Baby. ...WHO FORGOT TO PACK THE BABY?!
So obviously that scenario hasn't happened (or else I'd be in jail for child neglect!), but the addition of a little one to a traveling family makes the packing list and to-do list grow exponentially.
Before Baby Gypsy was born, I had no real comprehension of just how big an impact one tiny person can have, particularly on outings. Forget the overnight stays, preparing for a trip to the grocery store can often feel like outlining a battle plan!
Nevertheless, traveling with a baby is certainly very different than traveling as a couple, and I have a few humorous insights for those of my readers who aren't card carrying members of the baby club.*
|If you pull out a microscope, you can see the top of Dixie's head.|
Gone are the days when I could throw everything into a carry-on and travel the world. Ok, ok, so I've never actually traveled the world in one trip. And I only used a carry-on when the trip was less than a week... but you know what I mean! Our first overnight trip with Baby Gypsy to Jamestown and Yorktown (in the same stinkin' state!) resulted in a game of impromptu Tetris as we tried to finagle all our gear into one small Ford Focus. Dixie was relegated to a tiny 6 x 12 space behind the driver's seat on a weekend trip to the Northern Neck last month. And I mean 6 x 12 inches! Poor thing barely had room to breathe.
Each subsequent trip results in slightly less gear, but I have a feeling that I'll still end up over-packing for baby and under-packing for myself when we go to Germany later this summer!
GoogleMap Drive Time Estimates Can Kiss My Diaper-Swaddled Behind
Two hour drive to the Northern Neck? Make that three. Ten hour drive to New York? Yeah, we'll see you in time for Christmas. Babies get hungry often. And when babies get hungry, babies scream. And if babies scream, parents will do anything in their power to just make it stop!
I used to pride myself on my punctuality. Now I consider it a success to show up within an hour of my intended start time and bonus points if my socks actually match. If GoogleMaps wanted to irrevocably ingratiate themselves with parents worldwide, they'd add a feature showing drive time with an infant or kids. And it'd be even better if they could automatically recommend stopping points along the way. Bonus points if it's near a liquor store so mom and dad can get their double shots of scotch before hitting the highway again (I kid, I kid... don't drink and drive!).
In other words, getting to your destination can take quite a bit longer with a little one in tow!
|I'm officially a bag & stroller lady. #SoFab|
Before Baby Gypsy, I was all about the handbags. Classic, cute, but functional was my bag of choice. Post Baby Gypsy, I'm not so much a handbag lady as I am just a straight up Bag Lady. You know the kind - cross body bag slung under the diaper bag over one shoulder with the Nikon DSLR camera bag over the other (had to upgrade the photography gear to capture every drool-dripping smile for posterity!), baby carrier hanging from one arm and pulling the suitcase with the other because HEAVEN HELP US IF I HAVE TO TAKE MORE THAN ONE TRIP FROM THE CAR TO THE HOTEL!
Cuteness is no longer factored into my purchasing criteria when shopping for a new bag. If it's stain-resistant, spit-up repelling, has a zillion super-functional pockets, separators, sorters, and features a built-in diaper changing caddy and deluxe bottle warmer holster, just take all my money right now and give me two of them.
Baby Soothing Should Be an Olympic Sport
I spent the entirety of our thirty minute tour of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by the way) bouncing, swaying, and humming Baby Gypsy into distraction. I vaguely remember a few snippets of our tour guide's informative spiel, but primarily remember all the moments I spent keeping baby girl's hands off the historic eighteenth century pieces of furniture and original walls to avoid any disapproving looks and wondering what in the world I'd do if she were to spit-up all over the original green canvas flooring. Probably melt into a puddle of embarrassment.
|Slow travel is better than no travel, right?!|
Once upon a time, I saw many of London's big highlights in just 48 hours. I did the same thing in Paris only last year. The very idea of trying to do the same thing with an infant now is just laughable. In a world where nursing mothers have an impossible time trying to find privacy to feed their child, I have to factor in extra time to trek to and from the car every two hours or seek out an inconspicuous corner of a tourist attraction or stand miserably in a bathroom stall trying not to think about how many germs are floating around while my baby is eating - on top of the actual time it takes to actually tour the attraction. If I can manage seeing one major attraction or two minor ones in a day, then I've won the #TravelWithBaby lottery.
But you know what? In spite of all these adjustments, I wouldn't change my life for the world. Baby Gypsy makes our travel moments all the more sweet.
And to all you other mamas and papas traveling with babies, I'd pour you a shot of rum, but I just finished the bottle. Cheers, my friend!
*Please note that the tone of this post has been inflated for sarcasm's sake because it's a way more humorous read that way. I hope I've not scared you off from having kids because it's seriously THE BEST thing that has ever happened to me. Ever. In fact I plan to