When you have a baby, amid all the joy and worry, are promises to yourself that you will continue to pursue your secret dreams. Sure the baby will change your life, but you'll forge ahead on all those adventurous plans somehow.
That's how I felt anyway.
So when I got the opportunity to go to Hawaii for the holidays, with free lodging thrown in by a generous relative, there was no way I wasn't going. But there was also no way my husband and I could afford a seat for our toddler.
At the time we reserved our tickets, our boy couldn't talk and had just taken his first steps. By the time we got on the plane, he was a whopping 28 pounds and 25 months old, just entering into what is knowingly called "The Terrible Twos." Despite these forces working against us, we were facing three flights, lasting a total of 13 hours of flight time, on completely packed planes.
Our first worry was -- his age. At the time of our flight, most airlines would only allow babies to travel on their parents' laps until the age of two, and our dear son didn't quite make the deadline. So my husband and I rehearsed our white lie -- "When they ask you how old his is, say 23 months." The last thing we needed was for our $2,000 ticket investment to go up in smoke because our son was too old for our travel plans.
The next worry was -- his ears. We'd traveled enough to have heard the painful screams of other children as the air pressure changed during final descents. When our son was younger, we gave him a bottle because the sucking action helped adjust the pressure. Now he was too old for his bottle and too young for chewing gum, so we would just have to hope the pressure would not get to him. In preparation, we practiced saying "Ah," which was great fun, and ultimately worked.