This is our first holiday season with a baby. As neither my husband nor I have family who live nearby, we will celebrate our daughter's first holidays away from home. As much as I'd rather have Sofia's first Thanksgiving and Christmas at home, it's more important to me that she spend it with as much of her extended family as possible. That means we will once again pack our suitcases and our little family will hit the road.
I used to be a flight attendant and I would pride myself on how much I could pack in one small suitcase. However, traveling with a baby completely changes the game. The days when I would zip through the airport with my tiny carry-on are long gone. Now, I have a giant suitcase stuffed to the brim with both of our clothes, shoes and the baby's toys, along with all her back-ups. It's not so easy to dash out to the corner store to pick up an extra baby blanket, so you can't afford to forget one. Plus you need a back-up when the first one gets spit-up on it. Then you need a back-up back-up when the others get dirty and you can't do laundry. Of course, you have to remember the diaper bag, plus the other carry-on and these days, that's called traveling lightly!
Once we arrive, it's up to me to try to maintain some semblance of schedule and routine so the baby doesn't spend the entire time wondering who turned her world upside down. That's been my biggest challenge so far. Between time changes and eager relatives who want to spend every waking moment with her, naps and bedtimes have flown out the window. I try not to be too hard on myself, knowing that time with the grandparents is more valuable than getting that nap at precisely one pm. If she goes down at 1:45 because she and Grandpa were playing on the floor, that's okay with me.
Even though traveling with a baby can sometimes be an exercise in chaos, watching the baby play on the floor with her grandparents is priceless. Now all I have to do is figure out how to pack that suitcase so it doesn't burst open on the airplane because when Mom and Grandma get together, it's nearly impossible to resist shopping for baby clothes!