Thursday, December 16, 2010
Travel With Ricky
Preparing for travel in the old days meant, for me, throwing some clothes into a paper bag and filling the car with gas, making sure that my trusty road atlas was beside me. When Ana and I started traveling together, it was not very different. There were simply more clothes, and she didn't like when I stuffed her clothes into a paper bag, so we would have some sort of a duffel bag instead. She also introduced the notion of bringing along things like toothbrushes and other items normally kept in the bathroom. I don't mean she introduced the idea to the general public, but just to my own personal travel habits. Over the years we adjusted the way we packed, noticing what we had forgotten and what we kept bringing and never using. By the time we had Ricky, we felt like pretty professional voyagers, with a good sense of how much we needed and how to carry it easily.
Ricky changed all that. Ricky changed everything.
Our first trips with Ricky were desperate attempts to escape the house. We were trapped in the early, sleepless months, with the baby needing to be fed throughout the night, with no discernible sleep pattern for him or ourselves beyond collapsing. Outings to the supermarket were an extreme endeavor. So we left town and went to Las Vegas. It meant packing up a huge bag of baby supplies, together with the co-sleeper, putting the baby into the carseat / carrier, and bringing it all into the hotel. We went out for a steak dinner, and, mercifully, Ricky slept the entire time, sitting in his carrier, in the dim lights and loud noise of the restaurant.
After that, we all began to travel again. There were many mis-steps, and moments of difficulty. On Ricky's first trip to Spain, we flew from Los Angeles to New York, and from New York to Madrid. The first flight we thought was rough, we periodic crying and hushing and changing. The second flight was torture. He cried the entire flight, calming only when he was taken into the bathroom of the plane, soothed by the ambient noise and the terrible bright light and the giant mirror. We literally walked across the Atlantic with him.
Now, though, he is the veteran of many, many transcontinental and transatlantic flights, and he enjoys the experience of flying, and the airports. As he has gotten older, we have been able to shed the most cumbersome gear which we have carried at one time or another. There is no more pack and play to carry, no giant bag of diapers, no suitcase full of Hot Wheels cars. We don't drag a giant car seat to the gate, or stand outside the door of the plane waiting for our stroller to be retrieved when we land. The physical requirements of traveling with Ricky have never been easier.