Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Flying Solo with a 12-Month-Old

How does the saying go?  Do one thing every day that scares you?  It is amazing how accomplished you can feel after you doing something completely terrifying that you never thought you'd be capable of.

Liking taking a 3 hour flight, with a 12-month-old crawler, with a convertible car seat, without checking bags, all by yourself.

That's what I was faced with a when a planned family trip to South Florida to visit my parents at their timeshare, was upended with a last-minute work conflict for the hubs.  I was in desperate need of some beach therapy and L&B were so excited to see their grandson, but could I do it on my own?  A 15 minute drive to the grocery store is enough of a challenge, how was this going to work?

Well, I'm here to tell you it can be done, and I'm a better person for it.  Here's how I survived:

1.  No stroller

Pushing a stroller requires one, if not two hands and on this trip I was going to need every available appendage at my disposal.  Not only that, a stroller would've been just one more thing to gate check, and already towing a roller bag and car seat, it just wasn't in the cards.  Hands-free was the way for me, so baby carrier was Henry's mode of transport through the airport, namely this one.  Thank goodness for the Baby Trekker, it's uber comfortable and literally can be worn for hours (unlike some of its less-comfortable brethren).

What to do when your plane is delayed:  Take selfies!

Note, FAA regulations do not allow a baby to be worn during the fight, this thing came off as soon as we got to our seat.

2.  One carry-on bag

Since we'd be arriving after bedtime on the return trip, the last thing I needed was to wait another 30 minutes (or more) for baggage claim after the flight.  It was going to be one bag and a carry-on at that.

But wait, how do I make it through the airport by myself, carrying a baby, pulling a bag, and holding a car seat?  Even one of those expensive rolling car seats didn't seem like the right answer.

3.  Get a Travelling Toddler
{toddler not included}
Thank the travel gods for this contraption.  So simple, you'll wish you had thought of it, it's just a strap that lets you attach the car seat to your rolling bag and voila, instant travel carseat.  I'm waiting for this thing to show up on Shark Tank any day now (or maybe it already has?). I'm not so sure about putting your child to said car seat as that picture indicates, but hey I won't judge.  For me, though, wearing the baby was the way to go.

Important usage note, DO NOT TRY USING THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE AIRPORT.  Speaking from experience, y'all. It was kind of a disaster trying to figure it out curbside while the hubs was double parked in the zone for loading and unloading only.   Once it's properly adjusted, it's super easy to use, so just do a test run at home with a fully-packed bag first.

With these simple tricks, all of the sudden I was Supermom, wearing my baby, nonchalantly sipping my latte and taking selfies as I waited for the plane.  Some nice woman even came up to me and complimented me for how well I was handling it all.

Very kind of her to say, but what she didn't know was despite my calm demeanor and fancy travel contraptions, I was still scared to death how my little one was going to behave on the actual flight.  Thankfully, due to the kindness of strangers (i.e., no one wanted to sit next to us) we had plenty of room to stretch out and my boy was easily entertained by snacks, toys, and the airplane reading light.  All that plus a bottle for take off and landing, and we were good to go.

A scary selfie and the guy behind us questioning his decision to sit so close to a baby
Was it all worth it? Heck yeah, we got to spend a long weekend in Florida in early February with lots of family QT.  We were even in bathing suits one day for goodness sake.  Going solo: not ideal (we were missing the hubs big time) but totally doable and should not be a deal-breaker (ladies).

Waterfront dinner at sunset, I could get used to this  #FlaLiving

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