A few months ago, when Daryl suggested that we take a family vacation to Utah, I was a little nervous. We had planned family trips before, but for various reasons had to put them off until later. To be honest, I was extremely nervous to be traveling with a child. I love to travel, and this is the longest stretch of time that I have gone without going anywhere beyond a day trip. I wasn't nervous about the inconveniences of having a baby on the plane, or even that Jonah would be upset on the plane. He is a very easy going baby. I was scared because traveling has become so routine in my life, and having a baby would change that. For the first time, I would have to check bags; there would be differences in security which was something that, pre-baby, I had down as a flawless routine.
This was adding an element of the unknown into something that is very well known to me. Even after calling the airlines for answers about what to expect, there was still confusion.
Then there were planning details that were not relevant to the flight. What will Jonah need? How many outfits should I pack? What if he has one of his messy days, where he either spits up on, poops or pees on, or smears mashed carrots all over every outfit I put on him? What about food?
It took me the entire day Friday to choose what to pack, and yesterday morning we left for the airport with our full sized suitcase, diaper bag, carry on bag, and laptop in tow. Oh yeah, the baby too. As far as baby gear goes, I chose very carefully. We checked the pack n play, and I packed a collapsable high chair in the full-sized suitcase which was also checked. We were charged $15 for the suitcase, but not for the pack n play. The woman at the counter told us that baby items are free to check. We bought a Cosco Scenera carseat specifically for this trip, but it will be our secondary seat at home as well as our carseat for future travels. We carried this through the security checkpoint, and checked it at the gate. I did this because I had heard that carseats are often damaged when checked at the ticket counter. Our next trip, to Mexico, we will be buying a seat for Jonah, so the carseat will come on the plane with us. I did not bring a stroller. Instead I've been carrying jonah in the mei tei carrier. The security gaurds did not make me take Jonah out of the carrier as we went through. They gave me the option of taking him out to put the carrier through the machine, or I could consent to a quick search. The search was not bad; it was done by a woman, and was very quick and non-invasive at all. I felt fine with it, compared to having to take him out of the carrier and try to get him back in; especially since we were running the risk of being late for boarding. They did make me take Jonah's shoes off, which was weird because honestly what could I put in those? They're so tiny! I am glad that we opted to forgo the stroller. I cannot imagine having to push the stroller along with trying to carry everything else, especially once we got to Salt Lake and claimed our checked luggage. It was already quite a haul even when we both had our hands free.
It was strange to be so weighed down with baggage. I typically only pack a backpack for a week. Even when I stayed in England for a month, I brought only a carry on sized pack. Having so many items to keep track of was definitely a change for both me and Daryl.
Jonah did really well on the flight, as we expected. He liked looking out the window, and had fun playing with the two new toys that I bought him, just for this occasion. The people in front of us did not even know we had a baby until the flight landed! He is so calm-natured, just like his father. The people behind us knew that Jonah was there, though, because one of his favorite in-flight activities was to pop his head up over my seat and make faces at them! This is something he has just learned to do, and he loves getting a reaction out of complete strangers this way!
The restlessness came after we landed in Salt Lake. We went to see the temple. For those of you who don't know, Daryl was born in Utah and raised Mormon. For the most part, he is very silent about his past faith and his heritage. Any questions that I ask are answered by short and round-about replies. "How can you get married in the temple?" for example was answered by "you have to be mormon." I learned yesterday that you in fact have to undergo an extensive interview, and it is quite a process. So, I was eager to learn about where Daryl comes from. He may not believe completely in the mormon faith at the present, but I firmly believe that it shapes who he is and what his views are. Anyway, we went to visit the temple and learn a little history. Jonah began to get restless. He had not been able to crawl all day. He just wanted to go go go! We found a room where we could put him down and let him stretch his muscles. He spent about an hour just crawling in circles and laughing the whole time! We also let him loose on a quiet part of the lawn. Of course we stayed right behind him the whole time, but he enjoyed being free to roam and move about on his own.
From there, we came to Park City, where we are staying. Today we had what I think is quite possibly the best breakfast in the country, at a quaint little cafe in the mountains (okay, so everything is in the mountains here!) We are also lucky enough to be visiting during the arts festival, so as soon as I finish writing this we will be heading out to that.
All in all, traveling with a kid isn't as different as I thought it would be. It does take a little more planning, and a little more effort (checking baggage and bringing more items etc) and we do have to schedule site seeing around nap and snack times, but this vacation does not seem to be going any differently than any other trip that we've taken.