Fun Fact: traveling with a toddler is a license to skip many a line at the airport. The downside is obviously that you’re traveling with a toddler. Which is worse than a simultaneous trip to the gyno and the dentist.
But let’s rewind a bit. After Mighty left for Budapest, the wee Cap’n and myself were left to our own devices. Basically we ate a lot of scrambled eggs and no one wore pants very often. Which made deciding what to pack a bit hard since apparently you’re required to wear pants in most countries. Real pants, not pajamas printed with cartoon characters. It’s like they’ve never even heard of Walmart. Packing is, at best, a pain in the butt and when you add in the fact that you get one bag weighing not more than 22kg for two people spanning three seasons, well. WELL. We pretty much brought everything I could cram in there. Not even kidding. The Cap’n has:
- two pairs of long trousers
- three shorts
- three sets of PJ’s
- ten shirts
- a sweatshirt
- assorted socks (some of which even match)
- a dress
- black trousers
- three short sleeve shirts
- three long sleeve shirts (assorted button down and pullover styles)
- a sweater
- a half dozen coloured tanks (for layering)
- yoga pants for sleeping in
- four bras
- a weeks worth of panties
- some socks (most of which match)
- a bathing suit.
I wish I’d brought a skirt and a hat. It’s poured off and on most days since we arrived in Paris, so in lieu of a hat, I’ve resorted to buying an umbrella. The Seattleite in me has deep shame in that fact.
In addition to clothing, we’ve got an iPad, iPhone (for listening to music) two quart sized bags of small toys, the Cap’n comfort items; a blanket and a stuffed puppy, some colouring pages, what feels like a very large camera (but thank god isn’t as big as Mighty’s old pro-grade one) and all the diapers that we could cram in the remaining space that wasn’t filled with assorted make up, medicines, charging cords, and two extra pairs of shoes apiece.
We also have the stroller (reviewed over here) which is both awesome and kind of a burden. The Cap’n is comfortable, it’s easy to push and will handle any terrain easily, but the outside set wheels mean that it doesn’t fit through the turnstiles or even some doorways here in historic Paris. It also is kind of a pain at the Grocery store for the same reason. Everything here is much closer together, so while I still love the stroller, armed with this information, I might have chosen the smaller McLaren umbrella stroller that is very popular here.
Back to the traveling bit..
You know how I joke about how much I love whiskey? There wasn’t enough on that British Airways plane to make me not at least consider pitching that screamy ginger out over the ocean. We were lucky enough (lucky. Ha. SEVEN HOURS ON HOLD LISTENING TO ELEVATOR MUSIC ON A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT CALLS IS WHAT IT TOOK) to have a bulkhead seat with a bassinet. Which he hated and screamed every time he went near. But the extra leg room was worth it, so next time I’ll take the seat and ask the attendant not to bring the baby chair. Despite being rated for children up to age two and up to 4o#, it’s really best suited to much, MUCH, smaller children. The attendants were all very nice and we were lucky (this time for real) to be seated between the father of a two year old and a mother/grandmother of seven children and thirteen grandchildren. She made liberal use of the generous free booze, and while I’m sure it was partially because she was Irish, I’ve no doubt that the three hours of screaming we were treated to helped her resolve to spend the whole trip in her cups.
We had made great pains to prepare a notarized letter (still a good idea, consult a lawyer. We have a variety of names to recommend if you need one for such things) stating that I had permission to travel internationally alone with the Cap’n and to remember his passport AND his birth certificate, but no one asked to see any of these but his passport, the latter of which was just summarily stamped along with my own. I kept all of our papers handy in a plastic envelope, another tip I’d highly recommend.
Not being familiar with either Heathrow or Charles De Gaulle, we were dependent on the kindness of strangers, which we received in abundance, starting with the lovely flight attendants who herded a large group of us from one terminal to the next, to the line minder who pulled us out and sent us to the wheelchair accessible/pre-approved traveler line, to the security staff who helped us get all our junk on the conveyor and the metal detector watcher who picked up the Cap’n (at his tiny, smiley insistence) and swung him around; right down to the probably-not-a-thief gentleman who saw us struggling to corral suitcases, a stroller, a toddler and a map at the exit of the Parisian Metro and offered to help carry things up the stairs (no elevators and no escalators, be aware if you’ve got mobility limits!).
All in all, the trip itself probably wasn’t AS bad as a combo lady exam/root canal, but if I can’t exaggerate on the internet, it might as well not even exist, amirite?