My mom has always worked in the travel industry. My first plane trip, at five years old, was to Las Vegas. Needless to say, I have many stories and many experiences I could write about. I thought instead, however, that I would write from the parent’s point of view, since last fall my 6 month old and myself went to visit my parents in Florida.
FINALIST 2010 YOUNG TRAVEL WRITERS SCHOLARSHIP
To start, when going through security with a baby, it’s a little more challenging. The shoes come off, the bag of liquids, the purse and diaper bag in the bins.. .Mind you – all one-handed. While complimented on how quickly and efficient I was at it, it’s a lot easier with two hands. Needless to say, I did find the checking of the powdered formula amusing, and of course, it turned out to be formula powder like it says it is. Ah, better safe than sorry. Oh I should mention the airport. Little Rock, Arkansas. A total of 12 gates. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and my mom worked at Columbus International Airport for years, where they have 3 different concourses. Little Rock is like an L shape, one section is check-in and baggage, and one section is gates. How quaint.
You get a lot of attention with a baby, period. At the store people gush and make faces and talk about and to her. The questions of age and sex, and comments of how good and pretty are pretty much mundane at this point. But on a plane, the people don’t walk away. Up and down the aisles people makes comments, ask questions, talk and make faces, as they go to the bathroom they’ll smile and comment how sweet she is. The flight attendants want to hold her and show her off to the other flight attendants, and comment how lucky they are to have us in their section. I must say you get special treatment with a little one.
Luckily, she really is an angel, and I chose to hold her in my lap for the 6 hours worth of flying and layovers. FYI to get from Little Rock to Orlando involves stopping in either Baltimore or Chicago, look at a map, yeah I didn’t get it either. Anyway she was a great baby. Didn’t scream bloody murder or squirm, just smiled and babbled and ate perfectly content with her surroundings.
On the trip home after visiting my parents, she behaved much the same way. She was very good, didn’t cry or try to get away from me. She loved all the attention, especially during the two hour delay I had in Baltimore. As much as you want to get home, it’s not like you can change the fact that the plane you want to get on isn’t physically there yet, and the flight attendants absolutely loved her and I really didn’t have to hold her all that much during that unexpected delay. Now eating was a challenge. I think if I had to spend over eight dollars for a Stromboli and a bottle of orange soda in the airport, I could have gotten a high chair.
To give some details besides the plane trips, Bella (my daughter) was able to visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Needless to say, it’s not the brightest idea to take an infant to Disney World, but she was amazing. She was perfectly content in her stroller and only cried when she was hungry. She was wonderful. Her pictures with the Disney characters got a lot of attention, such a pretty little girl. As an adult, it’s insane how long the lines are to get pictures and signatures of the characters. You really don’t notice how many kids are around until you have one your own. Babies and parents waiting in lines for rides babies can be on (for example, The Land and It’s a Small World) or waiting for the rest of their group to get off a ride (Test Track, Soaring, Mission Space). Not to mention how expensive stuff is there. 12 dollars for her first Mickey Ears, and another 12 dollars for a Tigger stuffed animal with a little bell made for little babies. Even as an adult, I could easily spend hundreds in one of the gift shops. What torture it is for the average child, who’s parents did not budget for the shopping spree of souvenirs.
The beach was an experience she didn’t like. I think she was a little to young, the waves scared her, and she tried to eat the sand. Of course, she’ll try to eat the sand for at least another year before she learns its not food. For the most part, she spent that experience with a tight fist on myself or her grandpa and squinting because it was mid afternoon, so it was a short adventure, but she still picked up her first seashell.
I hope I accomplished my goal in this blog entry, giving an account from a different view of being a young and new parent. Having a child not only changes daily activities, but every aspect of you life, and I thought a look into traveling with a young child would be something different than a wild Spring Break story, even though I’m sure that could be entertaining and informative as well.
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