Flying Solo

Leia has flown a good amount for a one year old. To Ohio and back, to Hawaii and back and she has done great. This is my first trip where I am the only parent and her first trip as a toddler. We finished the first leg of the trip, flying to Kansas to see my best friend and her new baby. Leia did great. It is definitely different having a toddler as opposed to say a 4 month old. I encourage new parents, travel with your tiny one, it seems the easiest time to travel to me! When you have only one child and they are totally portable and sleep a lot its pretty cool!  Even though Leia doesn’t sleep the way she did when she was younger, she still is pretty contained in my Beco carrier ( I can’t say enough how much a must have for me that thing has been and is!!) and she did sleep the second flight of the trip, everyone around remarked at what a great flyer she was 🙂 Even when she is awake she seemed to be pretty relaxed. I know a meltdown could always happen, that’s life with little ones and you know at the end of the day its OK, traveling with little ones, or really parenting at all I think requires a lot of telling yourself “just be cool! babies cry, kids get tired it will pass and you do your best to be considerate to others, but babies have a right to air travel too, I mean really is she never allowed to visit grandparents? So far no one has given us a dirty look, of course she hasn’t really had a big meltdown on a plane yet, but still I think most people are pretty understanding, most people at some point in their lives do have kids anyway.

When I am setting out on a trip with Leia I kind of visualize how it will go I think. I kind of think through when I will get what out, what I need in what pocket or bag, etc. Maybe I have issues, but it seems to help, taking it one step at a time and thinking it out a bit before hand. However, I felt like today was just not going according to my visualizing 🙂 First, security at LAX not only took forever, but it is a rather poorly designed airport in my opinion, at least not up to par for the post 9/11 security frenzy, and I felt like I was waved on more than usual, it was a long walk just to get to the security line they would let us go through. Then I have the huge car seat now, up until this point it was just the infant car seat but my plump princess has outgrown that and I was forced to take the huge convertible car seat. I decided to gate check it because I have had plenty of lost bags and hated the thought of showing up to my destination stranded at the airport. I had a little strap that attached the seat to a rolling bag . It is a pretty clever little device and Leia can even ride in her car seat like a makeshift stroller. Here is a link if you are intrested: http://www.amazon.com/Traveling-Toddler-Seat-Travel-Accessory/dp/B000JHN3AS/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1335670525&sr=1-1

It is still pretty awkward to wheel around though and the really bad thing is that you have to take it off for security and when you gate check the seat. I think it is a good invention if you are traveling with another adult, it isn’t hard to attach and detach, but when you are alone with a baby strapped to you it is cumbersome to say the least.  I just don’t think I realized how much more tiring it would be being alone, but I have confidence it will seem easier by the end of the trip 🙂

Now that I am here at my friends house I see just what a toddler Leia is! It is so much harder to keep after her in a new surrounding than our tiny house! She is never still now! My “no” seems to get her attention less than at home too :/ Life is certainly an adventure with a toddler in tow, but I love being with whether at home or on the road! Next stop is Ohio after a couple days here in Kansas, may the force be with us!

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That’s My Girl!

Leia took her first steps on Wednesday and she is doing really well walking it seems to me. It was so amazing and weird to see her suddenly start walking around without grabbing on to something. All this right before her first birthday on Sunday. She is becoming less baby and more little girl every day. Since she was born I have often been confronted with an overwhelming sense of parental pride when I look at her. It is like nothing I have ever experienced, when I see her interacting with other kids or doing something new, sometimes just looking at her doing nothing in particular my heart really feels like it will burst with love and amazement!

It makes me think about the nature of parental pride. We all know pride is sinful, it’s even the root of all sin at heart,  but clearly there are things that we call pride that are good healthy feelings.  I find as Leia grows so fast this sense of love and pride I have for her really helps to balance out the bittersweet truth that hey she isn’t a baby anymore!  Paul talks about being proud of his spiritual children too in his letters. I think language must be failing us a bit. Delighting in the success of someone you love and being thankful for them I think is really what I am describing and maybe we just don’t have a word for it, but it seems a Godly emotion if ever there was one to me.

However, how quickly this emotion could turn into something else. I will admit  it is hard for me to imagine Leia really being bad. I am sure when she is two this will be pretty apparent that she can be. But now it is very easy when I see other older kids being disobedient or mean to other kids I find my heart thinking, hmm my Leia won’t act like that.  We can all think of kids that we don’t like if we are honest, I know this was true as a teacher! Every year I saw kids that clearly were not disciplined by their parents, and whose parents were constantly making excuses for their own children’s bad behavior making them kids no one wants to play with or be around! A healthy parental “pride” can turn into a huge blindspot it seems!

How to remember that sweet little angel baby in my arms is a human being and all that comes with that? She is not exempt from the fall and neither am I. I think the first step is daily working on being more humble myself. Prayerfully being aware of my own weaknesses and blind spots in my life. Try not to fall prey to being prideful in my mothering abilities (I am sure the moment I am prideful about that one of my kids will do something to bring me back down to earth ;).

Then I think seeing her behavior for what it is. I know when little toddlers are naughty sometimes it can be so hard not to laugh because it is so cute!  Seeing a little kid try to hide eating that extra cookie, or make up a wild story to cover up for doing something they know they weren’t supposed to can be pretty hilarious and adorable. Lying is lying though! It isn’t just being naughty it is sin. I have to be on my guard about seeing it and dealing with it for what it is so I can help her see it for what it is.

Of course the more humble I am and aware of my own failings, the more compassionate and loving I can be as I help her navigate through hers too.  I think it is really important to be real with my kids when I sin too, especially when I sin against them. I think it is a strength and not weakness to practice humility in front of them, so I pray I have the wisdom to do it!

Well, enough reflecting, now I have to make a birthday cake for the most awesome girl ever!! 😉