|pic from Michelle's Murals|
A trip with a 13-month-old is always daunting. Let's be real, when she's a preschooler, I'll depend on Nemo to get me through a trip. Baby A's record attention span for a movie is 12 minutes, and I'm glad she's not a TV junkie, except on the rare occasion I'm wrangling her fierce independence into three square feet for 2.5 hours. So on a trip with my boddler (baby toddler) I have 3 strategies for keeping calm:
1. List. Obviously, I love lists. I'm old-fashioned, and despite efficiency of planning electronically, I go back to a pad and pen every time. For this trip, I made a list of everything that needed to be packed. The items were listed under Suitcase, Carry-on, Essentials Bag, and Laptop Bag. Similar items for different family members were indicated with initials. Check-boxes reflected the number of items, so since I needed to pack four pairs of socks, I put four little boxes next to A socks. I waited until the last minute to check everything off the list, since Baby A "helped" by unpacking some things.
2. Envision success. This isn't just a travel strategy, obviously, but a world view. When I was on swim team in high school, we prepared mentally for meets by laying down with our eyes closed, imagining our perfect form in a heat, pulling ourselves into first place. I never won a heat, but at least I wasn't jittery going in to the meet. I put it to work envisioning a calm and happy family plane ride, and this time, my expectations were exceeded!
3. Keep an Essentials Bag handy. I like to be prepared for HALT, (like Megan talked about on Simple Mom): being prepared for triggers when a child (ahem, parents) feel Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.We ended up boarding last, and our carry-on was several rows up on a turbulent (seat belt sign: on) flight, so I was extra glad that I had a small tote bag at my feet that kept me covered.
H- Gerber vanilla toddler drink, sippy cup Market Pantry Chickadees crackers
A- 2 pacifiers and a pacifier strap, Little People DVD (so, distractions)
L- OK, so being trapped on the laps of her parents would not be lonely, but to combat boredom: 2 cloth books to manipulate, Little Dog (special toy)
T- favorite blanket, and a leash "backpack" to double as a pillow
Baby A had a meltdown on the drive to the airport (tired), but spent the plane ride cuddling (which she hardly ever has the patience for), sleeping, and snacking. I even got in some long-awaited novel reading time with my not-so-little baby snoozing peacefully in my lap.
[I love this and this for 3-8-year-old kids, and these people are definite pros at toddler travel, and I've talked about baby travel before.]
What's in your bag of tricks on a trip?