MY TRAVEL DISASTER
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Every week, I try to plan out my posts in advance. Even if I don’t have time to actually write it out, I try to at least come up with a topic and an outline. Two weeks ago, as I sat on a plane flying from Newark to San Francisco, I took out my laptop and started to draft a post. Avi was sleeping nicely in his car seat next to me and Jared was watching tv. We’ve traveled a lot with Avi - starting with a road trip to Vermont when he was only 10 weeks old - so I was going to write about the lessons I’ve learned regarding road trips, plane rides, hotels, airbnbs, and time-zone changes. And then, minutes into writing this post, something happened that would change our entire trip and make me feel like even with all of our experience, you just can’t prepare for everything when it comes to kids.
It started with some uncharacteristic fussiness. Avi woke up crying, which is fairly unusual for him. I held him until he fell back asleep, he slept for about 30 minutes and then woke up crying again. We went through this a few times, Jared and I taking turns. It was very un-Avi like and after the third time, Jared went to the back of the plane to see if they had a thermometer. Low and behold, my poor guy had a 102 degree fever.
New Lesson #1: Always keep a thermometer and children’s tylenol in your diaper bag.
We walked up and down the plane, but no one had any tylenol or motrin on them. We ended up spending the rest of the flight with Avi stripped down, holding ice cubes and cold compresses to his little body. When we landed at 10pm California time, we had our Lyft driver take us right to CVS before heading to our hotel. It was 1am (4am Eastern) by the time Avi finally fell asleep that night.
We were scheduled to be in San Francisco from Friday to Monday night and most of the trip was a blur. We were in California to meet our new nephew (yes, our second new nephew in just a few weeks!) but of course we couldn’t take a sick toddler to the house. Jared and I took turns visiting the new baby and happy parents and my in-laws were nice enough to babysit a few times. But Avi wasn’t his easygoing self, he wasn’t napping well, and we were basically quarantined to a small hotel room.
New Lesson #2: Bring more toys than you think you’ll need
I pride myself in being a minimalist packer, which isn’t an easy feat when traveling with kids. But this time, I realized that I had taken it too far. We were stuck in a hotel room with barely any toys and only two books. Thankfully, we were staying in a two-bedroom suite, so there was some space. The suite had a small kitchen, so I took out the plastic spoons and bowls so that Avi would have something new to play with. One morning, when it looked like Avi’s fever had gone down, we did take him to an incredible kids’ museum that was mostly outside. But let me tell you, taking care of a sick toddler thousands of miles from home is no picnic, no matter how you slice it.
By Monday though, it looked like he was on the mend. We had tickets for the red-eye flight back to Newark and by 6pm, we were at the airport. While waiting to board, Jared thought that Avi felt a little warm and decided to take him temperature just in case. And wouldn’t you know, it had spiked to 103 degrees. We immediately gave him tylenol and called our pediatrician back home. Based on the duration of the fever and the fact that it seems to be spiking randomly, he recommended that we cancel our flight for fear of Avi having a seizure on the plane.
New Lesson #3: There’s a trained paramedic at every airport
We hauled our stuff to the United desk where they were incredibly helpful. They rescheduled our ticket for the following night but our luggage was already on the plane and inaccessible. The paramedic listened to Avi’s lungs and heart and decided that he didn’t need emergency medical attention but agreed that we shouldn’t fly. Jared went into action, getting us a hotel room and a rental car. He also made a 10pm trip to Target to get toothbrushes, clean underwear, and snacks.
The next 24 hours were all about keeping Avi distracted and happy. We went to two different malls, just to have a change of scenery. His fever stayed down this time and we were able to get the next red-eye home. Avi thankfully slept the entire time (Jared and I did not), we landed at 5am and started our days. Avi was dropped off at daycare, I went to the office, and Jared was on the phone with his boss.
We had made it. We’ve got some scars, no doubt about it, but we made it. Of course, Jared and I got sick too, but at least by that point we were home.
Stay tuned next week when I’ll reattempt my tips and tricks for flying with a baby and toddler. But for now, I have some major thank yous:
-Thank you to my husband for keeping his cool when I could not and for being an advocate for Avi’s health when I desperately wanted to believe that he was fine and everyone was over-reacting
-To my in-laws for being amazingly supportive and great babysitters
-To my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for being totally cool with all of our changes in plans and for still letting me hold and love on my new nephew
-To the Maplewood Moms* Facebook group for helping me figure out tylenol dosages when my brain was fried
-To my private mamma group - Summer of 2017 Mamas - for helping me keep it together and for being my constant virtual support
Even from 3,000 miles away, it takes a village.