In about three weeks I will be embarking on a trip from Australia to the middle of America (solo!) with a very active 14-month-old. In an effort to stave off the anxiety that this prospect raises in me, I'm overthinking the logistics. Would love some advice on a few things.
First, I've read a bunch of other questions on this topic, and found them very helpful (e.g., here
). I still have a few special-snowflake ones of my own, though.
My son will be 14 months old, and he and I will be the only travellers. He has been on a plane before, at 4 and 7 months, but those were single 2-hour flights. He's pretty big for his age: about 28 pounds, and routinely gets mistaken for at least 18 months old. I do not nurse anymore.
This time we'll be flying from Sydney-San Francisco, then a 2.3 hour layover, then San Francisco - Denver, then a 3 hour layover, then Denver to Grand Junction, CO. I think it comes to about 20 hours total in planes. The Sydney-San Francisco is overnight so I hope he sleeps then. He will have his own seat for most of the flights, especially the long one. I am not sure but I think I will probably have to pick up my luggage, take it through customs, and then recheck it; I don't think they will check it through to my destination (at least, very often they will not). The SYD-SFO and the other tickets were bought on different itineraries, though all are United.
I have three main worries: (a) how to deal with entertainment; (b) how to get through the airport; and (c) how to deal with jet lag.
My son is super super active. All he ever wants to do is move, move, move: he started walking at 10 months, his favourite activity is throwing basketballs around, he climbs stairs and all our furniture and ladders(!), and every night we walk about 1/4-3/8 of a mile up a big huge hill to tire him out enough so he goes to sleep. He also doesn't say any words yet, although he understands a decent amount (50-100 words maybe?). I can't picture him sitting still for more than 20 minutes, much less 14 hours. He doesn't really get into narrative stories so apps and books with stories, as opposed to just pretty pictures, aren't great. He loves music and things with people in them. He also loves trains, fire engines, kitties, and doggies. This post
had a lot of great apps for toddlers, and I plan on downloading a bunch of them, but I don't think that by itself will hold him for the whole journey. He doesn't normally watch TV but I'm happy to show him episodes of things on my iPad. However, I have no idea what sort of TV kids this age like. I tried him on a Youtube video of the Wiggles, and he liked that. Other ideas for TV, or entertainment in general? I will be bringing loads of snacks and stickers. He is no longer interested in just holding and manipulating objects, although putting things in and out of containers will keep him still for a little bit, and I plan to bring some things for that too. He does not understand crayons and drawing.
On the plus side, he loves novelty and people so I don't think he'll be bothered by all the new things. He is also a really amiable and cheerful little guy as long as he is not bored.
Getting through the airport
. We pretty much hardly use the stroller because my son doesn't like it much and will just walk everywhere, which is great normally but we're not going to be able to make it through customs and our next layover at meandering-toddler speed. I don't know if he'll sit for very long in the stroller though. I also can't see how I will juggle the stroller plus one large piece of luggage plus my carryon. Is not bringing a stroller a mistake? We haven't used his Ergo in ages, since he started walking, but I could try that instead(?)... I also don't know whether to bring a carseat. We will be borrowing one on the other end so I don't need it except for the journey. On the one hand, I think he might sleep much better in the plane if he's in a carseat rather than in his own seat with his head in my lap. (Does he have to be in a carseat?) On the other hand, I really
don't see how I'll make it through the airport with all of that stuff plus a large carseat. The layover in San Francisco is the one I'm really worried about, because it's so tight, time-wise, and I think I will have to pick up all my luggage to go through customs. I'm kind of stuck here and just keep going around and around. Would love advice from people who have been there, or suggestions for ideas I'm not considering.
. Our destination is about 7 hours difference from where we are now, and we'll be there for 3 weeks. I'm thinking of aiming for a schedule where he goes to bed at 9:30pm and wakes up at 8:30am there, maybe 10:30pm/9:30am. (Normally he goes to bed and wakes up around 7:30pm/6:30am). I figure this will work there, and involves fewer hours of adjustment than trying to get back onto his actual schedule. I've read a bunch of advice about how to get babies onto different schedules, but not much on whether this kind of halfway-thing is a good idea. Anything I'm missing here?
The things I'm most worried about are the entertainment and getting through the airport, though. Suggestions that have worked for you, advice of what didn't, and just general reassurance (if appropriate) would be awesome. I'm feeling pretty nervous about this.