The Truth about Traveling with A Toddler to NYC

Last week Giovanna and I tagged along on James’ business trip to New York City. It can be lonely to have a husband and daddy who travels for work so we might as well get something good out of it. Like a sweet hotel room right in the middle of Greenwich Village.

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If you follow me on Instagram you already know about this trip. But there’s so much hidden from the Instagram feed.

Giovanna is a trooper, a born traveler like James and I. When I woke her at 5 am to head to the airport she exclaimed “yay!!!” before she even sat up. We were out the door in less than five minutes. Never ever would she consider sleeping on the plane. Even as a baby she avoided sleeping on the plane at all costs. (And I learned to never again take a red-eye with her.)

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So she started out the trip tired. My somewhat idyllic Instagram feed did not show my girl’s jet lag nor the temper tantrums nor the resistance as I trained her to put those long little legs to use. Instagram did not reveal the tears I blinked away on the sidewalk as I pushed the stroller for (what felt like) hours to get her to nap because it was absolutely my only hope at that point, regardless of my aching lower back. Instagram did not show my feet, swollen to unrecognizable proportions after too many miles walking in the wrong boots.

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I struggled on this trip. I don’t want to write this, but it’s true.

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Two years ago I took my then one year-old to NYC. We had our moments, like at the Museum of Natural History when I was determined to get her to sleep in the stroller (sound familiar?) so I could enjoy the exhibits in peace. She wouldn’t calm down unless she could hold my hand and so I succumbed, bent over our trusty orange BOB, pushing the stroller while clutching her little hand. We don’t have two hands for nothing.

Regardless. That trip was far easier. I wore her on my back and my front and nursed her to sleep when she was tired. We went to multiple museums and explored the city with fervor.

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Sure, I am now 6 months pregnant which could not have helped my patience. But the second trimester treats me well. I have energy and ambition to burn. Mostly, our challenges arose from the simple and unavoidable fact that my baby is no longer a baby.

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Excuse me while I catch my breath.

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She’s a little girl. With expectations and determination and many quirks. This trip gave me many opportunities to observe the differences between a well-rested Giovanna and the tired version.

The well-rested Gigi can window shop and try on a beautiful pearl and “diamond” tiara and not blink when I ask her to give it back to the clerk. A tired Gigi throws a tantrum in the dressing room when I ask her to change back into her own clothes.

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A well-rested Gigi takes the bribe of a lollipop when it’s offered and savors it as we walk, walk, walk through the city. A tired Gigi takes the lollipop and a few licks later, throws it on the ground in frustration.

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No matter how many times she tested me I took the ultimate responsibility for her behavior. I brought all of this on myself. I took her to New York City when I knew James would have to spend most of the time working. I submitted to early morning flights while knowing exactly the sleep challenges we face with this girl. (These days naps only happen when she falls asleep in the stroller or the car or when she’s sick. Exhaustion seems to be irrelevant.)

And yet none of this stopped me. I crave adventure too much. I thrive on the excitement of travel, the promise of new experiences. Nothing inspires me more than foreign surroundings. Visits with good friends help, too.

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By the time the weekend arrived and I had my man around to help, the load lightened considerably. All was once again right in the world. Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am for him?

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By the time we left she learned to enjoy walking around the city. She learned that she loves American Girl dolls and Wikistix and of course, New York. That makes three of us.

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Stay tuned for trip highlights and pictures from my DSLR camera.

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9 thoughts on “The Truth about Traveling with A Toddler to NYC

  1. Your daughter is gorgeous, your writing style is fantastic and I love the pictures you took! I’m working as an au pair and will be traveling a lot with the baby, so it’s funny to read the kind of things that can happen with babies/young kids on the blog of a brave mom!
    Please check out my blog and let’s follow each other!
    http://www.juliecrombe.com

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    1. It’s been extremely cathartic to write about the process and connect with other parents over this. I can only hope that my sense of adventure continues though this next phase. A baby and a toddler together will surely throw me through a brand new loop! Another reason why I felt compelled to take a trip now.

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  2. Lucy, you just said what I have felt all along. I used to be the brave traveler , going along on all of Shaz’s work trips with Jibran in tow. And we had some great times for sure. However, I have come to realization that now with two kids tagging along on a work trip(with just a weekend thrown in)its is just not worth it, both in terms of the stress and financially (when I pay for 3 extra tickets I want to make the trip count!). So I have made my peace with the fact that for a few years I wont be living my travel dream life but will get to it eventually 🙂
    BTW You are looking lovely and Gigi her usual cute self.

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    1. Thank you for this comment, Shamayal. I am still coming to terms with this. Our new baby will change everything, again. Having young children is such a crazy and special time, it’s unavoidable that we have to put aside some of our own desires for the well-being of our littles (and ourselves). I almost said “good thing I got some of it out of my system with this trip,” but the truth is that the dream isn’t going anywhere no matter how many trips I take. If anything it seems to get worse because I remember how much I love it. Anyways. It was so good to hear from you.

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  3. We tried to take a red-eye to Florida for DisneyWorld (From Seattle) with our almost 2 year old daughter, and she didn’t sleep ONCE the whole time. Zane was just too interested in everything going on. NEVER AGAIN with the red eye for us either!

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