’t wait to train my clients again this week!
Oh, and if anyone has tips for dealing with a baby with jet lag, please let me know! I am getting desperate over here!
Present Day Update: I was desperate because we got back on a Saturday night, then Fran had to fly back to LA on Monday morning for a business trip for the entire week. So I was alone, dealing with Roman’s jet lag. He went from being a routine sleeper all the way through the night, to going to bed at 8pm, sleeping for an hour, waking screaming as if he was being murdered, then being wide awake until about 3am (I assume it was around that time he’d finally crash, because that’s when the strange silence would wake me from my fetal position on the nursery floor). It was awful.
I really was a crappy blogger. This would have been the easiest post in the world to actually offer real tips on traveling with a baby and I do often get asked for advice on taking a baby on a flight, since we did it for such a long trip. Honestly, you just have to hope you get lucky with their routine and temperament and mood on the day of travel. But now that I get this Throwback Thursday ‘do-over,’ here are some things we did that were helpful and hopefully they may help you, too.
TIPS FOR TAKING A BABY ON A PLANE
- We planned ahead and saved some things especially for the trip. Roman had been eating solids for five months, but I’d always made all of his food. So we bought a bunch of those organic squeezy packs, as well as some puffs and snack things, all of which he hadn’t tried, as a way to use food as entertainment. Yes, that sounds bad, but guess what, it worked. You could also let them have food or snacks they wouldn’t ordinarily have. (The only caveat is to be mindful of the repercussions pumping a kid full of sugar in a confined space for a long period of time – choose those snacks wisely.)
- In the diaper bag, we had a bunch of big ziplock bags (the freezer bag size), each with two diapers, a mini pack of wipes, a trial size cream (thank you, kind, local pharmacy!) and a plastic bag. That way, when we needed to change him, we just had to take our portable change mat and one of those little bags, not the whole diaper bag that takes up way too much space in an airplane bathroom.
- Just like with the food, we had a few of his favorite toys with us, but we also had stockpiled a bunch of things he’s never seen before. Just little dollar store stuff (some of them were even dog chew toys, because Target was having a sale on them). Our sitter gave us a roll of painter’s tape before we left, which we didn’t end up having to break out, but her friends with a baby had sworn by it – just ripping bits off and letting baby ‘stick’ them wherever, since they peel right off. Just don’t bring anything that makes a noise. The other passengers hate you already.
- We took turns. This only works if you only have one baby, but it was a good system. Set a timer for a certain amount of time that one parent is in charge, so the other one can attempt napping, or read, or whatever, without feeling guilty or like they should help, because when that timer goes off, SWITCH! It’s like lookout duty in an apocalyptic movie when the zombies are coming.
- You are not beholden to your seat. Once that seatbelt light goes off, if your baby is awake and you know there’s no chance they’re going to sleep anytime soon, then entertainment can be as simple as walking them up and down the aisles, peeking them into the galley, chatting to the flight attendants at the back of the plane.
- If you let your kid watch TV already, limit their screen time for a few weeks beforehand, so they’re jonesing for it. If your baby rarely sees the TV on, turn that puppy on. For the latter scenario, you don’t even need sound – the screen alone will entertain them for a surprising amount of time.
- Above all, go out of your way to be super nice and friendly to the crew aboard the plane. They will then be your champions if your child gets fussy and other passengers start to roll their eyes and sigh loudly and glare as they put their ear plugs in with authority. They will bring you extra toys and snacks and coo over the baby and hold the baby while you get the bassinet set up.
- Be prepared for the jet lag when you return (it’s almost always when you return, sometimes because of the direction you travel, but also because you’re just trying to get them back into real-life routine, not vacation-life of, oh, let’s just all nap whenever). Line up a sitter to help you out in the day if you can, so at least you can be rested for the nights. Also, talk to your pediatrician ahead of time about ways to get your baby back on track when it comes to sleeping, so you can follow their advice from the moment your plane touches down.
Have you ever been on a long flight with a baby? Got a tip to add?
Have you been to a reunion? Is that even a thing anymore in the age of Facebook?
Related: Did you love Grosse Point Blank as much as I did?