This first year is a year of many firsts—first car rides, first words, first three months of no sleep. Not any less significant is my little one’s first plane ride. On his three-month birthday, he and I flew home to visit my family so he could meet his great-grandparents.
Little E experienced his first trip to the airport, first security check, and first bag of peanuts. (Okay, he didn’t eat any peanuts. I ate his bag.) I must say, however, preparing for this first trip was an adventure in and of itself. Here’s my checklist for getting ready. Maybe it can help you get ready for any trip you might have:
- After pacing, bouncing, and vigorous rocking your newborn, put him down to sleep and pack your clothes in silence by candlelight so as not to wake him. (While packing in the dark, it helps to put on your house robe and pretend you are a nun in the Middle Ages (or a middle-aged nun) who has taken a vow of silence.)
- Once packed, count on one hand how many hours of sleep you will get (provided your newborn doesn’t decide to wake you up at 3:30 a.m. in order to watch Who’s the Boss reruns—hey, some newborns just like that show!), sigh heavily, and then set your bedside alarm.
- Wake up to a confusing sound that must be coming from some car alarm outside only to realize it’s your inside alarm telling you your 2.75 hours of deep sleep are now over.
- Drag yourself downstairs deftly avoiding the pile of dirty clothes and stacks of unopened mail, assemble your breast-pump goodies, and tip-toe back to the bedroom wondering if you will be able to pump fully before your baby senses you are awake.
- Finish pumping, and stealthily begin putting on the yet-to-be-spit-up-on travel clothes you’ve assembled the night before.
- Go to the kitchen and quietly fix yourself breakfast while assembling bottles and milk, while packing the diaper bag, while diligently watching the baby monitor for any signs of unusual movement.
- Check the diaper bag for actual diapers (This is key.). Pack enough so the whole plane can wear one if necessary.
- Build up a nice sweat and get your “cardio” by packing your car, consider for a brief moment trying to grab a quick shower, but think better of it knowing you’ll be covered in vomit later, anyway.
- Finally wake your newborn with kisses and milk hoping he stays sleepy for the rest of his life—or at least while you are flying.
- Remember to check the battery life on your portable breast pump (This also is key) because if you don’t, you might be running into the airport during your 15 minute layover looking for a power outlet to get just enough charge for 15 minutes, because you really don’t want to ask the stranger sitting next to you for…um…help…
- Arrive safe and sound with a minimal amount of fuss, and let the grandparents take over for a while so you can FINALLY get some uninterrupted sleep—until your phone rings.
- Turn off the ringer on your phone. Wonder why this key step didn’t come earlier in the checklist.
- Count your blessings that the journey is over and all are well. And see if they get Who’s the Boss reruns.