We used to be the kind of people who went somewhere almost every weekend. The beach, the mountains, concerts, games. You name it, we went. We had packing for the weekend down to a science--two bags, shared toiletries, done. Since the wee one was born, the times they have a'changed. Just running errands involves packing a bag that needs to be carried by a Sherpa on our trek through Target. For awhile we could not even go to the grocery store without 3 changes of clothes, 5 diapers, 3 toys, extra socks, Tylenol, and antibac. As I gotten used to this mommying gig, I have discovered that for a morning of errands you don't need a snot bulb, fingernail clippers, camera, or umbrella (unless rain is actually called for) and only one change of clothes is necessary. While I have scaled back, I still feel that I am over-carrying. The diaper bag is so full I loose me keys and or my phone at least three times an outing. Thank god it is summer so we can get away with just an extra onesie if a blow out occurs. Forget cute pocketbooks. For now, those are a thing of the past. At least I have my sassy Kate Spade diaper bag. Now if I could just get Alice to carry her own bag, then we would really have a good thing going.
The first time we went away for the weekend there was less luggage on the Titanic than there was in our car. The sad part was, I felt that I had packed efficiently! I had enough clothes for the little lady for at least two weeks and was prepared for any weather front that blew through Savannah. I realize now it was a little over the top. My parents do have a washer and dryer, last time I checked. Certain things are unavoidable to pack like diapers and bottles and a few outfits. But looking back we didn't need four blankets and every toy she has ever played with. She will chew on her hands for hours and be perfectly content. The husband pointed out how nice it is to visit people who have kids. When we stayed with my friend Jenn last night, who has a little dude around Alice's age, I had a bag for me and a bag for her (I have obviously come a long way in 4 short months!). I learned the hard way you don't need quite so much stuff when staying at a house with a baby-in-residence. Don't tote toys because other people's toys are always much more interesting. Everyone with a baby has a pack n' play, so that is not needed. You can mooch wipes and repay when the friend comes to your house, use their changing table, and their baby bath tub (or the sink). I have found how much better it is with a child to not make things harder than they need to be.
I think the fear of the unknown is what keeps us mommies stuffing things in the suitcase long after we have everything we could possibly need. That old enemy of travelers everywhere, Mr. What-If, pushes you to keep piling things in the back of the SUV, just in case. I have discovered once you have the necessities, less really is more! We don't need to look like we are headed out West on a wagon train for a four day trip to the Outer Banks. And as my father often points out to my mother, who travels with her own mirror, fan, and coffee maker, if you don't have something you need, we can go buy it. This is America, where there is a Wal-mart in every town and a Walgreens on every corner.
Hopefully I will continue to hone my skills for traveling with the baby. We are going to the beach this summer, and I can foresee the packing getting out of hand very quickly. I am going to try to remember the following old adage: "Keep it simple, stupid." Four outfits per day are really unnecessary when the majority of each 24hrs is spent either in pj's, a swim diaper or a bathing suit (or if she is anything like her Mom as a toddler, her Birthday Suit will suffice as beach wear). It will be hard work, as packing light does not come naturally to my family. As previously mentioned, my dear mother goes with the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to vacation preparedness. There are only two people traveling in their Volvo SUV, and it takes a few hours of strategic packing for my dad to be able to see out the back. We brought my Grandmother home from the beach last year and she had no less than 12 tote bags, 4 baskets of various sizes, 8 grocery and shopping bags, and 2 coolers. All for a two week stay in a completely furnished house. So now you understand the kind of genetics I am working against. But I will press on, working hard to only pack what is needed and nothing more. I will keep in mind that we are only going to the Topsail for a week, not to Mount Everest for an extended stay. And after all, if I don't have something I need, one of overly prepared family members will!
As far as little A is concerned we are going to try hard to keep her on the move so she will be adaptable and happy to go and do. As of today, she is happy to sleep in a pack n' play, crib, car seat, sun shade, or my shoulder. I just pray this means she will keep it up. Traveling in the family unit has proved to be more challenging than as a duo, but we will make it work! It will just be with a few more bags than we used to have.
Alice playing in Grayon's jumperoo.
Alice and Grayson napping at Merle Fest.