Okay. So, I need to clarify with the packing thing. It isn't that I stress about it. I am not about to blow a gasket or anything. Rather, I think about it a lot. Even while sleeping, I dream that I'm packing....it SUCKS. I hate those dreams.
Anyway, it is easier (for now) than it used to be when travelling with a mobile toddler who couldn't sit still on the plane. I know it is the easiest it is going to be for a while. Becca can entertain herself without repeatedly kicking the seat in front of her and Andrew still is happy to sit in my lap and gum a teething toy. Also, his food source is still mobile and readily available.
But, I still have to have everything in my carry-on in JUST the right place. Let's take a trip into my neurotic pre-travel brain, shall we? You may never be the same. Carry on (pun intended).
I need to be able to grab the gallon size ziplock with the diaper changing materials in it at a moment's notice. And that ziplock only has one diaper in it, so it isn't too bulky. The other diapers are stashed at the bottom of the carry-on and get refilled into the ziplock after every change. I need to have all the new toys and treats hidden well enough that Becca doesn't spy them too early. So, the "new surprise" food treats cannot be packed in the same baggie as the regular snack foods. I need to have enough food/snacks/entertainment for everyone and extra clothing for some. I need to have the temporal artery thermometer and Motrin and Tylenol and dosing syringes just in case we have a freak fever outbreak on the plane--has happened before. Oh yea. Of course. You know it.) I need to be sure I can get the quart size baggie of liquids out easily at the security check. Same with the DVD player. I need to have instant access to wipes and to antibacterial wipes (with which I wipe down the armrests and tray tables on the plane) before anyone touches them (see also: freak fever outbreaks when I don't do this). I need to be able to grab Kleenex every 4 seconds. Also, I don't want to carry a purse AND a carry-on backpack, so I have to get everything necessary out of my purse and into the backpack where it can be found. And I need to find a purse that will go with everything I'm packing and can also work as a diaper bag (the purse gets packed in the regular suitcase). I also need to leave room in the carry-on to stuff the Ergo baby carrier in when not in use. But it pays off. I have one backpack, that goes on my back. No purse, nothing else to lose. And I can find anything in that bag at any given second.So, it takes me forever to get my carry-on organized. Seriously. Like two days.
Then, I have to pack the regular suitcase(s). Now, this also takes lots of preplanning in order to pack the very least amount possible. I could just throw stuff in willy-nilly (as I used to) and end up with giant bags to drag everywhere. But not when travelling solo with kids. Efficiency is key. the first step is to choose whether I'm doing black or brown. If I pick black, then I bring one pair of dressy black shoes, and one pair of casual. Of course, I spend about 20 minutes deciding whether to bring tennis shoes and flip flops as well. Then, everything I pack clothes-wise has to go with black and the one pair of jeans I bring needs to be the right length to wear all shoes. This involves trying on every pair of jeans with every combo of shoes that I own. One hour for that little exercise.
Then, I have to find shirts. And they need to be layer-able. So, I need two or three short sleeved shirts that are long/short enough in the waist to go with said jeans and that go with black shoes. Try on every short-sleeved shirt with selected jeans. Try to find one of them that could be dressy enough to wear with a skirt in case we go somewhere nice. But, oh crap. Now I have to be sure the skirt goes with the dressy black shoes. It doesn't? It goes with brown? Well, now we have to start over and try on jeans with every brown pair of shoes. I also have to select a different purse. Then, I have to find long-sleeved shirts and a cardigan that can go over the short-sleeved shirts for added warmth--and the cardigan needs to match every shirt.
Are you getting the picture here? Looking good is a giant pain in the ass.
Layers are really a pain in the ass. So is matching my clothing, now that you mention it. But I am way too OCD to mix blacks and browns. God. I can't even type that without gagging a little.
Then, I move on to my jewellry. That need to be pared down the basics and packed in the carry-on...but safely, so it doesn't fall out in the security line or something and get lost. Then, the camera (do I trust it in my suitcase? Or pack in my carry-on? I have to obsess about that for about 30 minutes), phone, chargers, batteries, inhalers (in the carry-on? Ugh.), medications, toiletries. Oh God. Toiletries take me another hour to pack...just because I want the smallest sized everything I can get away with and the least amount of makeup necessary. So, I spend lots of time squeezing tiny amounts of baby lotion into tiny bottles and having it spill everywhere. When I'm going to Texas, I don't have to work too hard at this, because I just buy what I use and leave it there most of the time. But, I can never remember what I left there and I can't always be sure I'll arrive in the same city where that stuff is. Some stuff was left in San Antonio, some stuff in Austin.
I always hem and haw about this one. Do I need one? Both grandparents' houses in Texas already have one, so it just comes down the airport. If I'm on a direct flight, do I really need one? It helps for the 10 minutes directly following the security screening. And it does give my arms a break from carrying a child the entire day. But again...nonstop flight means only about 2 hours in an airport. I could just keep the Ergo and the baby strapped to my front and my backpack on my back. But it is nice to have somewhere to put both carry-on bags (mine and Becca's) when eating or running around the airport. Spend 5 hours trying to decide.
Becca already has a carseat in Texas. So I don't bring one for her. But do I check Andrew's? Or bring it on the plane? Think about that for about 4 hours. Usually at 3 in the morning when I should be sleeping not thinking about CARSEATS. Geezus.
Next come the kids' clothes. But I cannot continue. Andrew is screaming his head off and I am pretty sure no one is even reading this anymore because my neuroses have blown up the Internet. The end.
Some Update-y Odds & Ends
17 hours ago