Traveling with Baby: Kauai, Day One

We’d planned to pack days in advance, but in all our spare time, that didn’t happen. The day before the trip I did all of our laundry. All of it. Practically buried my mother’s helper in clean clothes. Just when she’d folded one mountain, another was ready for her attention. Small piles of garments by type spread across the (clean enough) nursery floor.

The packing began after the boy went to sleep. We made a list of all the items large and small that we would need (a week’s worth of diapers, the breast pump, infant Tylenol, rattles…); used the dining room as our staging area.

Normally, I panic when I pack. What will I need? How many outfits per day? Shoes? Which shoes??? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

This time, no panic. Not sure why. Maybe because our destination is Hawaii, and therefore by definition, mellow. Maybe because how I look matters so much less lately. I’m so becoming one of those Before moms on What Not To Wear… Well, that’s not entirely true. Over the weekend we did a Gap run, and got new pants, shorts, and shirts for everybody in the family (do I sound like a shill or what?). I ran around town on Monday trying to find a tailor to shorten my new jeans, but all the ones I trust are closed on Mondays, I now know. So last night I took out some fabric scissors and carefully cut them, one half-inch above the top of the hem. I figure when I get back I can have them properly trimmed and the hem re-attached. Anyway, I thought myself very clever, and cut-offs are so Island Chic, no?

The boy slept and slept while we scuttled and puttered, finally closing the duffels and heading to bed at 11 p.m. Up at 1 to nurse. Back down till 5. Final packing of bits and we were out the door by 6 a.m. Go team.

A very respectable two large duffels, one small duffel, two rolley bags, medium and small, computer bag, purse, bag of food for lunch on the plane, and the bucket on wheels. We’ll certainly travel lighter on the way back. The small duffel is entirely stuffed with our preferred brand of disposable diapers for the week, the bigger rolley holds, among other items, a box of baby- and eco-friendly detergent, a frozen loaf of rice bread, and three small bricks of goat cheese — two cheddar, one jack.

We considered but decided not to bring the play mat or the boucy seat. There’s a Wal Mart on the island, and we may have to hit it for a cheap bouncer when we arrive.

The boy was a champion traveler. At 5 a.m., we gave him a bottle (quicker than putting him on the boob, plus it was already in the fridge and I didn’t want to waste it). He was quiet and alert all through the drive, parking and check in, after which we nursed for about half and hour. We made it through security and to the gate, the boy chill in the bucket. Just before boarding, he fell asleep. He continued to sleep for at least two hours, then nursed, played, napped again, nursed, and was alert and suck suck sucking on his pacifier during the descent. No screams, no tears.

Wished I could have slept. Also wished the family behind us wasn’t hacking up loogies and snorting and coughing every three seconds. I pray that they were at least past the contagious phase of whatever it was.

I had thought I was going to nurse him on take off and landing but both times we ended up putting him in the bucket, since he had his own seat. A guy at the airport in San Francisco asked us if we’d already gotten all the advice we needed about traveling with baby. “I assume you know about bringing a bottle for him.” Nope, didn’t know. Would have been smart, even though we didn’t need it this time.

After changing two diapers at our seats, we found out there are changing tables in the lavatories. So that’s good information for future reference as well.

I think the boy loves Hawaii. He just seemed so blissfully happy as soon as we got outside, into the gentle warm island air.

We were afraid that the boy wouldn’t handle the time change well, but so far so good. He slept off and on from 4:30 p.m. till 6:00 a.m. I probably got more sleep than I have in a long while. So far, we all love Hawaii.

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