Have kid, will travel

October 31st, 2007

When Annalie was ten months old, we flew from Phoenix to Maryland on a house-hunting trip. As we were disembarking one of the planes, waiting for the guy in front of us to get his carry-on down from the overhead bin so we could continue on our way, a grandmotherly lady sitting next to the aisle commented on how cute and well-behaved our daughter was. We thanked her, and she asked, “Was this her first plane trip?” Well, no, it was actually our not-yet-one-year-old’s 12th time on a plane.

Annalie the seasoned traveler

Pretty much from the day Annalie was born, our philosophy was: babies are portable! Accordingly, we took her with us everywhere we went, and we went a lot. Annalie’s first road trip was from Phoenix to Las Vegas (to visit assorted relatives) when she was seven weeks old. Her first time on an airplane was when she was three months old. Those trips were the first of many.

Looking down from the sky

Partly because we’ve always traveled so much and partly just because of her personality, Annalie is a good traveler. She knows the drill in airports and on airplanes, and while she does get antsy after she’s been strapped in for a couple of hours, it hardly ever leads to tantrums. We’ve worked hard to make sure she knows the etiquette–not kicking the back of the seat in front of you, for example–and it’s not exactly relaxing to fly with a young child, but it certainly is fun. Like anything in life, going on an airplane with a little kid is to experience the wonder again for the first time. Look at the tiny houses down there! Wow, we’re above the clouds! Hey, apple juice from a can! We’re going down so fast! Wheeee!

Deja Blue water in a can

Staying in hotels or at other people’s houses is a bit trickier. Schedules are always off when you travel, sleeping arrangements are different, and then there’s all the ice cream that Grampaw is always handing out, turning an overstimulated child into a sugared-up one. We’ve always tried to see those situations as opportunities to practice being flexible; also, opportunities to let the grandparents have some quality time with Annalie while we go see a movie. In any case, a sense of humor and the realization that the situation is temporary are essential. As much as travel tends to frazzle us, the adults, imagine how much more disorienting it is when you’re only three feet tall and have not left home and gone back a hundred times before. We see each trip as a learning experience, for Annalie and for us. We’re all getting better at traveling as a family each time we go. Practice makes perfect, but we don’t expect perfection yet, if ever.

Following Daddy at BWI

This weekend, Annalie and I are headed to California to visit some of my aunts and uncles and cousins. My mom is also there right now, so we get a bonus visit with Gramaw. We even plan on going to the beach and hanging out with some friends while we’re there. We’re sad that Troy won’t be able to come with us, but he is hoping to get some home-improvement projects done while we’re away. (Strangely, he can always work more efficiently when we’re gone. I am sure he is channeling his grief and loneliness into the work.) Annalie and I are flying back to Omaha with my mom mid-month, and Troy will be joining us the weekend before Thanksgiving, because my Gramma B is turning 90 and there’s a big get-together. Then the weekend after Thanksgiving, Annalie and I are both in the wedding party for our friends Rachel & Jeff.

It’s gonna be a busy month.

11 Responses to “Have kid, will travel”

  1. Carrie says:

    She is so adorable! If we want to see either of our families, we have to take to the air as well so my son is a well seasoned traveler. You can either laugh or cry, so I usually try to laugh about it (until our flights are cancelled, then delayed, then delayed again, then the boy has diarehea on the plane and there is no changing table, then he pukes all over me. That’s when I cry). The funny thing is, it is actually easier for us to fly from Dulles to Copenhagen than from Dulles to my family in Oregon.

  2. Shawna says:

    Not having children while all of my friends and neighbors do, I’ve been in a position to see (and be critical of!) both extremes–parents who coddle their children to the point that they can’t interact with those around them, and parents who let their children run wild with no limitations. It seems like you tackled traveling “just right”–not coddling, but not a free-for-all. It will probably pay off big time later on!

  3. SAJ says:

    I’ll have to get some traveling-with-toddler tips from you for our Hawaii trip. I’m so scared!

    On another note, yippeeeeee! You’re coming to visit!

  4. citystreams says:

    What a busy month for y’all! Hope you have tons of fun :o) It sounds like you’re going to make lots of special memories. Don’t forget the camera :o) We want to see the pictures!

  5. Michelle Baxter says:

    Oh my gosh, Bethany! The 10 month old picture of her is PRECIOUS!!!!! She looks like one of those babies on the cover of “Parents” magazine :o) And I love the photo of her little hand silhouetted against the plane’s window. Have a great time on your trip(s) this month!!

    Michelle

  6. Jennie says:

    Oh you should write a book!

    And truly, this is inspirational. Mike and I are HUGE travelers. We love it. We can’t stay put for very long and we also have family sprinkled all over the country (and in Canada). I don’t want to stop traveling when we have a kid, but I sort of assumed we would have to. You’ve given us hope as we’re talking about adding a kid to the mix soon enough. So, thanks.

  7. Counting the days. It’s like Christmas in November!!

  8. Angella says:

    Oh! Have FUN!! I’m envious that you get to meet SAJ and CC :)

  9. OMSH says:

    I had Kenny on a plane with me at 8 weeks. I sat next to what I can best describe was a VERY WORRIED GENTLEMAN. I nursed Kenny upon departure and landing (discreetly as possible, because I really was trying to be kind to this man who was nestled in rather close beside me).

    Kenny was a dream.
    When we got off the plane he told me, “That nursing stuff – it really does work.”

    Bwahaha!
    Yea, I guess so.

    Oh, I’ll miss you – I know you’ll be offline a lot this month. Travel safely. Give SAJ and the Champ Chaotic crew a hug from me!

  10. kerrianne says:

    I know it totally doesn’t matter what I think, being a random stranger and a new reader and all, but I think Annalie is a beautiful name.

    : )

  11. [...] people with small children, Troy and I do travel a lot. I’ve written before about how Annalie was a veteran of multiple plane and car trips before her first birthday, and if you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few weeks, you’ve read about one [...]