Until Zac can walk on his own, I will never fly solo with him again.
I couldn't say no when mom and dad requested that the kid celebrate his first birthday with them in the province. I wanted Zac to have a short, comfortable trip, so flying was the only way to go. I thus booked our election flight when Cebu Pacific was on sale. Cebu Pacific charges Php300.00 per way for infants (below 24 months). The hubby couldn't come with us because he was needed at work. I was therefore on my own for Zac's first flight.
Excited does not even come close to what I was feeling as May 11, 2013 approached. I mentally pictured myself with my backpack holding my and Zac's clothes (that would go on check-in); my camera for picture documentation (it was my son's first flight); and my hand-carry which will hold Zac's emergency change of clothes, and everything needed for feeding. I was confident I could handle the luggage, including Zac who couldn't walk on his own yet, but who wanted so much to walk I had no choice but to let him, otherwise he would bawl his heart out. But I'm getting ahead of the story.
I am an advocate of packing light. But this advocacy was thrown out of the window when I was packing for Zac. You cannot possibly pack light with an infant in tow. I had to have at least two change of clothes for every day that the kid was in the province. And another change of clothes for emergency situation. And lots of shirt because the kid perspires a lot. So you think kid's clothes do not weigh that much because they're teeny weeny clothes, but if you have close to a cabinet-full on your backpack, you'd think again.
Fortunately, Zac's basic needs (milk, diaper, vitamins) are available in the province so I just packed what was needed for the flight; same thing when we came back to Manila. In the Philippines, almost every province you go to sells the baby brands you use. Abroad though, it's a different story, especially when it comes to baby's milk. I guess you just have to pack on the essentials depending on how long you'll be staying on foreign land and depending on baby's milk intake.
As to how I'm going to sterilize Zac's feeding bottles, since I don't have a portable sterilizer (I didn't feel I needed one considering that I won't be traveling that much while Zac's a toddler), I made use of kettles.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a picture of Zac on his first flight. Since I was very much alone, and since Zac couldn't walk entirely on his own yet, I had to hold the kid's hand while he explored the pre-departure area. There was no opportunity therefore to document the little one's travel back home. Plus, I had to carry with me the baby bag the entire time because I kept my valuables inside the bag. Same thing happened on our way back to Manila. Not to mention that moment when Zac decided to throw a tantrum, round trip. He cried inside the plane while we were waiting for take-off to the province. The flight attendant was kind enough to stand by my side and console me while Zac was bawling, but as to why she didn't offer to carry the child so I could mix him his milk, I never understood until now. Fortunately, the kid got tired of crying and fell asleep until touchdown. Zac again threw a tantrum while we were waiting for the arrival of the plane for Manila, but that time, we were still on ground so I simply let him walk. And that time, I was prepared. As soon as we were ready to board, I mixed Zac's milk and gave it to him when we were settled in our seats. What do you know, the kid was behaved before take-off and when we were flying miles above ground, he fell asleep until touchdown.
In the province, we were met by grandma and grandpa at the airport. So waiting for the luggage wasn't a problem for me because Zac was safely in the arms of his eager grandparents. It's a different story back in Manila though. I had to position myself at the end of the baggage claim because I can't push pass the people lining the conveyor belt. I availed of the push cart service, and once I hauled all of my luggage into it, pushed it with one hand while I was carrying Zac with the other. Thank goodness the kid was behaved the entire time. Waiting for a cab was another problem. I had no choice but to pay the exorbitant fee of Php900.00 for the fixed taxi rate because the line at the metered taxi was kilometric. As soon as we boarded the cab, Zac surprised me by settling himself comfortably on the seat and asked for his water. I knew then that the kid was ready for his next travel, but I swore to myself not to do it alone. Until he can walk by himself, that is.
Looking back, it was crazy what I did. But I was glad to have survived it.