Therefore, in the spirit of embracing the present moment, I am taking Calvin on a trip with me to visit a friend in Bruxelles, Belguim. Daddy's staying home so he can keep raking in the big bucks that teachers enjoy. So I'm traveling with a todder by myself. There are all sorts of ways this trip is embracing the moment. For one thing, it won't be this easy for me to get a solid week off to go gallivanting in Europe once I start a new position. Second of all, Calvin turns 2 in March, and he can only fly for free for another week or two. Better do it now! Third, I love you, New England, but this winter sucks. Ticket prices were pretty cheap, and Bruxelles is experiencing temperatures in the 50s right now. Sounds a lot better than slipping around on the ice and worrying about breaking my neck for another week.
To some people, a European adventure toute seule with a toddler while I'm broke might not seem like the best idea. But, simply put, this is the most reasonable time to do something like this. And I may as well. Because otherwise, life will pass by in a blur. According to Claudia Hammond, whose fascinating interview on the perception of time I heard yesterday on WBUR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook, I would hardly remember this time at all since nothing else notable is happening. I'd better make the memories while I have time to make them.
So, off we go! The question remains of how to travel with a lap infant who, to be honest, isn't really an infant anymore, though will do fine on my lap. Here's how I'm planning to make it work:
- Make it an adventure! Attitude is everything, and if I enter this trip in the spirit of adventure, treating every second as a treasure even if it's a tantrum or a flight delay, I can make it.
- Crayon Twistables, stickers, and paper. He loves coloring right now, but crayons break and get everywhere. That's not exactly what I want to deal with on a plane. The crayon twistables are basically crayon pens or crayons in lipstick tubes that keep everything very controlled. I wouldn't ordinarily spring for it, but it's going to be worth it for a trip.
- My friend has a spare bedroom. That makes EVERYTHING easier. Breakfasts can be pretty normal, meals can be cooked in, and we can get back to a quiet space after a long day. And then I can close the door and leave the room when he goes to sleep and hang out with my friend some more. Score.
- Rent-a-crib. I know, there are those of you out there who co-sleep on trips, but I worked too hard to get Calvin in his own bed to give it up now.
- Epi pen and benedryl for nut allergy and sleep.
- For the flights, I am planning to follow the advice of this Apartment Therapy piece that recommends asking for flight attendants to rearrange you a bit and block empty seats. If the flight isn't too full, the carrier may be able to hook us up with two seats for the price of one, which would kill two birds with one stone. One, we are less likely to annoy people directly next to us. Two, he has a nut allergy, and that decreases the likelihood that he'll come into contact with nuts from people nearby.
- Ergo baby carrier on the plane, but gate check the stroller for airport ease. Following the advice of the Ain't No Mom-Jeans blog, don't make a toddler walk if you're tight for time. And you know, that resonated with me since I'm always running late and we only have 1 hr and 10 minutes between flights, including getting through customs.
All planning aside, I think probably the most important things are the epi pen and my spirit of adventure. I'll let you know how it goes. My assumption is that this is going to be awesome.