Taking our baby to Japan was a must! Hitoshi’s mom wanted us to wait until baby was one year old though and I was happy to oblige. Keeping the peace and going with the flow is better for everyone.
Then a fantastic seat sale came along that could have us in Japan before the magical one year mark! We got blessings from Hitoshi’s mom, my parents surprised us by announcing they would come too, and we slapped down the credit card to make the trip a go.
Japan is my second home. I barely thought about what the experience post-arrival would be like because I didn’t care! Whatever we did in Japan would be A-okay.
What occupied my mind, almost to the point of breaking, was getting to Japan.
It all started with a car seat
We bought baby a seat on the plane so we could take the car seat. I read on several forums that babies flying in car seats were safest, especially during unexpected turbulence. We also needed a car seat in Japan.
Babies do not fly free internationally on Air Canada and for $200 above flying on my lap, baby could have a seat in economy. Air Canada does not accept car seats in business because of the seat configurations.
The car seat idea was great until I compared baby’s car seat to Air Canada’s seat widths. While the car seat would fit on the domestic flight, it was not going to fit on the international one, or so I thought.
I started looking to buy another car seat that was smaller and therefore guaranteed to fit. The one car seat I found that could apparently fit anywhere on any plane was not available in Canada.
I then imagined different scenarios including flying with the arm rests up to fit the car seat, trying to remember if arm rests had to be up or down in flight.
Then I thought we should take a pre-trip trip to try the car seat.
Hmmm… is there a demonstration plane at the airport? I could try the car seat out there! When I get desperate, I focus on solutions.
Common sense somehow found its way home to my skull and I realized that these options were silly. I bought a bag that was big enough to fit the car seat. If we had to gate check it, I was covered. Plus I had an extra bag for souvenirs, like a haul of plastic folders from the Y100 store!
A week before the trip and with the bag in view, I finally gave this potential disaster a rest and moved to other imagined issues.
Maybe we’ll be the only ones!
My next fears had to do with the flight itself. Would we have a confrontation with an irate passenger who got the seat in front of baby and couldn’t recline because of the car seat? I eventually reasoned that the irate passenger could sit elsewhere.
I then checked in online at exactly the earliest point I could and examined the seat map. Hurray! There were exactly three seats together with an empty seat in front of the middle one where baby was going to sit! Issue solved.
I worried about baby’s ears while taking off and landing since I couldn’t breastfeed. I played out a drama in my mind.
With wild eyes and shrill, crescendo voice directed at flight attendants: “I don’t care if the seatbelt sign is on. My kid is screaming!! I’m breastfeeding or else!!!”
Despite the increased blood pressure that this announcement gave me, I sort of let it go.
The last worry is one that probably all parents have for the first airplane trip with a child or going anywhere in public. It is unlike the previous ones, which are likely only shared with a few other over-conscientious, detail-oriented, social-pleasing mothers.
Would baby scream for the entire 11 hour international flight, only letting up when eating? Would I scream for the entire 11 hour international flight?
I imagined both of us screaming the entire flight and thought this wouldn’t be entirely off point.
Air Travel ===> Anxiety
Air travel is best when I’m alone. It worsened when my love, Hitoshi, and I started travelling together. Add offspring and I was a mess, and we hadn’t even left the ground!
To find out what actually happened, head over to part 2!
Are you a parent who will be travelling for the first time with your baby-chan? Have you travelled with one or more babies and lived to tell about it? No cheating! Your kids must have completed the trip, too. 😀