When Megan and I first started talking about a trip to Hawaii, I knew it meant taking Addie along because if I'm going somewhere for more than a few hours, then Addie comes along too. Even though Addie is a happy baby, flying with a baby to a tropical paradise is still flying with a baby, if you know what I mean. It means traveling with gear. The Ergo, stroller, car seat, a diaper bag packed with Cheerios and books, and a suitcase packed with diapers and wipes were essentials for me on this trip. (My only moment of panic was how I was going to get into the airport after being dropped off outside. Picture this: Addie in the Ergo, umbrella stroller under my arm, one hand holding the car seat, the other hand pulling a suitcase--with my carry-on bag perched precariously on top. I finagle my way through the rotating doors, and a little grandma (bless her) asks if she can help me. I let her carry the stroller.)
Traveling with a baby means highchairs at mealtimes, or if you didn't quite time it right, breastfeeding in that fancy beachfront restaurant. (But hey! at least we were eating AT a fancy beachfront restaurant where people are so happy to be in Hawaii they don't care what you're doing.)
It means finding creative ways to get through meals. Sharing the guacamole from your Hawaiian pork nachos might be necessary. Or discovering that napkin rings make great teething rings too.
Spending an afternoon shopping might involve strollers if it seems too warm to pack the baby.
Just so you know, in Hawaii, shoes are optional.
When traveling with a baby, you might have to find reasons to hang out a little while longer so that you don't put a baby who will fight you with her mighty healthy lungs if you even think about putting her back in the car.
Hanging out might involve smoothies.
And even after hanging out, traveling in the car with a baby who is used to having siblings entertain her may not be worth taking a picture of.
(Hence, no picture of screaming baby in the car.)
So, if at all possible, travel by golf cart instead. Preferably a sweet six-seater red one. You cannot go wrong with this baby.
Be sure not to pack your schedule too tightly. No one is happy with excess busy-ness. Hang out in the backyard. Zip around the golf course in your golf cart. If you're in Hawaii the time-zone change will have you leaping from your bed at 7 am, and compel you outside (in jammies, no less!) to appreciate the above 70 temps.
Traveling with a baby might provide you with lots of opportunities to talk to other people: people who are parents, people who are grandparents, people who love babies, people who feel some pity for you and your pregnant friend who are hauling very heavy luggage through the airport (bless the Hawaiian airlines guy who helped us with our luggage on our return trip). We encountered so many friendly people, and I think we can partially thank Addie for that.
And if your baby falls asleep in the car seat, and she does best taking her naps there, then by golly, you haul that carseat down to the beach and don't worry about what people say. Although, it should be worth noting that your biceps may hate you for the next two days.
It was worth it though. Because when Miss Baby woke up, I got this:
It was so much fun seeing my girl dig in sand, put her feet in the ocean, and taste her first pina colada. Now all my girls have been to Hawaii as babies, and that's a tradition I was happy to create.
Traveling with Addie may not have been the easiest thing in the world, but everywhere we went people were willing to help us. Of course, I didn't have to go far to get some help. Megan and Addie were best friends.
I know some people get nervous at the thought of traveling with a baby--and certainly it requires some work and creativity--but I like to travel. And if I have a baby, then she goes with me.
My little traveling buddy.
Just don't make her ride in the car too long, and she's happy as a clam.