flying with a newborn
S had been looking forward to her trip back to Moldova with equal parts anticipation and dread. Just the mere prospect of flying with a newborn seemed daunting in and of itself. Moving a 6-week-old to a different home overseas — and all the additional luggage such a move entails — added an extra dimension to the madness.
Safe to say, the trip would not have been possible without S’s mom. After checking four 49-pound duffels, a cooler, the car seat base, and a porta-crib, S still had two rolling carry-ons, a stroller and car seat, her diaper bag, a backpack with all of her electronics, and a soft cooler. In other words, even if she did not have to contend with a floppy baby, her own two hands might not have sufficed to schlep all of her carry-on items from gate to gate during her two layovers and onto the three flights it took to get her from Maine to Moldova.
Thankfully, S gave herself plenty of time to reshuffle and repack all the bags at the airport. Airlines allow approved baby items to be checked free of charge, which came as a pleasant surprise and greatly helped lessen the load. Even so, S had a tremendous amount of baggage and would never recommend traveling so laden — even though she technically stayed within her baggage allowances.
Munchkin likes being on the move – be it in the car, stroller, or carrier. He just wants to go, go, go. In fact, he was the easiest piece of it all, happily sleeping through much of the travel. Even though Munchkin had his own seat on the plane and spent a good deal of time hanging out in his car seat, S was very glad she brought her hands-free carrier. Wearing him enabled her to go through security checks without disturbing his sleep and made it much easier to keep him in her lap during the flight when he got cranky in his car seat.
Even though she had her mom to help, S also did not shy from asking total strangers for assistance. Early boarding for families with young children is all fine and dandy, but does not work all that well when all the passengers have to take a bus to the flight and proceed to make a mad dash for the plane as soon as they get off. Once S made her way to the front of the crowd, she took one look up the long metal staircase, gazed down at Munchkin in the car seat, and promptly made eyes with some unsuspecting man, offloading her carry-on with him. Once aboard, one of the flight attendants helped wheel her bag down the narrow aisle and place it in the overhead bin. There is no shame, none at all, in asking for a hand when one’s one two hands do not suffice.
A blanket of icy snow had covered the streets of Bangor when S began her journey. Chisinau welcomed her with radiant sunshine and verdant trees. Even though the trip was not as stressful as she had anticipated, S was relieved to put it behind her. She barely had the energy to say hello to our very excited dog before she, her mom, and Munchkin all went to bed. And that’s how D found them — the house looking as if a tornado had ripped through it, depositing miscellaneous baby items all over the place in its wake; soft wheezing emanating out of both bedrooms; and Emmie sitting by Munchkin’s rock ‘n play, licking her chops while staring at him with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension.