Traveling Solo with my Toddler
If you read my previous post about becoming the Blog Ambassador for NeatCheeks, then you will know that Danielle + Julia had the opportunity of a lifetime to make it on the infamous TV show Shark Tank. They flew Gentry and I out for a quick trip to help them celebrate at their Shark Tank Viewing Party as well as having Gentry be a part of their promo video shoot. It was a whirlwind trip. Three days, two nights packed with everything Gentry. It was supposed to be packed with everything NeatCheeks but you can only imagine what it is like when you are traveling alone with a
very active insanely active 17 month old. I thought it might be a little comical to describe how my trip went so I thought I would share it with you all!
We headed out early Friday morning. PHX -> DEN. Bags are packed. And as you can see from the image above, I clearly over packed for sir Gent. And little did I know then, that when Gent awoke in the morning, I would find out a few mosquitoes made it into his room and decided to munch on him all night. Poor kid woke up with bites all over, including his face. Itching up a storm and pretty ticked off about that too. Poor thing… I managed to remember to squeeze in the Benadryl into my diaper bag before departure.
I wanted to keep things on the down low on social media because I had family and a close friend that lives in Denver and if I had aaaany spare time, I wanted to surprise them with a visit! So my social media went on silent mode after the picture above was taken.
So, Gentry was roaring to go and wanted to run around and say hi to everyone while we waited to board the plane. Gentry only has one gear, and that’s run. No walking. No meandering, just plain R-U-N. Passengers were still wiping sleep from their eyes but then there’s Gentry running around grinning from ear to ear turning his head sideways trying to get everyone’s attention. THIS guy…. I, on the other hand, was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was darn near impossible to wrangle a toddler while maintaining my stroller and bags nearby AND look somewhat sane. It was a difficult balance. One thing is certain, Gentry loves buckles. And his favorite buckles are on the stroller. So there were some brief moments I got to breathe as he tried to fasten himself into the stroller.
When I was going through this trip in my head, I went through the logistics over and over. I knew that the only issue I would have being alone with him is the part where I have to collapse the stroller to gate check it. I brought a “kid leash” – which I hadn’t used to that day but I thought ehhh what a better way to test it out. I didn’t want Gentry to book it when I put him down in order for me to fold the stroller. So I strapped him in the leash and headed down the jetway. I put Gentry down holding on the leash for dear life as I try to collapse the stroller. Gentry took off running and the leash caught tension and he fell smack down. Didn’t even cry but did fuss like what the heck is this thing??? Mind you, I had an audience. A jetway FULL of passengers just eyeballing this situation. I had sweat dripping down my back. My hair all over the place and a toddler who thinks he just got the green light to try out for USA Olympic team in Track and Field.
So one passenger found pitty with me, and awkwardly asked for help. I wasn’t sure if her tone was sarcastic, but I didn’t care. All I heard was do…you…want…help. So I happily grabbed up Gentry and instructed her on how to close the stroller.
Flight was difficult with seats just centimeters from our heads (Dear Frontier, your seats are too stinking close together. Fix them or I shall never board your plane again Sincerely, the solo flying and ex-flight attendant Mama.)
How did the flight go? Well Gentry loved to kick the seat in front of us (you all know how much he loves to have his FEET on ANYTHING) and then there was yours truly trying to scrunch my hand around my iPhone speaker so that my demanding toddler can happily watch Sesame Street sans headphones because, what 1-year-old wears headphones? After a bit of some puppets, he snuggled up and went fast asleep. #thanksbenadryl
Shortly thereafter, we arrived in Denver… To SNOW.
I knew there was a possibility that there would be snow. I wasn’t expecting for it to be there when I arrived. But sure enough it was there, as white as snow… pun intended. As we leave the plane and make our way to baggage claim area, we then made it over to the shuttle pick up for the rental car. Carrying all the bags and pushing a stroller was difficult, but I managed. Gentry wouldn’t keep his socks on which I’m sure made it also appear as an unfit Mama. We get on a shuttle bus to get our rental car. Here’s a picture as evidence of his misplaced socks.
So I get to my little red Corolla… only to find out that they don’t install car seats like they said they would (which later I find out that it is a liability – something to be warned about!). To that day, my Husband has installed our car seats. I have never installed one except way back when… my niece Hailey was the little thang that I used to tote around and back in those days there were no “anchors” to get car seats in. Those metal objects are so foreign to me. But the question arose, how am I going to install this car seat with a screaming toddler (who at this point was hungry as well) in the middle of snow, solo…
I put Gentry in the front seat (ignition off) and tried my hardest to do the old-fashioned way of installing a car seat with the seat belt vs the anchors. About 45 minutes later and lots of blood (cut my hand), sweat and tears, the car seat was installed and I was set to go. And a side note, those car seats aren’t the cleanest or the most up to date car seat.
So I raced over to Julia’s house to get situated and get Gentry fed, changed etc.
The viewing party was shortly thereafter and it was a lot of fun! I met so many great people in the industry and got to watch Danielle and Julia live out their dreams and what they have been diligently working on for almost a year. Their lives changed forever that night and I am so beyond proud of them!
Little man kept me glued to the table with episodes of Super Why! I was hoping to mingle just a bit more but maybe that will happen in future times. #momduties
The rest of the weekend was more low-key. I was able to see my family and my close friend that next day. It was soooo nice to be able to get to do that! Gent also sat facing forward in my friend Lauren’s car that day. So that was a real treat for mister curious!
I was able to relax at times and get to know Julia and her family. I even was able to snap some pictures of two of Julia’s little kidos (the third was sleeping during this time).
Throughout the trip, I kept telling myself, I should have brought Mitchell. We contemplated it. But knowing we would be taking a family vacation in just a couple of weeks, we had to pinch every penny we could. In hind sight, it would have helped but on the other hand, the time that I got to spend alone with Gentry was special. He is a pill. He is a handful. But those quiet times when it was just him and I alone in the guest room, I cherish those times. He is my road dog. He is my sidekick. He is my shadow. And I love that little dude.
And and and…. if you don’t know…. but I’m sure you already do…. The girls landed a “Shark”, Barbara Corcoran!
Here is their pitch if you missed it!
So how many of you traveled solo with a toddler? Have you blogged about it? Post you links or stories below… I’d love to read about them!
A big THANK YOU to Danielle & Julia for such a memorable trip. I can’t thank you both enough…
Cheers to many more successful milestones for NeatCheeks!