Saturday, February 25, 2012

Traveling with a Small Human

Last year when I was pregnant, John and I took advantage of all his accrued airline points and "elite status" to do some traveling. And travel we did! In fact, in our 6. 5 years of marriage, we have been very fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit. We started to call ourselves “jet setters” as we traipsed around the airports, waited in the “red carpet lounge”, got bumped to first class and jumped into our “emerald club” rental cars. We soon mastered the art of navigating the terminals and security lines. I learned to condense all my belongings into a mere “carry on”. Yes, life was exciting and fast paced. We would wake up in Portland and fall asleep in Chicago…or Rome. Towards the end of my pregnancy, we flew to Maui to attend one of my best friend's wedding. I remember thinking, “wow, traveling sure is harder being bigger.” Ha! Try bringing along a small human.
 So last week, John and I made our first trip across the United States to Chicago with our little 7-week-old Evelyn. Like any first experience with our baby we were a little apprehensive and nervous. I mean, it wasn’t just “us” we had to think about anymore. We had another little human on board…Not to mention the car seat and stroller and extra diapers…
During the week, I talked to several seasoned traveling parents. My one friend had traveled with her two year old on 54 flights so far. I kept hearing the same advice. “Feed often. Bring a change of clothing.” A change of clothing?! I threw one in, not expecting to really use it. Boy was I wrong!
 As we sat in Portland airport waiting to board our flight, Evelyn suddenly began to cry and cry. I know exactly what all the travelers were saying and thinking around us, “Please don’t sit by me…please don’t sit by me…”  I tried to manipulate and time her feeding schedule so it would be close to take off, but we were pushing it, and she was letting me know. Suddenly I smelled something terrible. Yes, it was an extremely dirty diaper. We were about 10 min from boarding, so I had to take care of this quickly. I scooped up my screaming child and rushed to the bathroom. I pulled down the plastic changing table, covered it in paper towels and put Evelyn down. By this point she was not happy; hungry and dirty, I received many concerned looks from women as they passed by. Sure enough, I discovered that her entire outfit was already totally soiled. Panicked, I stripped her down. She was naked, red-faced screaming, covered in poop and we were boarding in the eight minutes.  
                                                 I decided to throw the outfit away.
 Immediately, I dug out that second outfit I packed. What good advice to bring it! 
So, the trip didn’t start out on a very positive note, but overall, it was ok. We got bumped to first class (due to John’s status) and the looks we received from the other first class travelers could burn a hole through us. Evelyn spent the trip sleeping, eating (as much as she wanted) and being bounced between John and me. One thing I noticed is that the airplane bathrooms are useless when it comes to changing a diaper. However, we figured out the best way to take action. Parents, here it is…
 Close the toilet seat lid, and sit on it with the bathroom door closed. The area is so small you can’t help but put your knees up against the door. Lay your baby up over your legs and change…quickly! Mid change, the turbulence light went on. “Please don’t crash before I change this poopy diaper, “ I prayed. 

Another thing I learned is that my standard of cleanliness dropped dramatically. When we got home, Evelyn reeked of sour milk (due to an “all you can eat” buffet experience and insignificant burping). Her hair looked greasy, and her "airplane diaper changing experience" probably left her a little “under wiped.” However, her eyes were happy.
 As I stripped her down and cleaned off her "airplane residue" in the bathtub, I realized that our little “jet setter” did a good job. At 7.5 weeks old, she flew first class across the country. I now realize that our travel experience will never be the same. But I must say, she’s definitely more entertaining than any in flight movie or sky mall magazine.  And maybe we can enroll her in the frequent flyer program.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Season of Mom

I had all these great intentions to keep on this blog now that I have my baby girl, Evelyn Grace. The truth is, I can’t believe how busy she keeps me! Women sometimes ask me, “So, what do you do all day?” I hate that question because often times it is asked with a tone that suggests that I sit around all day and watch TV; but I have to admit that I often asked that question to stay at home moms when I was working full time. ;) The life of a stay at home mom may seem luxurious to some. To others, it is perhaps the opposite. Personally, I am so grateful that I can be at home, raising and taking care of my 
precious little girl. I don’t view it as luxurious. I’m not dressing up in nice clothes, taking clients out to lunches, or receiving praise from my boss for a job well done. The clothes I wear will be washed by the end of the day because they will smell like sour milk; I usually eat my mid day meal while simultaneously bouncing the infant seat with my foot; and I never get a thank you or good job from Evelyn after I change her poopy diaper. Usually, I am up several times throughout the night, feeding and changing Evelyn when she cries. Many mornings, (such as today) she awoke at 5 am and then, she was ready to begin her day! My job for the day has begun…but then again, it never ended from yesterday. I bath her, hold her, try to get laundry, some cleaning and a shower in between her cries and feedings (which is every two hours…) I’ve learned to lower my expectations of what I accomplish in a day.  “Accomplish” looks very different to me now. I can not define my productivity by an end result anymore. I define my day by the little rewards sprinkled throughout the hours..a smile or coo from my sweet girl. I have six years teaching experience, a master’s degree in reading development; but, there is a bigger picture at stake here, and it doesn’t have to do with a pay check or professional recognition. The bigger picture here is my baby girl, who wont be a baby girl forever. Some women absolutely need to work outside of the house…and to you, I salute you because that is a hard job indeed. I know you try to do your best and to do both jobs well. Each person has a different path and a different calling. And a good thing to remember is that whatever season you are in, it is not forever. This is something I have learned over the years and it has kept me sane. So right now my job is changing diapers, cleaning spit up, spending seemingly endless hours and hours nursing  and holding and smiling at my sweet Evie. Yes, I get those breaks of being able to meet up with other moms throughout the day sometimes. I get to take a mid day walk outside and give Evie some fresh air. The joys in my life are very simple now. It is not dinners out at the trendiest restaurant in town, or fancy drinks at happy hour or 90 minute yoga classes (all of which are really nice!!!!) But this is my new season. The season of Mom.Please be encouraged that if you are in a season that seems endless, it WILL certainly end. Someday my season of being a stay at home mom will end. So, in the meantime, bring on the diaper blow outs and burping cloths. Bring on the adoring eyes and quiet moments of rocking her to sleep. I am Mom.