Blog: Gretta's First Year as a Mom
Rach's fashion buddy Gretta jokes that she was thrilled to celebrate her son's birthday with a superhero-themed party in Rachael's Loft, because it means she and her man Ricky survived their first year as parents! See how they're doing, and get more details here in Gretta's blog!
"I can’t believe Kai is 1 already! It seems like he just arrived here a few days or even hours ago. This sounds cliché but bringing Kai into this world and watching him blossom has been the most profound year of my life. Every day is fuller, better -- and more chaotic -- than I ever could have imagined. I have never been an early morning person, but seeing Kai’s face looking up at me to start my day is priceless ... even before the crack of dawn. I never thought I’d be one of those moms who does silly things in public, but I forget where I am when I’m with Kai and will do anything to get a laugh or smile out of him. I also love watching Ricky with our son. It’s a huge bonus that Ricky is an entertainer because he has turned story time into full-blown theater by acting out cartoon characters and using different accents. It’s hilarious!
Becoming a mother has given me a broader perspective on life as a whole because I now see everything through Kai’s point of view as well as my own. Of course it’s my job to prepare him for life, but it’s astounding to me how much I’ve learned from him in just one year. For example, he’s taught me how to slow down, to laugh without reason, and to recognize the small things that I had long forgotten to appreciate.
We wanted to mark the milestone of Kai’s first birthday not only by throwing a party, but also by taking a trip for him to meet Ricky’s family oversees. It was a promise I made to Ricky’s family when Kai was born – before I knew what it would be like making an international trip with a baby! – and I was determined to keep my word even if it meant a last-minute splurge so we could pull it off before Kai turned 1. After all, Kai didn't need anything material for his birthday and spending time with family would be so meaningful.
Even though both Ricky and I travel a lot for work, we were very intimidated by an international flight and a lengthy trip away from home. Luckily, I asked all of my Mommy friends who have learned from trial and error over the years so I got great tips that I’m sharing with you.
If you’ve traveled with kids, you know there is a seemingly endless amount of luggage involved, especially when you’re still using a car seat and stroller like Kai. I was especially worried because when you’re going abroad there are stricter bag limitations. The best investment I made was in a Sit and Stroll. It is unbelievable because it’s a car seat that is airline compliant, can be used as a booster seat in a restaurant, and it’s on wheels so it’s also a stroller! I can’t tell you how much this saved us in baggage fees and the hassle of carrying so much stuff everywhere. Kai is a super big baby but the Sit and Stroll can hold up to 40 pounds so I will get my money’s worth by using it in both New York and California for a while longer.
One of the most stressful parts of traveling with a baby is entertaining him on a flight – especially on a long overnight trip when you don’t want to disturb everyone else on the plane. Soft toys were a savior! We brought a ton of fabric books with pop-ups as well as sponge building blocks and other toys that wouldn’t bother our neighbors. Also, we limit Kai's TV watching at home, but I brought out the big guns for this trip by letting him watch Sesame Street on my iPad.
An extra day's worth of snacks are key, especially now that airline food is a rarity and delays are common. I filled a Thermos bag with snacks including fresh fruit like seedless tangelos because they’re easy to peel, nutritious and even entertaining. We also brought one of those mesh feeders so we wouldn’t make a mess or worry about a choking hazard when Kai was eating. You can shove a banana in it or sliced apple; it takes the child forever to suck on it and believe me you’ll do anything to pass the time!
Don’t forget extra blankets, a change of clothes for everyone, and to dress your baby in pajamas. Kai did get some rest on the flight, so we wanted him to be as comfy as possible. We also packed a few things to make him more comfortable during our stay once we landed. I wasn't comfortable putting Kai in a bath that wasn't mine so I bought a portable tub for under $12 that packed flat and was lightweight - the Munchkin Inflatable Safety Duck Tub. We also bought a portable crib and playpen in one. It was a big investment but it folds into a backpack so it's portable, light, and something we'll use on the go all the time.
Instead of staying in a hotel, we decided to try renting an apartment overseas for the first time and it was the best decision! One of my clients recommended me to Parisluxeapt.com because in addition to finding us an apartment, it's an all-inclusive agency that helped us plan and coordinate our entire trip. At first I was intimidated to consider a rental in a foreign city, but now I'm a changed woman! It is so practical and convenient to have a kitchen that we stocked with Kai’s favorite foods. (His 1-year-old palette doesn’t have him quite ready to enjoy wine and cheese with us!) Plus, even though the trip was a splurge, we saved a fortune compared to staying in a comparable hotel. No matter what city you’re going to, you can typically find a short-term apartment rental through a site like Airbnb.com., which I highly recommend.
Our trip was fantastic. We started in Paris where I went to the Spring fashion shows for work and shopped to stock all my boutiques with the latest looks. Once work was out of the way, we got to enjoy the city, including a trip to the Eiffel Tower. (Insert photo) Our second stop was London, where we got to see Grandma Helen, Auntie Liz, Uncle David, and hit Cousin Abby’s 18th birthday party with Dom too. We stayed with our family in London so Ricky and I even got to squeeze in a date night. (Thank you Auntie and Uncle for babysitting!) Then I surprised Ricky with a trip to Ireland. He was raised in Ireland for some of his childhood so it meant so much to him to go back with his son. His family was waiting for us when we arrived and they greeted him with shouts of “Welcome home!” which left him in tears.
Kai may be too young to remember this trip, but we took a ton of photos that we will show him for years to come, and Ricky and I now have memories that we will cherish for life.
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