our disney vacation – part 1: how to fly with an infant

The four of us went to Orlando in June, the exact day after the oldest child graduated from high school. Twenty four hours after he received his diploma we were somewhere between Minneapolis and Orlando eating tiny pretzels and counting the minutes until the plane landed.

Amelia, the teenager and I had flown together before to Chicago a few years ago. And Amelia and I have flown a handful of times for quick extended weekend trips, so we do well together when we travel. The wild card in this whole situation was the latest addition to the family. At the time of our vacation, he had just turned seven months old, which means he doesn’t understand logic, can’t explain what he’s feeling and feels the need to grab and/or touch anything within his go-go-gadget arms’ length.

You know where there’s a lot of advice on babies in general? THE INTERNET. You know what I’m about to do? Add to the swath of unsolicited advice that you can find about babies on the internet. This is what worked for us. If it doesn’t work for you, #sorrynotsorry. Because, you know, every baby is like a magical snowflake.

First Flight!

Our baby: He’s pretty high maintenance. He requires a lot of stimulation to keep him entertained – wrestling, bouncing, tickling, etc. He was (and still is) solely breast fed. He gets snacks of all sorts, but they’re for fun and just learning about how not to gag himself with a handful of smashed banana. Since he was 12 hours old, he has been adamantly opposed to being held still. His poop smells really bad. He can occasionally lose his ever-loving mind if he doesn’t eat EXACTLY WHEN HE NEEDS TO EAT, DAMMIT. I love him dearly and wouldn’t trade him for a million other babies (or bucks), but he’s no cakewalk. He’s lucky he’s the most adorable thing on the face of this planet, as far as I’m concerned.

Our big gear: We brought along one of his car seats and a stroller, view publisher site here. We flew Delta and checking that kind of stuff is free. To my understanding, a lot (if not all?) of other airlines are the same way. Now, there’s a great deal of concern that the airlines can damage your car seat when they’re drop kicking it into the airplane. Some people say if you check your car seat, it’s the same as having it in a car accident, which then makes it null and void and not safe anymore. The FAA recommends your baby ride in a car seat in the plane under the age of 2. The NTSB and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the same thing. But, we were apparently like – SCREW THAT. And we were comfortable with it.

Our child hates riding in the car. He would rather have his toenails clipped than sit in a car seat for any amount of time. He might fall asleep after we’ve been driving for at least an hour and that’s if we don’t make any sudden stops or turns. There was no way we wanted to be subject to that in the confines of an airplane. And we knew when we got to our rental car, we’d rather have him in something he was at least familiar with to ease his struggles and our ear drums. Judge us and our decision if you want, but keep in mind you’re the one reading this for advice. BOOM.

We bought bags to put the car seat and the stroller in to protect them as much as possible and it was really convenient not trying to drag both of those large items to the gate. We took the stroller completely apart and we were able to strap both of these items onto our rolling luggage. It wasn’t easy to carry it all from the parking garage to the check in area, but we managed.

What we kept with us: Without our Kinderpack, we may have lost our minds. Since Amelia was wearing the baby in the pack, she didn’t have to take him off. They got manually patted down, but it was a lot quicker than trying to untangle a kid from a stroller and then put him back in before you head to the gate. Plus, it gave Amelia both of her hands to do other things that needed to be done. Baby carriers are magical and they make traveling a million times easier. Kinderpacks are our favorite (I will gladly tell you all about them!), but there are obviously other options. Not as cute, but whatevs. And also investing in one of the best traveling pillows is also amazing and helps make the trip smoother.

In our Diaper Dude, (it’s not just for dads, but I’ll save my gender in parenting speech for another time) we had a brand new Doc McStuffins toy he hadn’t seen yet, his favorite rattle ball and three more small quiet toys. We had zip lock bags full of freeze-dried yogurt drops and weird puff-type cereal for babies. We were also stocked up on baby Tylenol, teething oil that smells like clove cigarettes, homeopathic teething tablets and his trusty amber necklace. (We do our research. We’re good.) We also had half a dozen pacifiers. And best of all, we had the opportunity for him to nurse.

Our results: We got to Orlando without anyone punching our baby and that was our real goal! It was just over a three hour flight and it actually went pretty well. He nursed during take off and landing to prevent his ears from doing anything that would bug him. We popped a pacifier in his mouth whenever we could convince him to take one just to again avoid that ear stuff. We gave him snacks. We looked at toys. We looked at pictures of Mickey Mouse that I had on my iPad. It went in sort of a nurse, sleep, distract, distract, feed, distract, stand him up and let him look around the plane and repeat pattern. He even got his first set of wings from the flight attendant.

In summary: Your baby isn’t going to be perfect. Hell, your husband/aunt/uncle/full grown travel companion isn’t going to be perfect. People that are going to get pissed off at a baby are the same people that are just looking for a reason to be pissed off. Child-hating travelers are ridiculous and almost stupid if they think they’re never going to run into an upset child on a flight. I know it’s inconvenient to have to listen to someone yammer away for an entire flight, but if it’s not a little kid, it’s going to be that nutty lady that has to talk about every single person that’s on the family tree or every gastrointestinal issue her dog had three weeks ago.

And really, your baby is going to feed off your anxiety and stress, so figure out a way for you to handle yours. The baby will follow. Don’t plan on reading the entertainment magazine you bought in the airport. If you did buy a magazine, it now belongs to your baby. The strategy here is distracting that kid – food, boobs, toys, movies, pictures, more boobs, you name it.

Ultimately, you know your kid best. If he’s going to scream bloody murder and throw his feces across the cabin of the plane, maybe don’t go on vacation. Save your money, because both of you are going to need therapy one of these days.

Read the full BrainPowerStore.com Fish Oil review here!

i don’t even know what happened over the last two months

Oh wait. I do. And it’s a lot.

  • We toured The Mother Baby Center just to see what it was like and we were greatly pleased. Free Wifi, Pizza Luce delivers, there’s an underground walkway to McDonald’s – what’s not to love about that?
  • The baby growing process moved into Trimester #3.
  • We celebrated that by taking a trip to New York with Jenni, Matt and Jumi, and we did A LOT OF THINGS.
  • Went to a couple of job fairs.
  • Had an awesome baby shower thrown by Shawn and Jenni.
  • Went to a few Lynx games and got sad when they didn’t beat Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals.
  • Ash, Jenny and I participated in Habitat for Humanity in North Minneapolis and helped some folks five minutes from our house build their home. It was amazing.
  • Went to the Minnesota State Fair with my wife while my kid went to see Paramore and Fall Out Boy
  • Went camping for a night with Matt and Jenni down in Albert Lea.
  • Volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. So humbling and yet so rewarding.
  • Went to go see Book of Mormon at the Orpheum! I laughed until I hurt and I don’t even care how inappropriate that might have been.
  • I ran a 5K! Well, I ran a good chunk of it anyway and I felt really good about it. It was the HOM Teal Strides for Ovarian Cancer, in memory and honor of our friend Kristin. I want to run another one soon!
  • We started and completed our childbirth classes! And truly, I’m so glad we did it. I feel much better now.
  • We had a 32 week ultrasound for the baby and he was measuring at 37 weeks, so he’s gonna be a big one. Save your money and don’t buy newborn clothes for Chunk, okay?
  • We got amazing gifts in the mail from our friends – Chele and Marshall sent us the most adorable Pack and Play and Robin sent us an absolutely beautiful stroller that we’re excited to use.
  • Ash took the ACT and got his score back already. His score will get him into any school he’s interested in regardless of his GPA, but we’re not telling him about that last part. He was so proud of himself and that made me happier than anything.
  • Amelia and I participated in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise awareness for suicide. It was heartbreaking.
  • We test drove a ton of cars and ended up buying the very first one we test drove. We’re super happy with it and it’s so nice to be a two car household now.
  • We met with a couple of doulas and decided to hire one. The idea of someone else being able to deal with the stressful things while I do everything I can to make sure my wife has as much support as she needs is worth its weight in gold.
  • Ash and I paddled 14.6 miles down the Mississippi River during the Mightyssippi Adventure. I took many ibuprofen. It was really awesome and a lot slower than I expected actually!
  • And, you know, work, school, baby prep, etc.

The last two nights, I’ve gone home and done absolutely nothing, because that’s all I’ve had the energy to do. I’m hoping when I get home tonight, I’ll be feeling a little more motivated to hang some shelves or fold some baby clothes or something. There are things that need to be done and I’m just struggling. I’m stressed up to the very top of my skull in multiple things right now and I’m kind of disappointed in the way I’ve been handling it. I don’t expect to be a pro or anything, but there’s only so much Sims Freeplay I play before I start wearing sweatpants to work.

the last year has seriously flown

My desk on the last day at my last job.

Exactly one year ago today, I was at the Imperial Room with co-workers from my previous job, and I was in the process of getting absolutely obliterated on drinks that I couldn’t keep track of at all. Later, I would puke on the back porch. My wife would probably tell you more about that if you wanted the details. The hardest part for me was leaving some of my co-workers (the non-homophobic ones) and the CEO, who was an enormous catalyst in my professional growth over those five years. The easiest part for me was everything else. I won’t go into detail, but I’m sure you can read them in my future memoir and it will likely take up 43 chapters with very few pictures.

And since then… man. You know how they say you shouldn’t do ALL OF THE LIFE CHANGES at once? Well, screw that. In the past 365 days, we’ve done some things.

  • I started a new very awesome job.
  • We celebrated Minnesota legalizing gay marriage.
  • We went camping.
  • I started going back to school.
  • We went to Vegas.
  • We got married.
  • We saw Macklemore.
  • We went camping again.
  • I went to Missouri in October.
  • We went to Missouri for Christmas.
  • Amelia started going back to school.
  • We went up north for a cabin weekend.
  • The Kid switched schools.
  • We got pregnant.

I don’t necessarily know that the next year will slow down with things on the agenda like going to Montana, graduating with my AA in Liberal Arts, going to New York, buying a new car, starting my Bachelor’s program, and having a baby all on the agenda for the next six or seven months.

When I put it all into perspective, I can’t wait to come back and look at this post again in 365 days when we’ll have an almost six month old and a 17 year old a month away from graduating high school.

This is probably a gimme, but I’m pretty happy with this life of mine right now.