Parenthood is exhausting, but I’m really proud of the way Mr. Ice Cream and I are raising M. It’s fair to say that most days we are raising a pretty happy kid. That’s why when Mr. Ice Cream had a work related trip to San Francisco, we jumped at the chance to drop M off with his grandparents, Pops and Bebe, in Chicago. But this was going to be a trip loaded with firsts – first flight, first night away from home, first extended time away from us – so needless to say my anxiety was at an all time high. But like most things in life, reality rarely meets expectations.



A number of people gave us the advice to travel early, but we didn’t really take it to heart. When M was 4 months old we took him on his first road trip to Chicago (14 hours). Even though we split the driving across two days, the drive was anything but easy. M had just started sitting up and was not happy being strapped in a carseat. That problem has only gotten worse now that he is older and is in perpetual motion.

I kept telling myself that all kids are different and that one friend’s horror story wasn’t necessarily going to translate to M. But in reality there is no way to know how your child is going to react to a new experience. I naturally assumed the worst and tried to plan for everything.



We gave M a dose of Tylenol in the morning in case his ears bothered him. We arrived at the airport early so M could run around. Two outfit changes later M was rubbing his eyes as our flight was being called to board. Everything was going as planned, then an announcement came on that our flight was delayed for an unknown amount of time. For the next hour and a half, we used every trick to keep M awake and entertained. Somehow we succeeded and boarded the plane with an exhausted baby. M fell asleep before the plane took off and woke up as the plane was taxiing to the gate at our destination. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We made it through M’s first flight

First flight
First flight


  • I don’t know if the Tylenol was necessary, but until M can tell us the pressure doesn’t bother him, I don’t see any harm in giving him Tylenol before a flight.
  • Don’t worry about getting your child an exciting new toy. You are going to have an unbelievable amount of luggage already. If your child is like mine, then the on-flight magazine or whatever is in your purse will be exciting enough.
  • Check your bags!
  • Special Snacks. While special snacks are great, they only distract your child for about 5 minutes.


Here are the items that helped us the most.



The plan was to drop M with Pops and Bebe near baggage claim and circle back through security during our 1 hour layover. Since Mr. Ice Cream was on a work trip and therefore couldn’t miss our next flight, we decided I would take M and his things down to the meeting point, then rush back up through security and (hopefully) join Mr. Ice Cream on the flight to San Fran.

We walked off the plane and Pops and Bebe were standing there waiting for us (with a huge bag of Garett’s popcorn!)! They were able to get guest passes to go through security. We kissed M goodbye, he happily reached for Pops and left us without a tear.



M is a pretty easy going baby, but he had never spent the night away from home. We were confident he would have a great week with his grandparents, but we were nervous how he would sleep in a new house and a new room.


Bebe went above and beyond to make M’s room away from home comfortable. And he slept like a baby. Here are some of the details she added.

Max's room at Pops and Bebe. I love the mobile Bebe made from old ties.
Max’s room at Pops and Bebe. I love the mobile Bebe made from old ties.


Rocking chair that used to belong to Mr. Ice Cream. Rocking chair that used to belong to Mr. Ice Cream.


Sleeping like a baby.
Sleeping like a baby.

Once we were in San Francisco, Mr. Ice Cream and I fell into our child-free days amazingly easily and had a great and relaxing time. How did your first trip away from baby go?