This past summer my daughter and I got the chance to travel to Ohio to visit my grandma, aunts, uncles and many cousins for over two weeks! I’ve been visiting family in Ohio almost every summer for as long as I can remember, but this was her first time meeting our “Ohioans.” I might add, she left quite an impression on them all. She returned home with a new name, Princess Sassy. She often refers herself to that daily, on more than one occasion.
Traveling is always a fun and exciting time! I’m lucky enough to have the summers off, one of the many perks of being a teacher. Last summer we went on a family— Mommy, Daddy and Baby— trip to Hawaii. I did the research, read the blogs and packed a whole week in advance, just to be on the safe side.
Our vacation was not only amazing and unforgettable, it was just so darn easy as well. The fact that she was only nine months old at the time, and not very mobile, she stayed put on her first plane ride (for the most part) and slept like a baby.
I made sure to pack new toys, blocks, books and plenty of snacks for when she was uneasy, which was very rare actually. Overnight flights are the way to go when traveling with infants! It doesn’t get any better. She was small enough to cuddle in my arms, find a comfy spot and easily fell asleep almost the entire flight. I definitely had luck on my side being a first time mommy! I can now say that I worried and panicked for nothing.
She loves being outdoors, so sight-seeing, walking the beach, and hiking was a hit for our family vacation in paradise. Everything was perfect, except for the one and only afternoon she got sick and threw up. It wasn’t your typical throw up incident — this was definitely one for the books! She actually threw up all over daddy’s face.
El ojo y un huevo
I’m sure he’d like to forget that memory, but for me it’s a memory I look forward to sharing with her when she’s older. He had vomit stuck in his beard and trickling down his shirt as I reached for the baby. Oh, but she wasn’t done yet! She then proceeded to vomit down my back and into the back of my dress. It seemed like the longest walk ever as we made our way back to the hotel, smelling of puke, vomit slowing dripping down our bodies, all while taking turns trying to console a crying baby. We had “First Time Parents” written all over our faces!
I, of course, called my mom right away and she told me that someone probably gave her “ojo!” You know, the evil eye, negative energy, or the envious eye us superstitious people believe in. Lucky for me, my close friend Amy and her husband were stationed in Hawaii at the time. Long story short, her mom was able to help my daughter. “La cura con un huevo.” She cured her with an egg, and my daughter was instantly better! Mexican beliefs and traditions have saved the day for us many times. And, of course, mother knows best.
For the exception of that tiny hiccup, our vacation was incredible! It was our first vacation as a family and new parents and it was definitely one for the books. Everything was really fun and easy because my daughter was not walking yet. She sat in her stroller the majority of the time and occasionally reached for our arms when she was tired. I was so surprised as to how well she behaved.
Now fast forward a year later and this time around, I read the dos and don’ts on traveling with a toddler, I read the articles, blogs and even reached out on support groups on what to expect, pack, etc. What can I say, I’m a planner and I’m prepared for even a zombie apocalypse. But that’s for another blog!
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Considering that my daughter is a lot more independent, curious, bossy and just a ball of character and sass, I was terrified and anxious the weeks before our plane ride. She is not only a walker, she’s a runner. She skips, dances and climbs! I bought new books, toys, crayons, stickers, markers, Band-Aids, snacks, etc. You name it, I bought it.
Since our first flight when she was an infant was a piece of cake, I for sure thought this time around wouldn’t be as smooth. There’s no way I could be THAT lucky? Right? My daughter is a very well-behaved girl. She really is a joy to be around… but being stuck on an airplane with nowhere to go really panicked me. Could my sweet girl possibly turn into a little monster?!
I lost sleep, probably grew a handful of grey hairs, and I can honestly say it was all for NOTHING! I was stressing out and over thinking for no reason at all. She used one toy on both flights: I highly recommend Melissa & Doug On-the-Go Water Wow Activity pads! Trust me, this thing was a lifesaver. I am not being paid to say this, I’m just really a hug fan. The hardest part was trying to figure out a comfortable way for her to nap on my lap.
The difficult part of our trip for her was having to be buckled into her car seat for 40 minutes to get to the closest town. Here in the valley we take for granted that our stores, schools, and for me, my family is all within a five-minute drive.
[Related: Road Trip Packing: Toddler Edition]
Besides the tiny dramatic scenes she’d pulled while in her car seat, our vacation was yet another great one! A lot less simple, but just as relaxing. There’s something beautiful about being able to just walk outdoors, be outdoors, play outdoors and not have to suffer with the extreme summer heat the valley has to offer. The perfect weather was ideal for my adventurous wild child. We spent most of our days under the shade of big beautiful trees, sitting on a swing, and eating purple cow ice cream at the local hangout, The Viking Corner.
Growing up, I loved visiting my grandparents in Ohio every summer. There were no rules. We got to stay up late, watch movies, build campfires and catch fireflies. My daughter got to enjoy the same simple pleasures I did, tand it was wonderful to see.
My traveling experiences with my daughter have been very enjoyable, easy and exciting. It helps to plan, but it also helps to not over-think or over-stress and just go with the flow! We can’t wait for next summer and our future adventures!