Travel…Whew!

Back finally at the comfort of my desk after 5 days of travel and outing. We went to SFO  (San Francisco, CA) for a close friend’s wedding and it was a mini reunion of sorts of some of our close friends. I have so much to write in this blog, since this was the first ‘trip’ ‘trip’ we took with our little one. So far we have always driven by car to a friend’s place stayed at their place and back. So the thought of travelling around a city with him all day was quite daunting.

The planner me kicked in and I started making lists after lists. It is hard enough to travel with a kid, with the tantrums to fussiness to eat, sleep, and their urge to let go of our hands and run, but with Avyu I have to be 100% sure I have something for him to eat all day. Since it is impossible for me to just buy a muffin or something for him, it seemed such a herculean task. Anyways, this is where the lists help. To start off I made a list of all that we need to pack for him, and how I go about doing it is start to think of his typical day at home and make a list of everything he would need, from this toothbrush to his night pj’s and his favorite elmo toy. I have some suggestions below, a list of a kind to help others with packing too. Use this like a grocery list 🙂

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Hairbrush

Dress- take in layers, some t shirts, some light sweater, some larger sweaters.

Socks- always have couple of extra pairs

Shoes/ Slippers- again always carry an extra pair, in case one get wet

Bath soap (Avy uses special soap)

Bath Towel

Wipe cloths to wipe nose, hands etc.

I normally pack all of the above in hand luggage for air travel.

Diapers

Wipes

Tissues

Diaper cream

Medicines- Allergy related, daily vitamin, bendrayl, epipen

Milk boxes

Juice boxes

Sippy/straw cups

Food- dinner etc

Spoons.

I pack the above in the diaper bag.

Snacks- take their favorite snack. I normally try and put them in smaller Ziploc covers so that it is easier to carry out.

Fruit- always a good idea to have, oranges, apple, banana, etc

Water in a sippy cup.

I then made a list of all that he would eat all day and all that he can eat. Air travel is becoming more and more difficult and the last thing I need is for them to open every one of our bags at the security counter…and explaning things with a hanging baby from your arms is not pleasant:). I decided to pack all kinds of liquids in one bag, that way everything else would clear and I would have to just explain that one bag that had his juices, milk, medicines etc. This worked out well for us. Ajit would carry the baby through the counter and I would fall behind to explain, somehow they are more sympathetic when it comes from a mom as to why I am taking more than the alloted oz of medicines etc. To make the in flight experience better I packed all of Avyu’s snacks- cracker, cookies etc in one bag, and kept it under my feet at all times. That way it was easily reachable during the flight and can avoid a tantrum. 🙂

We were planning to stay with one of my closest friends (Divya) from school. I had not seen her in more than 9 years, so it was sooo nice to see and catch up with her. When travelling with a kid, kids with allergies or not, always better to stay in someone’s house than a hotel, if at all possible. They feel more at home and preparing dishes for them for the day becomes easier.  Avyu would spend all morning with Divya’s husband Dwarak (Wa-wok as avyu calls him) who played various songs for him on the laptop, while we scrambled to pack travel bags all day. We left each day after a heavy breakfast and would return for the night. They made us feel so much at home and we enjoyed the trip more because of that.

After a red eye flight from Virginia and a short drive to our friends place, we hit the bed around 2am Friday morning. Avyu slept most of the flight and the car ride home and continued to sleep till 7.00 am which was a blessing. We had things planned for all the 3 days we were there, Friday was a SFO tour, Saturday was to catch up with some friends and do the 17 mile drive, Sunday was the Indian wedding and Monday was our return.

 The mornings were always busy, with preparing the needed food for Avyu the whole day- Iddlies  , Paruppu sadam and his favorite Quinoa. All this was done around some pleasant chit chat with our friends. Again, the packing mode sets in and I tried (again tried is the key word) to segregate and pack, juices and milk in one bag, food and snacks in another, Spoons in a ziploc bag (another ziploc to put used spoons in) etc etc. However it is not always easy as it sounds. The first day I spent more than an hour packing it all but once we hit the road and had to look for something I drew a complete blank on where I kept what 🙂 So from the next time I have decided to make a list on what is in what bag, because when you are on a bus and you need a tissue or a juice box you kind of blank out and the searching is no fun :). Note to self- make another list :p:p

Another travel tip that really helped us is dressing Avyu in layers, as everyone knows SFO weather is very unpredicatble and Avyu needed jacket and hat while we went on the bus and cruise while other times just a light weater was fine. We did the mandatory touristy things in SFO, the golden gate photo op, walking on the golden gate, lombard street, fishermans wharf , the cruise on the bay (Avyu loved the bridge, he blew a kiss to the ‘bidgggee’)etc . Avvyu did really great, he was fussy only when he started to feel too tired and sleepy. At times he would need convincing to sit in the stroller or he would be on the verge of a tantrum as he was too tired and the only way I knew how the ‘magic’ cookies ;)I have these magic cookies that he loves which can magically change his mood and we use it as last resort in times on extreme fussiness 😉 It may  not be the best parenting tip out there, then again a toddler crying on the road is not what I want:). He had one cookie and agreed that it was ‘aachu’ and continued on the stroller for the rest of our time there. Here is a picture of all of us near Golden gate.

The next day we decided to meet Ajit’s friends for lunch and do the 17 mile drive. I hogged on all the chaat I could find and was stuffed through most of the drive. It was gorgeous and we spent some nice time at Pebble beach. Avyu picked up various pebbles and called it ‘chuchhu’(circle), oval and wanted to see a ‘paar’(square). I had to convince him that pebbles will not be square. Again it was cold, but I wore my dress as I had made up my mind to wear a dress at least once, was not too bad. We then did a little more drive and reached highway 101 and started to head back. We stopped briefly at the wedding hall met the bride and groom said our hello and headed back to our friends place. We got some food from madras café on our way back and crashed as early as we could, as the wedding was early in the morning the next day. Here is a pic of Avyu playing with the pebbles…

No matter how much you plan or prepare the previous day time just flies by when you try and get ready. We got up around 4.15 and reached the wedding hall by 6.45am and the wedding had begun. It was great wedding, with lot of laughter, kids playing around, awesome food. A big applause for the bride and groom who made all the arrangements themselves, a pretty big responsibility and it was done with great style. Avyu enjoyed the open space he had to run up and down, he loved the vada at breakfast and in general had a very nice time. The whole day was spent there and we headed home to take the evening easy. A pic at the wedding…

We spent Sunday evening with my friend’s husband, with whom Avyu got really attached and called him ‘Wa-wok’ (Dwarak). Dwarak would have played the ‘e I o’ songs about a million times and Avyu who was using Dwarak as a cushion was happily listening to the songs . He is still searching for ‘wa’wok’ after we came back. This morning, since me and his granddad refused to play it for him as it was time to leave, he started shouting ‘Wa-wokkkkk’…

Traveling with a kid is very hard. A lot of planning beforehand can make things really comfortable in the flight especially. Avyu does really well on flights. I have had people tell me almost every time on how good he has been. I think I have lucked out but I also think the planning helps a whole lot. I carry his favorite food, his favorite book, his favorite toy and I talk a lot to him to keep him occupied. We had these small tv’s in the flight and it had no volume, so I would point out various objects to keep him occupied, like tree, apple, door, sky etc. This engages him and he is in a good mood most of the time.

Like every other kid he throws a fit or tantrum when he is tired or bored and by now I am used to guessing correctly what is affecting him. It helps that he is starting to talk and is able to let me know exactly what he wants. I have always been sympathetic towards parents trying to drag their bawling kids through the airport and I had to do it this time too, remember 9 out of 10 time, people are sympathetic to your situation. Keep your calm and do what you would do at home to stop it, and do not think too much on what others would think about you.

No planning is too much planning. I thought I had this down to a science and that I did well on trip. The next day Avyu was playing at home and all of a sudden he came into the kitchen and asked for an apple. At that moment, I felt ‘duh’ of all the things I packed for the trip I forgot to take an apple. I made a mental note that next time around an apple might be better than giving him 3 bananas a day 🙂

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