Airplane Travel with Baby (insert nervous shudder here)

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Before we reach our gate, everyone looks at Hudson with goo-goo baby eyes, and comments on how adorable he is. ‘Thank you.’ (smile) ‘Thank you.’ (smile) ‘If you think he’s so adorable would you mind holding him while I go pee?’ (smile) Everything is hunky dory until we arrive at our gate, and post up on twice as many seats as we have people; we have a lot of stuff, we’re traveling with a baby. The mood suddenly shifts, and we’re met with tense facial expressions and ‘Oh, well isn’t he cute.’ (grimace) These people are TERRIFIED that his current chilled out mood is just the calm before the storm. I think these fellow flyers would rather the plane go through a literal storm, than our baby let out a thunderous downpour of hysterics, when we’re all a mile high and trapped.

Hudson can read the room. He gives me a mischievous grin and let’s out a piercing screech, that he recently taught himself. He’s not upset, he’s just letting people know that he’s not just a pretty face, oh no, he has opinions too, and loud ones. The screech elicits even more tight-lipped smiles from everyone in our eye line; everyone else is rolling their eyes and silently grumbling to their travel companion, wondering if it’s too late to change planes.

Right on cue, Huddy let’s one rip. I wouldn’t even call this a ‘toot’, it registered as a TEN on the juicy baby fart scale. This was not a noisy, but scent-less, release of air; no, this was a vertigo inducing big poop precursor. ‘Please poop before we get on the plane.’ ‘Please poop before we get on the plane.’ ‘Please poop before we get on the plane.’

Luckily, Hudson’s pre-diaper-blow-out blowout released some tension, and his mind was free to focus on non-fussy activities. He set his sights on the pretty lady with glasses two seats away, peacefully reading her book. He shimmied off my lap, and sat for a moment, taking in her awesomeness, or maybe contemplating how he was going to get those glasses off her face. He then sauntered, on all fours, over to her feet, and let out his cutest ‘coo.’ She looked down, smiled, and went back to her book. One smile was not going to please her newly devoted fan; he wanted more. He tapped on her foot and let out a ‘coo-screech.’ Still cute, but on the verge of annoying (to everyone but this adoring mama.) Ms. Red Shirt and Glasses then set her book down, and spoke some baby talk to him. He was impressed, ‘She speaksa meh language.’ He then dropped his most bewitching flirty baby smile on her, and I swear, she almost gave him her glasses. This kid is good.

Before he could grasp her glasses, and commence Mission ‘Snap These Glasses in Half,’ his adoration was suddenly diverted, when a giant shiny metal bird rolled by the huge windows. ‘WHAT is THAT.’ ‘Me want, now.’ He then speed crawled so fast towards the window, his legs progressed faster than his arms, and he was faced with three face plants (pun intended.) When he finally made it to the great see-through divider, he smacked his noggin against this invisible force field, not yet understanding the concept of an invisible barrier; Hudson, and birds. After his collision, a menacing looking purple welt formed on his forehead. I held my breath in anticipation of the incoming non-flirty, ear-ringing, screech. But, it never came, he shook it off, literally, made a little ‘ugh’ peep, and continued scrutinizing this bird plane with wide-eyed fascination. Should I be worried that my child is not the least bit concerned with what I consider cringe worthy head injuries? We’ll ponder that question on another post.

It was then time to board. I strapped my little screeching scrutinizer to my chest, and Eric and I began the process of piling ourselves with all our “necessary” stuff. We boarded the plane, and received genuine ‘aw what a cute baby’ smiles from all the first class passengers; they knew they would likely be far and away from any boisterous baby babbles, or odors, once we exited their premier cabin, and they received their complimentary alcoholic beverage/s of choice. However, the next batch of folks held their breath as we walked by, praying that we would not be the occupants of the spare seats in front of them. We were not, until we reached the folks that we were sitting in front of.

Well, Hudson spent a few minutes checking out the busy bees outside the tiny windows, made a miniscule ruckus, nursed, and fell asleep; for the ENTIRE plane ride. HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH! Our early flight check-in and amiable cooperation with TSA must have pleased the airplane Gods. Now pass me a non-complimentary cocktail, my baby is asleep!

 

The Art of the Nap Extraction

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Regardless of what the ancient Chinese texts say, I’m convinced that Tai Chi was created by the parents of a baby who would awaken at the drop of a diaper pin. These hypothetical Tai Chi creators took to laying down with their little one to get them to sleep, but would then be faced with the monumental task of extracting themselves from their sleeping baby’s presence, without waking the finicky snoozer. After numerous failed attempts, these Tai Chi parents learned how to move so slowly and gracefully, they could remove themselves from baby’s energy field without a peep, bump, or ‘ah s*** I stubbed my toe!’ But, it would take them 20 minutes to move 2 feet.

I don’t formally practice Tai Chi, but since I’ve become a self-proclaimed expert of the nap extraction, I’d like to think I’d be quite a whiz at the glacially slow form of Chinese exercise. In the beginning, I was such a novice at nap extraction that Hudson’s naps would last an average of a whopping 5 minutes, or I would be lured to sleepy land, and would wake up 2 hours later drooling, and nursing a baby who had learned to pull my boob out without my assistance, or consent. If I wanted to get anything done, I needed to learn how to remove myself from naptime, without taking the curtain of slumber with me.

Let’s compare my rookie mistakes to my now masterful moves:

#1-Laying down in the middle of the bed

Rookie

Cuddling up with baby in the middle of the bed means you have a long way to roll, crawl, or shuffle before you reach the ‘almost home free’ zone, of the floor by the bed. My first attempt at squirming out from the middle of the bed ended in tears, for both Hudson, and I. I had honestly spent over 10 minutes (I was eyeing the clock the entire time,) gently scooting my body centimeter by centimeter closer to the edge of the bed. Four feet never felt so formidable. When I was just about to make touchdown on the treasured floor, my shift in weight caused Hudson to start, and let out a piercing ‘I’m suddenly wide awake now!’ wail. Joy. Back to square one.

Master

I now position myself approximately 5 inches from the edge of the bed. This positioning allows me to awkwardly do a cramp inducing side-backbend to grasp the edge of our bed frame. I then muster all the ‘I must make it out of this bed without waking this child’ strength, and quickly roll my body out of bed in one fell swoop, all the while depositing most of my weight on the immovable bed frame.

#2-Placing arm under pillow

Rookie

I sleep with an arm under my pillow, I don’t know why; I just always have, and likely always will. It’s my comfy pose. Baby naptime is no time for a comfy pose, unless I want to end up like the fore mentioned daytime droller whose infant feeds off her while she sleeps. Having to remove an arm from underneath a pillow adds a whole other element of hassle to the extraction process. Hudson has a habit of scooting himself up my body as he sleeps, which means his little head is often resting at the bottom of the pillow I’m trying to break free of. The first time I undertook this ‘arm under pillow’ extraction challenge, I was met by an ‘Ah-ha! I got you!’ slap of the baby hand. My plan had been foiled. Never move the pillow, never move the pillow, never move the pillow; it will just bring catastrophe.

Master

I now keep my arm far and away from that pain in the neck pillow, and place my arm stiffly beside my torso, which often causes a literal pain in my neck. But, it’s utterly worth it if I can withdraw myself from the nap and gain 30 minutes to do whatever I want (aka wash dishes, fold laundry, and lay starfish on the ground in silence, without a tiny human crawling on me.)

#3-Getting under the blanket

Rookie

I used to cozy on up under Huddy’s ‘blankie’ with him. He would tangle his legs in mine and the blanket would slowly tuck itself around me, forming a human burrito. Need I say more? Extracting myself from this predicament was a waking-baby nightmare. There was only one time I was able to miraculously pull myself out, and Hudson was high on post-immunization baby pain meds.

Master

I now lay down with baby; wrap him in the blanket, and stuff a bit of the blanket in between his legs. This baby cannot sleep without something nudged between his tiny knees; I get it, it must be genetic. After I create my baby burrito, I join the party, ensuring I’m positioned in my proper escape route, without any baby waking items atop me.

The Mother of all Extractions

For this one moment in time, I wish I had hidden cameras in my bedroom. This nighttime nap extraction was the lord of all nap extractions, and I wish I had it documented for all to see, sigh. It was a quiet night in the little town of Ojai. The fan was quietly whirling, generating a light breeze in the room. Our sound machine was producing faux raindrops, and our hippie Himalayan pink salt crystal lamp was emitting a good energy glow in the room. The conditions were ideal for a deep baby sleep, and a swift mommy extraction. It all started as planned, as I initiated phase one of Operation Mommy Removal, and gingerly made my backbend move to grip the bed frame. As I gripped the sturdy frame, Hudson let out a kick, popped open his eyes, and we began a stare off. I didn’t dare blink, but decided to be bold and began a slow whisper like ‘shhhh’ incantation. The Gods must have been smiling in pity for me because his eyelids started a glorious descent, and he drifted back to the land of REM. Next, I was required to reposition my hand in order to regain the optimal pre-roll lateral stance. As I moved my hand, it landed smack dap in what I instantly knew to be a huge sticky spider web. Don’t move a muscle. I prayed to the powers that be that the occupant of this spider web, and my baby, did not wake up. My silent pleas were honored and I remained un-bit, and un-met with open baby eyes. I then began phase two, and commenced my side roll, with the intent of softly placing my feet on solid ground. The unspeakable happened, I over did my roll, and was forced by gravity to thump down on the ground with what sounded like a thunderous thud in my hypersensitive ears. I heard a little whimper from baby, and embarked on holding my breath for what felt like a mini eternity, not daring to even twitch an eyelash. After getting precariously close to losing consciousness, I initiated my stealthy Tai Chi crawl out of the room. It took me so long to transport my sloth like self out of the sleep den, I only had about 45 minutes before Hudson graced my world with his alert cuteness. But, I’ll never forget the feeling of accomplishment I experienced after my tumultuously triumphant extraction.

Hello Mommies, Babies, Daddies, Tots, and Everyone In Between!

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Hello World! (Isn’t that what you’re supposed to say to open your first blog post?) I’m Bailey; like the alcohol, not your next door neighbor’s huge golden retriever. I’ve done it, I’ve made, I’ve cracked that golden egg, I’ve been granted admission to that elusive club that I’ve always admired from afar, but have never been able to break in to; the mom club. That not-so-secret secret society where wiggly human toting ladies chat about mystery topics like ‘colostrum’, ‘helicopter parenting’, ‘Ergo babies’, and ‘meconium’. What language are they speaking and how can I learn it?! Well, come to find out all I needed to do was get ” jiggy with it” with my delicious honey. That sneaky sperm discovered the code to my birth control protected eggs and ‘wham bam thank you ma’am, I’m starting initiation into THE club. I survived the hazing my body subjected me to during initiation and made it in. I’m certainly not the club President, Secretary, or even Treasurer, but I relish every moment spent in the club. Yes, I’m that annoying mom who LOVES being a mom. I’ve almost made it to the one year mark in my membership and what a roller coaster it has been; the big daunting and exhilarating roller coaster, not the kiddie one I’ll be stuck riding for the next few, or more, years, depending on the fearlessness of my male kiddo.

I’ve had the privilege of turning some of my more annoying qualities into a career, or many mini careers wrapped up in one big cohesive package. Let me break it down for you; my slight obsessive compulsive disorder equals a Professional Organizing business, my desire to talk ad nauseam about how empowering, glorious, and spiritual pregnancy, childbirth, and all the baby stuff after is equals me being a HypnoBirthing Practitioner, and me growing and depositing a human from my womb equals a lifetime career as ‘mommy.’ I would like to add ‘Bailey the Blogger’ to my list, and fill you in on how all my Professionally Annoying qualities impact my life as mommy. Just to warn you, I find alluring alliterations, similar synonyms, and making up words, to be simply fantas-inating.

I find that, for the most part, I’m a pretty happy mama. I certainly have my “moments”, but usually pull myself out of “those moments” fairly quickly, and drop myself back into the “let’s stop and smell the roses moments,” literally. I am blessed to live in beautiful Ojai, CA where there are abnormally fragrant roses blooming almost year round. My little guy Hudson, and my hunky guy Eric, also seem to be pretty cheerful most of the time, as long as there is a boob or two around, preferably with some milk inside.

I in no way think I have it all figured out, but I do think it would be fun to share my tips, tricks, ideas, alliteration full anecdotes, and whatever else I think would add a little more upside down to the frown we all sometimes fall victim to. I would adore the opportunity to not just spout my ideas, experiences, and whatnots with you, but to interact with you. Send me your questions, comments, random baby pictures, and whatever else, so we can start a fun, hopefully informative, and supportive dialogue. I know that you are really nice, but I want to remind every one else to keep it kind, kind of clean, and kopacetic (yes, I know kopacetic starts with a ‘c’.)