We recently escorted The Baron (Von Poopy Pants) on a trip to southern California. The trip went really well and there was a good deal of monkeying around. Other than the Baron’s luggage feeling incredibly disproportionate to his size, there were only a few small things that were different traveling with a small child.
One of the biggest difference when traveling with a foster child is that you have to get permission. Technically, the child is in the state’s custody and if you leave the state they want to know about it. They also want to know where you are going, with whom you are going, and that you have a safety plan in place should something happen.
And you can’t just tell the state – the state has to approve. More specifically, a judge has to approve. As you can imagine it all takes a little bit of time. It is recommend to ask at least a month ahead of time, but it can get done faster. No time for monkeying around here.
The Baron’s Luggage
I wish my clothes fit into the same space as baby clothes but still adequately covered my body. Yes, I could go on vacation and only bring Speedos, but nobody wants that to ever happen.
Even with all of his bottle supplies and diaper changing materials, packing for The Baron wasn’t so bad. But what was fun was his car seat and stroller.
If you gate check stuff, it runs the risk of getting dirtied or even damaged. The Baron’s mommy made it a point to get some bags to help protect his assistive devices. The bags worked really well. I even miraculously managed to get the gargantuan bags folded back up properly so that they fit into their own bags (yes, I had to Inception the bags). Of course they weren’t heavy, but they were awkward and voluminous and made me feel like I was gate checking about 400 heads in a duffle bag (not that I have actually seen that movie… but you get the point, they take up a lot of space).
When you travel with a baby you get to do typically taboo things like BRING A FULL BOTTLE OF WATER THROUGH TSA SECURITY! But that kind of privilege comes at a price of time though. We allowed ourselves extra time, but even with that extra time, we barely had enough time to get to the gate, collapse his stuff, unbag the bags, put his stuff into the bags, and change his diaper.
It wasn’t as if they were closing the doors as we got there, but we did miss the whole pre-boarding they do for people with infants and small children (and the elderly, currently serving military, super loyalty customers… really pretty much everyone except the people blocking the gate who can’t board yet).
Baby On A Plane
I am sure that anyone traveling with a small child on an airplane for the first time ends up being at least a little concerned about how the child is going to react to the experience. I think this is probably because every parent at some point during their pre-child days was on a flight that almost convinced them to not have any children.
But then they convince themselves that they aren’t going to be those parents until one day your theme park passes are expiring and you didn’t quite get the value out of them you wanted to. Or maybe they needed to visit family or attend a funeral or some far better reason.
We were especially concerned about the take off. My wife is especially sensitive to her ears popping and was really worried about The Baron in this regard. So we had a plan – we would wait to feed him until during take off so if he does get upset, he already has a bottle in his mouth. Plus the feeding motion of his mouth should help his ears stay in a comfortable state.
There were a few problems with this plan. First, because of the time we had to leave for the airport to park the car, allow for extra security time, and the like, it had been quite a while since his last feeding by the time we even got on the plane. Second, it had been snowing and they had to de-ice the plane.
“This is your captain speaking… even though we are all loaded up early and ready to go, we have to de-ice the plane. It shouldn’t take much more than 10 minutes.”
40 minutes later
“All right, it looks like the de-icing is almost finished…”
50 minutes later
“Okay, now we are number 67 in line to take off…”
Yes, I am overly exaggerating for humorous effect. We had to give up on Plan A and go to Plan B. After all, we didn”t want to win ‘The Most Hated People on the Plane’ Award. No more monkeying around! So we enacted Plan B, which was to feed him and hope the binky kept him his usual delightful self during take off.
It turns out we didn’t even need Plan B. He didn’t really want the binky. He just wanted to look at everything. And he was his usual delightful self.
Poops On A Plane
When we hadn’t quite fed him yet was the worst he actually was on the whole flight. The only other incident was when Baron Von Poopy Pants lived up to his title and poopied his pants. Not one to shirk his duties, he did so with as much fragrance as he possibly could.
The flight attendant asked if we wanted anything to which I quipped “I’m good, but I think he wants his diaper changed.”
My wife jumped on the grenade and volunteered to change him. And as she got into the bathroom, got him ready and got the rather potent smelling diaper prepared for removal, we hit a pocket of minor turbulence.
The Baron rather enjoyed himself. At least, that is what mommy told me. The changing mat reduce the friction with the changing table to where my wife was keeping the (now laughing) baby from sliding off the table or into his dirty diaper with one hand while trying to clean him up and dispose of said diaper with the other hand.
My wife is no slouch at changing a diaper these days, but it took long enough I was starting to get concerned. Fortunately, she has mad mommy skillz and managed to get it done.
Strangers On A Plane
We have traveled a fair amount as a married couple, but we have never had so many unsolicited encounters with people we didn’t know as we did this trip.
“He’s so cute! How old is he? What is his name?”
I mean, we think he is cute, and everyone who has ever met him thinks he is cute. I don’t think we were expecting perfect strangers to tell us how cute he was. He must just be that cute.
That or people like babies. Now there is a radical thought.
When people we know tell us how cute he is, I usually reply with something along the lines of “Well, we would like to take credit for that, but we didn’t make him.” But I can’t say that to strangers without going into the whole spiel about being his foster parents. And strangers don’t want that.
I think they just want an excuse to not seem too
creepy impolite while wanting to see how cute your baby is.
But sometimes it did get a little creepy. There was at least once in a bathroom that my wife felt like there were a few women that were hovering a little too long. There was another incident where a woman obviously went way out of her way to have a lengthy conversation about him with us. In all honesty, these were probably innocent actions but it is definitely not something we are used to.
We will probably need to get used to it we are going to go monkeying around as a family like this.
Getting Down to (Monkey) Business
The main event of the trip was to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
“Are you crazy? Why would you take an infant to Universal Studios?” – Several people on different forums my wife read while trying to get tips on such a venture.
It actually went really well. I mean, it helped that we had been before. And it helped that we like to use the single rider line anyway. Plus, it helped that mommy doesn’t want to walk through the Walking Dead themed haunted house.
It helped that even though it was loaded past what I am sure a fire-marshal-would-not-be comfortable with amount of people, that we could take him in his stroller into the wand shop at Harry Potter world.
The Baron did go on the studio tour with us which went really well until he got tired of wearing his hearing protection. Of course this happened right before the really loud King Kong part of the tour. I rationalized his wailing as simply adding to the realism of the experience of dinosaurs and giant apes throwing the tour tram around. I hope the couple sitting next to us thought so too. He spent most the rest of the tour not wearing his hearing protection and flirting with the teenage girls sitting behind us.
A Little Less Monkeying Around
The day after the park became a rest day. I think we all needed it. And it helped that the hotel had Turner Classic Movies. It is usually the second thing we check in a hotel room (after making sure it is habitable of course). We ate We napped. It was glorious. We played with the baby. It was wonderful. I finally saw Spartacus. It was okay, I guess. [Spoiler alert: my wife refers to it as a movie with a “crap ending”. So if you aren’t into that thing, probably best to avoid it.]
Some might tell us we should have taken a longer trip. I think it was about just right. We proved we can do this. And we proved that we can jump through the hoops. On top of that, we proved that we can take baby from point A to point B without losing our minds.
I don’t think it was anymore tiring than when we would take trips by ourselves, and even through we didn’t get to stand in line or do rides together, it was still a fun time monkeying around. I think we had a good trip, and The Baron agrees.
Now for some more monkeying around at home.