Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Security attitude

One thing that often gets to me is the attitude of security officers. I know I am not alone in this but having traveled so much with Zoe in many different carriers, through changes of TSA regulations and with all kinds of milk, with and without baby, I often find myself ahead of the officers. One of the things that annoy me at the moment is that since it is no longer allowed to carry your baby through the metal detecter in a carrier (wrap, soft-structured carrier etc), except at the discretion of the security officers, the officers tend to interpret the regulations differently. They basically mix up carrying your baby with the rejection of the backscatter. So when I ask if I can keep Zoe in the carrier they often reply tonelessly "Then I will have to pat you down". This always gives me an annoying choice between taking her out and running the risk of going through and not beeping (which only happens half the time these days) or simply save time and just go for the 'patting down' anyway. But I don't want to look like someone who 'likes' to be padded down so I mostly end up just taking Zoe out and sitting her down in one of the plastic containers while I put the carrier back on (now that she walks, I put her down and ask her not to go anywhere which is a bit of a gamble). The problem is that this reply by the officers is wrong. It is at their discretion to let me through with her in the carrier or not. Instead the answer would either be yes or no according to the officers subjective ruling. If he says yes and I beep, well then I should get patted down, but if he says no, then I have to remove my baby according to the new regulations from November 2010. Thinking about it, I probably just won't ask next time and take her out so she can roam free a bit. My next problem will of course be when she is big enough to have to go through the scanner herself. I am not looking forward to that.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sleep tight, don't let the floor boards bite

"We are not bringing the pack and play", Mark told me two days before we were leaving for our 5 day adventure in and around San Francisco. I agreed that it might be a bit excessive since we only really would use it for one night at my aunts' place. The other nights would be at hotels with cribs and at our friends' house where I was sure they had some kind of vessel for sleeping babies since they had two of their own. I managed to pack a small suitcase with Zoe's and my clothes including two extra pairs of shoes and small packets of oatmeal for Zoe's breakfast. Packing light has always been one of my strengths and I take pride in it.

It turns out that buying some contraption for tying a car seat to a suitcase for easy rolling around or simply buying a cover the car seat for checking in, is completely unnecessary if you have a luggage strap and a suitcase with a straps on the outer pocket for hanging bags on the outside of your rolling suitcase. I was able to just strap the car seat onto the suitcase for easy rolling around. At the airport we checked in the car seat and South West provided us with a plastic bag which meant the car seat made it through the journey just fine. The only mishap happened when Mark clicked the car seat to the suitcase with a twisted strap and did not support the seat with the broader luggage strap (which goes around everything, under the baby's safety belt to hold). After 20 minutes of a heavy car seat pulling in the twisted strap, walking up San Francisco's hills, the strap broke off and the car seat fell off. It was possible to strap it on with just the lose luggage strap though and we managed with that for the rest of the trip.

We also managed just fine without the travel crib, except for the last night. At my aunt's I put Zoe to sleep on the middle of the low guest bed and we went to sleep early anyway. She did wake me up a couple of times with a foot in my eye or an arm on my ear but overall we slept fine. The final night at our friends' house, it turned out that they only had a baby crib, not high enough for a toddler. Instead I put her to sleep on the sofa bed upstairs in the guest room and went downstairs to rejoin everyone for desert. I knew I would be able to hear her if she woke up, which she still occasionally does at night. After about an hour we all heard a cry and I rushed up so she wouldn't get scared that we weren't there. I went in but couldn't see her on the bed. I looked around but couldn't see much in the dark. "Zoe, Zoe, where are you?" I called out and started panicking slightly. Had she walked out? But the door was closed. Could she have fallen out the window? I brushed the wall up and down to find the light switch and finally found it. I walked over and looked at the other side of the sofa bed and there she lay, with her little duvet still around her, on the floor, snoozing. She must have had fallen down and cried, but then fallen asleep again. I sighed from relief but immediately felt the mommy guilt rushing in. How could I have just left her to roll down? I scooped her up and made several 'bumpers' with blankets around the bed. She slept through all the commotion and in the end I lay down next to her for some snuggles. "I'm so sorry sweetie I whispered" and stroked her hair.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Preparing a trip

I usually start mentally preparing a trip, depending on length of travel and length of stay, 1 to 3 weeks ahead. This Wednesday I am traveling with Zoe and Mark up to the San Francisco Bay Area for a wedding and combining it with visiting friends and family, so we will be gone for 5 days and nights. What makes it especially complicated is that we are staying 4 different places, 2 of them being private homes and that we will combine car travel with public transportation. So far I have concluded that we need to bring the car seat (for the 10 minute journey in my aunt's car from the airport to her home) and the travel bed (for the nights in private homes of people without baby cribs). On the other hand we don't need to bring the stroller because Zoe still fits nicely into the Beco carrier and who would want to push her up and down San Francisco's streets anyway?  The flight itself will be 'interesting' since this is the first time Zoe can walk herself and I doubt she like to sit still for more than half the journey despite it being only an hour. So I am mentally preparing myself for challenging trip but at least this time we will be two to make sure Zoe is entertained.