18.11.2009 - 22.06.2014
Although my first trip with my daughter taught me to be wary of mixing personal and professional trips, I did it again a month later. Why, you ask? Well, it came down to four things.
1. My attendance was required at this conference.
2. If I brought my daughter along, I wouldn't have to pump at the conference or build up a frozen milk stash to get her through the time we'd be apart.
3. The conference was in San Diego, so my sister, who lives in LA, could join us for part of the weekend.
4. This trip was planned as a family trip even before we went to Michigan.
This trip was also going to be different enough from the last one that we didn't dwell too much on comparisons. Instead of flying, we'd be driving. We'd be at a hotel, not at my parent's house. Once again, we went headlong into a journey that I had envisioned (before having my daughter) as a great family trip.
The drive to San Diego went pretty smoothly. When we arrived at our hotel, we received 2 pieces of good news: 1) we had a free upgrade to an ocean view room,
and 2) we could choose a traditional crib or a pack-and-play for our daughter. After our experience in Michigan, we decided to try the crib. When it arrived in the room, we rolled it to the window and sat my daughter in it so she could get familiar with it. She seemed happy enough.
That night, we put my daughter in the crib and everything was fine--at first. She woke up an hour later. The next several hours were a blur as my husband and I took turns through the night. We would get her asleep and lay her down in the crib, only to immediately wake up and cry. I remember wondering how long to let her cry it out before we'd upset people in the neighboring rooms (I never lasted more than a few minutes). I remember putting a couch cushion on the floor and trying to get her down on that while I laid on the floor next to her. Most of all, I remember putting my daughter in her stroller and walking laps in the hotel hallways. That is how she finally fell asleep. It was 4 AM. I decided not to take her out of the stroller. With all of her previous waking up, I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks by lifting her out. Besides, I figured that it would be hard for the stroller to work out worse than than the crib. She slept for about 4 hours. Fortunately, I had no early morning commitments the next day, because I felt like a zombie.
I also felt very worried about how I was going to make it through the conference. I think we tried the crib for naps and bedtime a couple if other times, but my daughter started crying as soon as we laid her down. On the other hand, she would stay asleep if we set her down in her car seat. After that rough first night, my daughter ended up sleeping in her car seat every night. It didn't strike me as more comfortable than the crib, but maybe I was wrong because she slept through the night every time we started in car seat.
We didn't have lots of time for sightseeing because of my conference commitments, but we did see a few things. We walked around the Gaslight District and checked out a couple of restaurants there. When my sister came in to visit, we walked through the Little Italy neighborhood and went for a drive on Coronado Island.
Our drive back was not quite as smooth as the way there. Somewhere outside of Yuma, my daughter became very upset. We pulled into a gas station and I tried to feed her. She was still crying. Because she was in a rear-facing infant seat as we traveled east, she was looking west as the sun went down. We thought that the sun might be in her eyes, so I tried holding a receiving blanket so that it would block the sun but not the rear view. She still cried. Two days later, her first tooth broke through: mystery solved!
1. Suite-style hotels are great for families. My conference had special rates at an Embassy Suites, so that's where we stayed. It was great on many levels. The suite had a layout with a completely separate bedroom and living space, so we could close the door to the room where my daughter was sleeping and be able to talk and keep lights on. The extra space overall gave my daughter more room to crawl around than in a standard hotel room. The kitchenette, with its sink, mini-fridge, and microwave, made it easy to do dishes and store bottles or opened jars of baby food.
2. Having someone to help is a lifesaver. There is no way I could have taken any of my trips without help. Most of the time it's been my husband, though we often have had other family and friends helping. On this trip, the main caretaking duties fell to my husband, who was getting over walking pneumonia at the time. He doesn't have a starring role in my posts, but these trips would not be possible without him.