Category Archives: Travel

Travel

Daily Mom Humor – Family Vacations and Your iPad

 

someecards.com - Being on vacation with my family has brought me so much closer to my iPad.

 

I’m not going to lie – I can relate to this:
 
 
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Brought My Toddler to a Baby Shower – Never Again

I Can’t Bring You Anywhere
 – Toddlerhood – 


I now understand what people mean by the “terrible twos” after I brought my young toddler to a friend’s baby shower today.  I was humbled as a parent today, and as I type this post, I have had to re-edit and repeatedly click the “backspace” button to delete many of the profanities that have naturally left my fingertips  so as not to offend you (I deleted the entire first paragraph).  My personal advice at this moment in time: do not bring a young toddler to an event, such as a baby shower, that is located in a non-baby-proofed, expensive home.

If I would have had a spare second to capture a picture for you of what today looked like for me, in a nut-shell, it would look like this:

Let me start by saying that my memory of the newborn phase of parenthood (as a first-time mom) is precisely what creeps into my brain each day and reminds me to take my birth control pill.  I do not miss my breast pump, and waking up every two hours for month-long periods is way too close to being an effective form of torture for me to be able to enjoy.  Yet, today was a day that, do I dare say, made me look back at the newborn phase with a new-found appreciation for its simplicity.  

I am knee-deep in this foreign phase of toddlerhood, and today I realized that I know next to nothing about how to discipline or deal with toddler temper tantrums, which led me to realize that I don’t have a clue as to how to effectively deal with the behavior of young children at all.  I’ve never been the “parent-like” type of babysitter (I was always the “fun” babysitter that acted like a kid too – I enjoy playing on the swing-set watching cartoons, and coloring books). 

The baby shower was located in the home of a very wealthy individual – filled with lovely furnishings and a beach cozied up to Lake Michigan in their backyard.  Guess what else was inside of this lovely home?  Low bookshelves filled with expensive books and breakable objects, a real stone floor (which promises to crack open the head  of any toddler that trips  over their two “left feet”), un-gated stairs that separated many of the rooms, open wall outlets…the list goes on.  It is  a home that seems straight of out the MTV show “Cribs” (at  least for this medium-sized city that we live in).  It is a home that my toddler would destroy within seconds (or vice versa) if I even so much took the time to blow my nose.

I swear to you that my child is actually the sweetest, happiest little nugget I’ve ever seen, but my experience and perspective is limited only to homes that are baby-proofed and homes in which she is free to run around without me needing to become a complete “helicopter parent.”  I let her walk around at the baby shower (trying not to be that annoying mom that everyone realizes should have found a babysitter instead of bringing her toddler to a baby shower).  But when it came time for the mom-to-be to open up her presents from her family and friends, I needed to pick up my daughter and set her on my lap during the process, but I was met with the worst tantrum(s) from my young toddler (16-months) that I have seen (my little girl loves exploring).

  • Guess who didn’t want to sit down and watch the mom-to-be open her gifts?  My toddler.  
  • Guess who thought every present was for her and ran to grab the unopened gift bags?  My toddler.  
  • Guess who screamed in such a way that you have thought she was being water-boarded when I picked her up?  My toddler.  

The scariest part is that I know this is not yet the worst to come of tantrums.  I don’t have a clue as to what is normal at this phase.  It feels too young for discipline.  The main problem is that I don’t have a clue as to how to approach this (aside from ignoring the tantrums per the advice of her pediatrician). 

I have realized that I need to pursue this next phase with the same diligence as I did with the newborn and infant phase – I need to read parenting books, conduct expensive research, and get a grasp on what kind of parent that I want to be to my toddler, and develop strategies for how I will make that happen.  It is time to reprogram my brain.

For starters, I have purchased the following books on my Kindle:

  • Love and Logic (Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six), by Jim Fay and Charles Fay Ph.D
  • The Girlfriend’s Guide to Toddlers (The Girlfriends’ Guide to Toddlers), by Vicki Iovine
  • What to Expect In the Second Year ( What to Expect the Second Year: From 12 to 24 Months (What to Expect (Workman Publishing), by Heidi Murkoff

           


I will post with an update on my progress in the next month or so.


Wish me luck.

Share you toddler parenting suggestions and/or favorite 
parenting books here by commenting on this post!


9 Tips for Airplane Travel With a 3-Year-Old


Here are nine tips that I have learned from traveling with my little Mia on airplanes over the years – this post is specifically about traveling with a 3-year-old.


1.   Layers.  Layers. Layers.  (Use layers for your child’s clothing).

Use layers for your child’s clothing to make sure they stay at a comfortable temperature. Airplanes have very unpredictable temperatures when on board – and trust me from experience that children are NOT happy when they are hot (I personally get very cranky when I am hot too). 


My advice: Put your child in a t-shirt, and bring a light jacket that they can wear over the t-shirt.  



2.  Use a scarf as a blanket.

A blanket is always good to bring, but one thing that I like to do in place of a blanket is to wear a scarf around my neck and then use the scarf for their blanket (to save space in the diaper bag).




3.  Surprise your child with a toy airplane.

If your child is afraid of airplanes or unfamiliar with airplanes, then going on the plane can become a lot more fun if you surprise them with them very own toy plane.  

TIP:  A lot of airports sell toy airplanes in the airport stores in the terminals.


Link:  Southwest Airlines Plush Toy Airplane with Sound 


4.  Do your “Ear Check” due diligence.

Ask your doctor what your options are to help relieve your child’s ear discomfort during the ascent and descent in the air.


5.  Consider using the Best Travel Potty ever…

The Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus Travel Potty has saved my sanity so many times while traveling with my potty-training toddler, and we still use it for traveling with our Preschooler.  It is amazing.  I never thought I’d be so passionate about a toilet seat in my life.  I would post pictures to show you how we use it, but that would be gross and my child would never forgive me.


6.  Bring Wet Wipes.

….because airplanes are dirty.


7.  Apps for Kids

Download age-appropriate apps for your child on your cell phone.  My daughter’s two favorite apps are “Make it Pop” and “Peek-a-Boo Zoo.”


8.  Find the “Family Restroom” at your airport.


Family restrooms are SO much better than the regular restrooms at airports – see the photo below for an example of the Family Restroom at LAX airport – this airport has child-sized toilets and child-sized sinks, which made me extremely happy. 



9. Look for pull-down step stools in airport bathrooms.

Some airports, including LAX, have stools that you can pull-down from right underneath the sink, which is fabulous for when your child needs to wash their hands (with this stool, you don’t have awkwardly lift your child up to the sink – it’s amazing).



Toddler Travel Preparation Paid Off

Solid preparation for the flight with my toddler paid off. This has been a successful holiday trip so far. We used the strategy of begging the front-desk lady at US Airways (see post  Strategies for Booking a Free Plane Seat for Your Baby or Young Toddler When Traveling).  And we made sure we packed all items on the post Toddler Travel & Airplanes: What to Bring On Flight For Young Toddlers.



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Strategies for Securing Your Baby a Seat On Airplane

If you can’t afford to purchase a separate airline seat for your baby for your upcoming fight, then consider the following strategies for obtaining an extra seat for your toddler or baby. 


Strategy 1 – The Best Approach (Preparation)
  • If both you and your spouse are traveling, try to book an aisle and a window seat that are in the same row, and make sure that the middle seat in between you is open when you’re booking. Other passengers who book their flights after you will usually not choose a middle seat and this can sometimes mean a free seat for your baby. If the middle seat ends up getting booked, most people will happily trade you for one of your aisle/window seats so that you and your spouse can sit together.
 
Strategy 2 – Last Shot (Desperation)

  • Beg the person at the check-in and ticket counters to be placed next to an empty seat.  Be sure to highlight how exhausted you are…give your best puppy eyes. If that person says no, ask someone else once that first person walks away. Don’t forget that you can beg both the check-in counter people and the people at the counter once you get to your gate. Ok, so, technically, you are not “booking” the seats, as my title states, but these strategies will help you get that seat without paying, and it’s worth a shot. Trust me. You want a seat for your toddler or baby when you’re flying.
Don’t forget that if your child is over 2-years-old, then you have to book him a seat – it’s the rules.  Children under 2-years-old can sit on your lap, but like I said, try to get a spare seat.  You will want the room.

Good luck!

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Flight From Hell – My Experience Flying With My 20-Month-Old Toddler


I have just returned from what was seriously a flight from Hell with my 20-month-old toddler daughter.  I wish I would have thought to bring headphones for my little one…(or a Xanax for me…just kidding…kinda) because holy sh**, it was so bad.  My little girl is usually such a happy little tot – I don’t understand what even happened to cause this crazy side of her to emerge.  I can’t help but wonder if her ears were hurting her because she turned into a crazy little devil thing.  This hasn’t happened since I brought my toddler to a baby shower (that was located in a VERY non-baby-proofed home). 

Do you remember, “Taz,” the crazy Tasmanian Devil cartoon character from Looney Tunes?  If so, I want you to try and imagine “Taz” as a feisty 2-year-old toddler.  Then, I want you to try to imagine what it would be like to fly with to fly with little toddler “Taz.”  I found a Tasmanian Devil Iron-On Patch (shown below) from Amazon.com that makes for a fairly accurate depiction of the “Taz” that emerged in my little tot on our 2 flights.  

My 20-Month-Old Toddler On Airplanes  =  Tasmanian Devil

For starters, my little toddler seriously threw her stuffed animal(s) at the poor, unsuspecting woman who was sitting next to us (my LO wasn’t actually intending to throw it at the woman but was merely throwing a tantrum and decided to throw her stuffed Abby Cadabby doll in a fit…which happened to fly and hit the woman who was sitting in the window seat sitting next to us; it was awful…oh yeah, and this happened twice).  


Why did this happen?  Because, apparently, I have NO CONTROL over my child!  I’ve never seen such behavior from my child.  Before kids, I would have judged the parents who had a child who behaved this way.  


I shi* you not – the flight attendant brought Mr. Mia his cup of ice water to drink (which was in one of those plane cups), and before he could even take a sip from it, my LO (who was sitting on his lap) swats her hand at the water cup really hard, causing the entire cup of water to spill ALL OVER THE CROTCH of her daddy….he seriously looked like he wet his pants (it’s really funny now…but it was seriously not funny at the time).

Oh yes – and our entire flight (flying out of Denver) was pretty turbulent  so the seat-belt sign was on the entire time.  So, of course, whose child decides to take the most stinky poo in history?  Yep.  That’s right – my toddler.  Oh, and yes – the seat belt sign was still on…and the turbulence continued to get worse…and the smell of the poop in my toddler’s diaper also continued to get worse.  THE WHOLE GOD D*MN PLANE SMELLED LIKE MY TODDLER’S POOP!  People were seriously staring at us, with a look of disgust and hatred on their faces.  Eventually, despite the turbulence, I made my peace with the situation and I pressed the “call” button for the flight attendant.  When the flight attendant came to our seat,  I told her that my LO had a poopy diaper and I asked her if I could please leave my seat (despite the turbulence) so that I could bring my LO to the bathroom for a diaper change.  The flight attendant’s response:  “OH MY GOD, YES!  THAT’S WHAT THAT SMELL IS?! YES, GO!”

I’m supposed to be flying next week with my toddler – BY MYSELF this time (we’re going to visit her daddy who is stationed for work in a different state right now).  FML.  How am I going to handle this by myself?  Seriously?

Advice needed.

At the very least, I have next year’s Halloween costume for my toddler:

Truth be Told:  The title of my post says: “Do not do  it! Save yourself” in regards to traveling with a 20-month-old, but the truth is that seeing family was worth every miserable second that we spent on with our toddler on the flight.  If you have an opportunity to see family that lives far away, take it.  It’s worth it.  Just learn from the mistakes that I made (i.e., stay tuned for an upcoming  post regarding “lessons learned” on traveling with a 20-month-old).   



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Top 21 Items To Pack When Traveling With Baby or Toddler On Airplane

Before you get on an airplane with your young toddler, take a look at this packing list of items to bring with you on the plane to make your flight with your toddler easier.


Packing List for Flight With Your Toddler:

  1. Gerber Graduates Grabbers Squeezable Pouches are super easy.  Make sure the individual pouches you buy are 4oz. or less otherwise you might have trouble with airport security (4 oz. maximum of liquid).  Some of the pouches are 4.23oz; some are 4 oz; some are less than 4 oz.  What I like about the pouches (no matter which brand you get) is that you don’t even need a spoon – your little one can just squeeze it in their mouth. Be sure to place to Quart-sized bag for security. 
  2. Puffs Cereal
  3. Cheerios
  4. A boiled egg for mealtime.
  5. Formula or Breast Milk (Bring Powder and buy bottle of water after security) or Milk
  6. Teething Rings
  7. Take N’ Toss Sippy Cups
  8. A small “surprise” toy that your baby has never seen.  Simple ideas are an empty brown lunch bag or a small empty makeup box.
  9. Stroller – you will want it and you can check it when you board the plane.
  10. iPad or SmartPhone with Toddler Entertainment Apps (Elmo App, Picture Show)
  11. Lovey or Stuffed Animal (e.g., Stuffed Elmo or Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse from Amazon.com)
  12. Wipes 
  13. Small Packet of Wet Wipes
  14. Diapers – I personally use the Pampers Extra Long Protection Diapers – these bad boys can soak up a ridiculous amount of pee and they are still extremely flexible for a young toddler who is on-the-go.
  15. Disposable Bags for dirty diapers (See Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacks from Amazon.com).
  16. Disposable Changing Pads (See Skip Hop Pronto Changer Diaper Bag)
  17. Medications and a Dosage Information Sheet (Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, Little Tummies Gas Drops, etc.).  If you have to administer medication multiple times, bring extra medication dispensers because it will be hard to wash them on the flight and nothing is worse than sticky, gooey medication dispensers.
  18. Spare Outfit for Baby (bring 2 on the plane)
  19. Spare Shirt for You
  20. Birth Certificate to prove your child is under age 2 (under 2 flies free)
  21. Scarf – can be used as a blanket for baby once on the plane.


Tip to Remember:  

  • Also, don’t forget to put outlet plugs and any other baby-proofing gear in your checked bag.  Your hotel or destination is probably not baby-proofed.

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Please share your baby travel tips!


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9 Tips for Flying on Airplane with Baby

If you’re traveling with your baby or young toddler soon, then consider the following tips that will help to make your airplane flight go smoothly: 

1.  Consider the weather at destination when packing. 

  • You may also want to consider the temperature where you will be staying.  Does Grandma like to keep the temperature ridiculously warm in her house?  Plan accordingly.

2.  Free up your hands by bringing a backpack for your carry-on (instead of a diaper bag. 

  • Also, consider purchasing a baby carrier, such as the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Air, as this will free up your hands as well.

3.   If you can, buy diapers, wipes and formula when you get to your destination.

  • BUT pack plenty for the plane and travel time – airports don’t sell diapers!

4.  Consult the airline if you want to take your car seat on board.

  • If your baby sleeps well in his car seat  it may a good idea to bring it on board with you if you’re traveling during nap or sleeping time.

5. Use the restrooms located in the front of the plane for diaper changes.  Trust me.

  • The restrooms in the back of the plane are loud (because of the airplane’s engines), and this can scare babies.
  • Remember:  Absorbent diapers are your best friend.  I recommend using overnight diapers with extra protection (Pampers Extra Protection is my favorite diaper for sizes 3 and up).

6.  If your child likes to throw toys on the floor, consider packing toys that won’t roll away on the airplane floor, like small stuffed animals or rubber rings.

  • Gerber Graduates Squeezable Pouches are super easy and mess-free…you don’t even need a spoon – you or baby can just squeeze it in their mouth. Be sure to place these pouches in a Quart-sized bag when you go through security.  Cereal Puffs and Cheerios also make excellent snacks.
  • Keep rotating out the toys and snacks while on the plane to keep baby stimulated.

7.  If and when crankiness occurs, walk your baby or young toddler around the plane.

  • Get on your plane-neighbor’s good side: if your child is crying or acting up, smile and say you’re sorry and that you’re doing the best you can.  They may help you.
  • Don’t forget that you are a strong, smart, mommy-ninja, and you can handle anything.

8.  Have the baby drink a bottle or liquid during take-off and landing to relieve ear pressure pain. 

  • I give my baby a little Tylenol before the flight in case the air pressure hurts her ears (ask your doctor first).
  • Use a pacifier if necessary – anything to get that “sucking” sensation going in their ear canal.

9.  Try to book your toddler or baby their own seat – you will want the space.  

Bonus Tip # 10: 

  • Remember:  Make use of your sense of humor! You’ll need it!


Please share your tips for traveling 
with a baby or toddler!

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Best Strategy for Flying With Your Baby or Toddler (Results in!)

Toddler Sleeping on Airplane

I’m happy that we stuck to our plan for our travel and flight with our 13-month-old toddler. Our strategy for ensuring that we got a spare seat for our toddler (coined the “Who Wants to Sit Next to Baby on the Plane?” Strategy) worked for one out of two of our flights this trip!  (50% Success Rate).  Historically, and overall, this strategy has worked for 4 out of 6 flights (67% Success Rate).  It’s easy, free and worth your time to try if you’re traveling with a baby/toddler under the Age of 2-years-old.

Recap: The “Who Wants to Sit Next to Baby on the Plane?” Strategy 


For the full-details on this strategy, you can view the article Strategies for Booking a Free Plane Seat for Your Baby or Young Toddler When Traveling.  Otherwise, I recommended reading a quick re-cap on the details of this strategy:

  • If both you and your spouse are traveling, try to book an aisle and a window seat that are in the same row, and make sure that the middle seat in between you is open when you’re booking.   Other passengers who book their flights after you will usually not choose a middle seat and this can sometimes mean a free seat for your baby.   
  • Best Case Scenario:  The person in the middle seat will decide that sitting next to a baby doesn’t sound so fun.  This person will switch seats to a different row – leaving the middle seat free for you and your toddler to sprawl out!  
  • Worst Case Scenario: If the middle seat ends up getting booked, most people will happily trade you for one of your aisle/window seats so that you and your spouse can sit together. 
  • See my article: Strategies for Booking a Free Plane Seat for Your Baby or Young Toddler When Traveling for more details.  (We chose Strategy Number 1 from the article).

THE RESULTS:  

Strategy Implementation of “Operation Free Baby Seat on Airplane”
Here is a breakdown of the results of the strategies implementation:

Flight Number 1 (Departure Flight): Failure.

  • Our departure flight was oversold, so our seats were rearranged – voiding this strategy (very disappointing).


Flight Number 2 (Return Flight): Success!

  • On our return flight, the “Who Wants to Sit Next to a Baby on a Plane?” strategy was a complete success – the man in the middle seat between us decided to switch to a different middle seat that was in a row behind us (who wants to sit next to a baby?).  This left the middle seat in our row free for us to sprawl out!  


The new name for this strategy: The “Who Wants to Sit Next to a Baby on a Plane?” Strategy. Success! 


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