Seeking Travel Tips

Hi friends, we will be attending my sister’s wedding in Seattle in the fall, and I’m seeking travel tips for travelling with a 4 month old (Mochi) and a 10 month old (Dumplin’). We plan on staying for about 2 weeks. 

Specifically, I’m needing advice on:

– airplane travel for a flight that’s about 5 hours long (best time of day to fly, dealing with naps, meltdowns, feeding, checking baggage, bringing strollers, bringing car seats, carriers etc.)

– transportation to/from destinations (rent a minivan? Renting car seats/convertibles?)

– making sleeping easier on the babies (3 hour time zone difference, buy or rent cribs/pack and plays, are they able to bedshare if they’re used to sleeping alone?)

– toys (what is absolutely necessary? Rent or bring?)

– tips on crossing the border from Canada to the USA via vehicle

– cheap airlines for travel between Buffalo to Seattle (to compare with flying from Toronto to Vancouver)
Thanks a bunch!

10 Things on a Tuesday

1. Mochi is friggin’ adorable. Somehow, despite being only 3oz lighter but the same length as his big bro at birth, Mochi looks so much skinnier than Dumplin’ did. He looks like a little old man, with his wrinkles and skinny limbs, but also has these ginormous hands and feet. Mochi is very long and skinny, while Dumplin’ was a chunky baby right out of the womb. Their faces are totally different too. Dumplin’ has Asian eyes, and a button nose, but Mochi has these big Caucasian eyes and a flat wide nose. I’m so curious what they both will look like as they grow!

2. Tired, so so so tired. Well the mastitis last week seemed to cure my insomnia, but now we’re not getting any sleep due to newbornness. Obviously DW has it worse than me, but I’m only getting sleep an hour at a time. My in-laws are staying in the spare room, so I’m waking almost every time Mochi coos or cries. Dumplin’ also seems to be going through something, which is manifesting in frequent wakings at night. Last night he cried at 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am, and 7am. Each time, I’m getting up and comfort feeding him for about 30 minutes. I’m running around doing errands and chores that my in-laws can’t/don’t/won’t really do during the afternoon, so no naps are happening either. Last night I was so tired that I went to bed after putting Dumplin’ down for the night, at around 7:15pm, and woke up an hour and a half later because Mochi was crying, but when I woke up it felt like I had slept 4 hours… That’s how tired I’ve been. Poor DW has been up all night nursing Mochi frequently while sitting in one of our living room chairs, because of her c-section incision and arm numbness and general breastfeeding challenges she’s unable to nurse comfortably in bed. 

3. Nursing. There are some advantages to having two lactating moms in the house- one of which is that when your newborn is losing weight or needs more fluids to flush out his jaundice, his other mother can provide him with milk while waiting for his gestational mother’s milk to come in. And what an awesome feeling to be able to top Mochi up a couple of times after he’s fed with DW. Her milk came in last night (day 4), but it’s also nice to offer Mochi a feeding here and there to let her rest a bit too. DW has been working really hard on her breastfeeding. It’s been tough though, as she’s developed blisters on her nipples despite Mochi’s decent latch. It’ll be better now that her milk’s come in though.

4. Workouts. They haven’t happened in over a week, and I am starting to feel like a caged animal despite being so tired. So I’m at the gym right now trying to sneak in a leg workout before Dumplin’s swimming lesson this morning. I feel weak and depleted, but it’s nice to give my muscles a bit of a pump. Once my in-laws are gone, I’m going to try bringing Dumplin’ with me in the mornings again, and letting him play in the daycare that we pay for anyways. 

5. In-laws. They’ve been here helping with things. I’m very grateful that they did come through for us and took care of Dumplin’ while we were in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday. He survived. We survived. I think that we just have different expectations of what kind of help we need I guess. When my mom was here helping us after Dumplin’s birth, she cooked all of our meals, did shopping for us, cleaned the house, walked the dogs, and basically made it so that my only job was to soak in the amazing newbornness following Dumplin’s birth. She held him when I needed to shower or eat, or when I needed to nap. This is the kind of help that was very helpful. Now, my MIL is very good at babysitting, and my FIL is very good at walking the dogs and doing odd jobs, but they aren’t as big into cooking as my mom was, and I wonder if they’re a bit intimidated by my Celiac gluten-free diet (don’t know what to cook for me). They’ve been trying though, so that’s a recent improvement. We’ve also learned that we need to be more direct with what we need them to do for us. I think part of it is that DW and her parents don’t have a close relationship- there are still social graces in place, and we clean up the house and treat them as guests when they come over. Because of this, I feel like we don’t ask them to do the hard things- like waking up to take the night shift with the babies. I guess it comes down to communication.

6. Mental health. I’m still struggling with the anxiety, but now with a bit of depression too I think. The anxiety seems to be masked by the endless tasks that seem to need doing around here- I feel like I’m busy all day walking up and down stairs, fetching things, preparing meals, picking up crying babies, putting away dishes, opening doors for dogs, etc. I lie in bed and still can’t sleep, and when I do, I’m woken up by Mochi’s stirring sounds or Dumplin’ fussing in his room. I waver between missing my life before TTC (when I had zero anxiety or sleep issues) to smothering Dumplin’ with my endless love for him and being sad that he’s growing up so fast. As I thumb-type this post, I just feel like crying because I feel so guilty for not being overjoyed with life- I mean, we got our two take-home babies, and I should be happy now right? But instead, I am beating  myself up for being ungrateful and for complaining at all. 

7. Connections. I feel like I will get flack for this, or that I will upset people, but please understand that I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I am struggling to feel connected to Mochi. It’s only been 5 days, and I remember feeling overwhelmed when Dumplin’ came along too, but I kinda feel like Mochi is this stranger in my house. Maybe it’s my anxiety talking, maybe I need more time, but I worry that I won’t connect with him as much as I do with Dumplin’. Part of it is that everyone (including DW) has been referring to him as her baby. Like Mochi isn’t my son in the same way. I never ever referred to Dumplin’ as my baby. He was always our baby, who developed for 9 months during our pregnancy. That we were pregnant. Someone asked me today which baby was “mine”. I said both were our sons. What they really meant was which baby did I carry, and after correcting them, I felt kind of unsettled about it. When I got home and talked to DW about it, she made me feel even worse, when she was all proud about Mochi being her baby. I’m sure she’s just proud that she carried him and gave birth to him, but I felt like my role in his life was insignificant. That she was his mom and I was just her understudy. I’d sign his permission forms at school only if she couldn’t. It makes me feel like shit, not because I want recognition, but because in some weird way it makes me feel like it makes the divide even wider. Like I’m holding a friend’s baby, and not my son. It doesn’t feel the same as with Dumplin’, and I’m not sure if it’s just because I didn’t notice, or if because I carried him that I feel so secure in my relationship with him, but either way, I’m sure that I encouraged much more inclusive language surrounding our pregnancy and birth with him, and language frames things.

8. Dumplin’. This kid is doing so much learning these days. He is sitting so well by himself, and is making more and more connections every day. He’s learned how to make the faucet water come out stronger, so baths in the sink are chaotic now. He loves playing while on his tummy and reaching for things. He pets his dogs and watches as they play, giggling at their silliness. This is such a wonderful age, and I’m trying not to let it slip away due to the sleep deprivation and mental health issues. But he’s also been fussier recently- some separation anxiety- he doesn’t like when we’re not actively paying attention to him, and he has been waking up a lot more at night. Last night he woke up crying about 5 times, and the previous night about 4 times. He used to only get up 2-3 times maximum. DW has been focused on Mochi (understandably), so I think Dumplin’ notices the difference in attention that way as well. It’s so hard. I’m sure she wants to spend more time with Dumplin’, but with the c-section, she’s definitely not able to lift him. His grandparents are here for another day or so, and play with him and read him books, so he’s getting more attention that way.

9. DW’s recovery. Like I mentioned before, after 22 hours of labour, Mochi still had not descended, and was born via c-section. DW is up and moving around a lot, but her hands, legs, and feet are still super swollen. She still can’t bend at the ankles because of the swelling. She’s keeping mobile though. Yesterday we went out for a short bit to run errands. Her belly has gone down quite a bit every day, which is kind of neat to see. She’s got a rash on her back from the tape that they used to secure her epidural. It looks really really itchy!

10. Clementine. Our poor little chihuahua-pug was at the vet today because she has been limping pretty badly for the past couple of days. The vet suspects that she may have torn her ACL (ligament in her knee). She’s been quiet and not herself lately. I feel terrible for her, since she’s normally such an adventurous and spunky dog. He wants me to check in with him in two weeks to see if she’s still limping, and that they’d do a scope to see what the damage is and if they’d need to do surgery to repair it if she continues to limp as much as she currently is. Fingers crossed that she heals up quickly and that it’s only a sprain and not a full tear.