Miss H is a big girl now and preparing to visit grandma and grandpa all on her own for 5 nights! This is huge! And, of course fills me with a weird mix of excitement, anxiety and sadness. For starters, while Mr. H has left her for multi-day work trips, I have never left her overnight. Ever. I put her to bed almost every night and wake her up every morning! Over the past 15 months I’ve either slept with a baby by my side or a monitor (blaring white noise) by my head.
All grown up and ready to travel on her own!
Beyond what a big occasion this is for me as a mother, it’s a big deal in general. Mr. H and I know her schedule, her likes and dislikes, how to interpret her little baby sign language signs and her babbled baby words. And while my parents are absolutely wonderful with her and love her to pieces, they don’t have the opportunity to spend as much time with her on a regular basis.
So, as the trip gets nearer, here is what we’re doing to prep for it:
One-on-One Grandparent Time
My parents came up to visit recently, primarily to give Miss H the chance to spend some more time with them before her visit. While they were here, Mr. H and I went out to lunch so that Miss H had some great time with her grandparents without mom and dad hanging around! It also gave them the opportunity to see how much she has grown and changed since their last visit (and how fast she’s gotten!). The visit was a great success and will hopefully make the transition a little bit easier.
Detailed Schedule & Food List
We’ve provided my parents with a very detailed daily schedule for Miss H, along with a full list of everything she likes to eat (which is a lot!). And, fortunately, there really isn’t anything she doesn’t like or has a bad reaction to. We’ve also included how we prep her food and provided some basic recipes for food that they can make in preparation for her visit. We also detailed out examples of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so they have a feel for how big her meals are.
Streamlined Where We Could
To make sure the visit is easier for everyone, we’ve found opportunities to streamline certain elements of Miss H’s life. We will have them use disposable diapers instead of cloth (no extra laundry for them!). Individual outfits will be packed in Ziploc bags and labeled so they can simply grab a bag for the day and don’t have to worry about what matches what. All other items will be packed strategically so that utensils/places/sippy cups are packed together in one bag and tooth brush/toothpaste/shampoo/etc will be in another bag. We’ve also been able to transition Miss H to one mid-day nap successfully (our goal by this trip) and transitioned her completely off of a bottle!
Strategic “Hand Off”
Because my parents live 3+ hours away, it’s easiest to find a mid-way point to meet them. Fortunately there is an IKEA along the way, so we will be meeting there. It works out incredibly well because on a weekday morning, it will not be busy and we can easily let Miss H run around the store while she warms up to my parents again. We can easily give her a snack there and change her diaper – IKEA is such a family friendly place. And we will be able to time it out so that when they leave with her, it will be right around her nap time so (fingers crossed!) she’ll nap the rest of the journey.
Keep Myself Busy
The day after Miss H goes to my parents’ house, Mr. H and I will be catching a flight. I’m already planning about 27 projects to do around the house before we leave! I won’t lie — I’m nervous about what it will be like to be in a baby-free house overnight – it will feel so empty! And strange to not be tip-toeing around. One of my biggest projects will be painting – many of the doors in our house need a fresh coat of paint. I plan to stay busy busy busy tackling a bunch of projects that I can’t easily do with Miss H in the house!
I know all of this prep work and planning may not make it easy on the day, but at the very least it helps me feel like I have some control over the situation. The trip Mr. H and I are taking is not one I necessarily needed to go on (it’s a work trip for him), but I put myself in this position because I knew that it would be important for all of us. There always had to be a first time Miss H went somewhere for a few days without us, and I knew there would be a first time where I would leave her for a few days. While it might have been nice to separate these two “firsts,” the opportunity didn’t arise so we’ll be doing both at the same time! But I’m excited for my parents to have some much time with her, and I’m secretly excited for all of the sleep and relaxation I’ll have during those few days! I’m daydreaming about all of the books I’ll be able to read.
I’m excited to share a “Part 2″ after we’ve actually taken the trip – how both of our trips went, and how it felt to not have a baby in my arms for a few days (sniffle!).
If you’ve left your LO before, how did it go? Was it harder than you thought it would be?