Esmé goes to Baltimore

A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to go on another ‘kind-of’ vacation, this time to Baltimore. While it was a stressful, whirlwind of a trip for my husband, who had to work, Esmé had herself a grand time. She managed to pack quite a lot of activity into just two short days, so let’s hear what she had to say about her jaunt to the waterfront in Baltimore:IMG_2739First of all thanks for taking the time to speak with us again. We all know how busy your schedule is these days, so we were delighted that you had some time to sit down with us again. Oh sure! So long as it doesn’t interfere with my breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack times, I don’t really mind.

Our readers are curious to know if your mommy and daddy just got lucky with your first flight going so smoothly. How was it going through the airport and being on a plane for the second time? Did you have a hard time because it delayed your bedtime by a few hours? You know, I said it last time and I’ll say it again. Going on those giant loud things with all the people is a blast! This time around I walked all around the airport and pterodactyled as many people as possible while waiting for our plane. It was a short plane ride, so I didn’t get to talk to as many people as I would have liked. I did love looking out the window this time around. I waved at all the take-off and landing crew, I licked the window, I watched the clouds, I looked at the lights, and licked the window again. I think that was my favorite part, licking the window.

So you’re saying that you didn’t even notice you were up way past your bedtime? Not on the plane, no. Once we were in the taxi and it was all dark and quiet, I think I started to get a little sleepy. But there were so many tall buildings with so many pretty lights that I stayed awake the whole time. I didn’t want to miss a thing!  Once we got to the hotel and it was time to go to sleep in the torture-chamber, I let my parents (and all guests staying on the 12th floor) have it, and threw a proper fit.

I’m sorry, I’m confused. Torture-chamber? Are you referring to your pack’n’play by chance? It is NOT a pack’n’play. There’s nothing playful about that thing, so I don’t know why they call it that. It is the torture-chamber.

Oh dear. So sorry to hear that. Yeah, well I just try to make my parents lives as miserable as I can by screaming bloody murder until I fall asleep in hopes that they won’t make me use it again. But so far, my strategy hasn’t been working.

Let’s talk about some of the funner aspects of your trip. We heard that you got to go to your first baseball game! What did you think of that? That was a lot of fun! I’ve never seen so many people in one place before. There was lots of noise, and clapping. I liked the clapping part. I clapped whenever I heard people clapping. Mommy told me that I was clapping for the wrong team, but I didn’t care. Clapping is the best, so I did it as much as I could.IMG_2737That sounds absolutely thrilling. Did you get to do anything else fun while you were there? Mommy took me to this huge building that had lots of different fishes. IMG_2646Oh I bet you loved that. It was OK. I really liked getting to see all the different fishes, like big ones, and little ones, and strange circle ones…but it wasn’t my favorite.IMG_2736

IMG_2649Really? All those beautiful, colorful fish swimming around and it wasn’t your favorite activity? Well I liked them, it just wasn’t my favorite.IMG_2738

What was your favorite then? Whole Foods, and the lobby of the Marriott Waterfront.

Um, I’m confused. Was there a playground at these places or something? Nope. They just happened to have the best acoustics for my pterodactyling skills. 

Aha! Now I understand. We have heard that you enjoy shrieking or pterodactyling, as you call it, a great deal. Do I ever! Let me tell you… I had such an amazing pterodactyl at Whole Foods I actually managed to scare a boy 4 years older than me, AND my Daddy heard me outside the store. I was doing such a spectacular job of pterodactyling in our hotel lobby, that I made all of Daddy’s coworkers question their inviting us to the baseball game in the first place! Hands down, the best part of my vacation.

It certainly sounds like you really made the most of your time there. Tell us, now that you have two plane trips under your belt, are you itching to go exploring again? You know, I do love airports and airplanes and new places, but I am happiest when I’m home with my kitty and my bed.

So no future plans for travel? There actually may be a little more travel in the near future…something to put me in an empire state of mind.

Well we can’t wait to hear all about it if you do!

 

**I just wanted to make a note: we were in Baltimore before all the riots and the protests began. It has been heartbreaking to watch the recent events unfold in such a wonderful city. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Baltimore.

Traveling With An Infant

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When you have a baby for the first time, the most basic tasks become monumental feats of courage and willpower. Things like grocery shopping, eating out at restaurants, and doctor’s visits can induce such crippling anxiety that you’ll convince yourself you actually don’t need to go out at all. You’ll pack your things together and decide you’d much rather stay inside with the baby. When your first plane ride is a 6 hour cross-country trip? Stress levels go through the roof.

We knew that it was going to be schlep to travel with a baby, so we adopted the strategy: expect the worst, and be pleasantly surprised when it’s only moderately catastrophic. I think it worked! As it turns out the things that we were most afraid of (being trapped with baby on six hour plane rides) ended up being much better than we thought. The things that we had a hard time with were things that we already knew she hated…being stuck in her car seat and napping/sleeping anywhere but her crib.

It definitely wasn’t easy. Being away from home for 9 days meant hauling quite a lot of stuff with, as you can see above. But we discovered, as with everything else you do with baby, it isn’t as bad as you think it will be. Here’s what we learned during our trip to California:

1. Bring a Baby Carrier– You may tell yourself before your trip, ‘well, my baby is almost a year now, and since they outgrew their baby bjorn, do I really need to buy another carrier that will fit them? I mean how much longer are they going to be in it anyway?’ (*cough**cough* husband) YES. For the love of everything buy a new carrier!! If you don’t feel like spending all that money for a new one, buy one from Craigslist, or borrow one from a friend if you can. I can not stress how important this one is. I asked my husband no less than two times a day on our trip, why oh why did we not buy a new carrier? Do it!

2. Stroller = Diaper Bag holder– We thought we were clever and got a really good umbrella stroller from Craigslist for $30. It is super light. It is easy to open and close with one hand. It is very easy to maneuver through crowded areas. Our daughter refused to sit in it. Because of this I pushed around our diaper bag in the stroller, while holding my child with one hand for the entirety of our trip. Please, please, please, see #1.

3. Bathroom = Hot Spot– The bathroom is where it’s at folks. Nap time for Esmé meant lights out, curtains closed. Consequently Mommy was left to read books on the ipad, in a pitch black hotel room, without making a peep, or, relax on a cold, hard bathroom floor, where you can at least make a little noise, and have lights on. My husband and I also enjoyed an excellent meal or two seated on the toilet and the edge of the bathtub, after we put her to bed. Good times.

4. Pack lightly– This is something that I knew about, but I still packed every cute outfit that she owns. I was also afraid that she wouldn’t have enough to entertain her on the plane, so I brought many toys, books, and teethers. She didn’t touch a single book, toy, or teether on the plane. Family and friends that we visited with were extremely generous, and gave us more clothes, books, and toys. Let’s just say packing for the return trip was a little tricky.

You’ll probably need only a couple extra outfits if your baby likes to spit-up/drool as much as mine, and maybe two toys for the plane, but that’s it. One thing that did seem to comfort Esmé was having a pacifier. She really isn’t a big fan of them, but I happened to have one in her bag, so I gave it to her when she got a little fussy and she loved it. If your baby has a comfort item, I would definitely have it on hand in a bag that you can get to easily.

5. Breast Feeding– If you’re breast feeding, take your cover with you wherever you go, even if you are braver than me, and don’t actually use a cover when you feed. I used ours as a blanket, a spit-up cloth, napkin, a cover so that she could sleep on the plane, and also to shade her from the sun. Seriously so helpful to have on hand. If you use bottles, take a light blanket and you can do the same thing.

6. Solid Food– Squeeze pouches of food, a silicone, or wipeable bib, and happy puffs are key if you have a baby who is eating solids. I generally make Esmé’s food at home, so I was amazed at how much more convenient those little squeeze pouches are. Initially they were kind of a distraction and she wouldn’t eat because she wanted to play with the pouch. So I just squeezed all the contents out into one of her bowls and fed her with a spoon. Happy puffs, or other snacky baby foods are not only helpful if your little one is hungry, but they also serve as entertainment for baby. This way mommy and daddy can quickly inhale their dinner while baby is crunching away.

7. Stroller = High Chair– I know I already said that the stroller serves to push the diaper bag around for #2, but the one time my child didn’t mind being in the stroller was when she was facing me. So I strapped her in and used it as a high chair. Huge help! Not every place you go to has high chairs, and we certainly didn’t have one in our hotel room, so breakfast was served, every morning, in her stroller.

8. Activities–  Tune in to what your baby likes to do. I don’t know about you, but before we go on a trip somewhere, I like to yelp everything that is nearby, and make a list of all the places I want to see. Generally there are a lot of dessert places on that list, but that’s neither here nor there. I spent a couple days dragging her around, pushing the diaper bag around in the stroller, trying to shop with one hand, until I finally gave up.

She loved the playground that was at this shopping center 5 minutes away from our hotel. She just enjoyed being outside, watching all the kids around her, eating the playground equipment, and being with me…so why stress her and me out trying to get her to ‘enjoy’ other things? As soon as I let go of my list, and started doing things we both could enjoy, things went a lot more smoothly, and she was a much happier camper. At least until I took her away from the playground.

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