Since we are gearing up for a trip to the US at the end of may, this time with a 2 year-old and a 6 month-old, I thought I’d revisit this old post I wrote when I travelled alone with 9 month-old Isla.
Make sure your flight leaves at 2:00am. That way you’ll have to wake up your baby to leave for the airport at 11:00pm, ensuring that her sleep is interrupted and she is off to an exhausted start.
Don’t pack Benadryl, ZzzQuil or any other sleep inducing nectar of the gods for her. They are surely dangerous for so young a child to handle, and you wouldn’t want to jeopardize her health …or give her anything that might possibly help her to fall asleep at all during your journey.
Go by yourself. Insist on going on a solo trip with the baby. Tell yourself that you are a strong independent woman, that this will be an adventure and a challenge, and that you are looking forward to this opportunity to prove yourself. Who needs help? (You. You need help.)
Attach the baby’s pacifier to her clothing using a metal clip. That way, you’ll have to go through the detectors multiple times before you realize why you are both beeping, even after you’ve removed every last scrap of excess clothing and jewelry that is possible without actually walking through naked.
Don’t wear slip on shoes. Make sure to wear shoes that require a bit of elbow grease and a lot of tying and untying to take on and off. While you’re busy with knots, the baby can crawl around on the germ-ridden airport floor, chew on the shoes of the security guard, and bring down the stack of plastic customs containers onto her head.
Order special meals on your flight. Once your baby has finally fallen asleep, the flight attendant will find you and ask in a loud tone if you’re the one who ordered the gluten free meal, thereby waking your baby who will not sleep again for the remaining 14 hours of your trip. To top it off, the gluten free meal is basically made up of small separated portions of flavorless cardboard that no amount of salt and pepper can salvage.
Let your phone fall out of your pocket as you exit your first plane and head into your layover airport. Exit the plane and realize that your stroller is missing. Lug your baby and your carry-ons across the entire airport, and realize only upon arrival at your departure gate that your phone is gone. Consider leaving the baby and the bags behind the help counter and running back to retrieve your phone. Reconsider, and give up hope after much useless begging, pleading, and bribing of the customer service personnel.
Sit next to a professor who has to grade economics term papers for the entire eight hours of your second flight. Your daughter loves a good gnaw on a stack of papers, and she is not easily dissuaded when she is running on a sleep deficit.
Bring the baby into the plane bathroom with you, and place her on the baby-changing tray while you use the toilet. The tray is located above the toilet, so it’ll be fun to try to reach up and hold her in place so she won’t careen into the sink, grab the highly questionable waste from the trash, or fall into the toilet itself. Douse both yourself and the baby in hand sanitizer, which she will want to drink, and repeat the whole process every couple hours.
Breastfeed the baby to keep her calm and help ease the ear pressure at takeoff and landing. She will be distracted by everything around her, and subsequently leave you exposed and subject to disapproving glances every five minutes.
Walk up and down the aisles for the last four hours of the trip while she cries. That way, you’ll allow all the passengers aboard to partake in her unhappiness.
Upon arrival to the United States, make sure you have a suspicious story to tell the border control officers. Your exhaustion will help you look particularly guilty and sweaty as you talk. Yes, you are travelling by yourself from Lebanon. No, your husband is not with you because he is in Turkey. (This sounds mild as I write it now, but believe me I spiraled myself downward the more I spoke as I tried to explain my circumstances while under intense interrogation, and without having slept for 30+ hours.)
Do it all over again on the way home. Practice makes perfect, and soon you’ll be electing to travel alone with your offspring all the time! LOL. Tell your husband that although you both miss him, you will just have to stay put in the United States until your daughter is five years old and/or volunteers to take a separate flight home.