After visiting 2 countries and 4+ different cites and experiencing a wedding from a completely different culture and seeing 8 friends from college, the first question I get, everytime, is "How was traveling with the baby?" Exotic trips to Europe aren't foreign to anyone, most have been there done that, but traveling with a 9 month old, now THAT is interesting.
First, I will begin with what went wrong (since that's what everyone really wants to hear...) I realized quickly, but not soon enough, I did not pack correctly for the first set of plane rides. I had plenty of food, diapers and toys, but I forgot a diaper-changing mat, an extra change of clothes and the Bjorn. Airports are dirty. And when you are traveling for 16 hours or so, the kid has got to get down and crawl at some point, and the diapers claim to only last 12 hours, so a change has got to happen as well. Needless to say, by the time we landed in Dublin, the kid was disgusting (I was tempted to burn the clothes, if they weren't so gosh-darn cute).
The biggest thing that went wrong? The people we sat next to on the 7 hour flight from Chicago to Dublin. They were weird. And gross. And loud. And by "they" I generally just mean the dad. The others were just weird, but tolerable. I, personally, dry heaved at least 3 times just from observing this man's general behavior. He had little tiny hands, and huge facial features. And picked his nose until it was bloody...ugh, I could go on, but I think the picture has been painted.
At one point, all the internal lights were out, the attendants were done with all their business and 90% of the plane was asleep. Brock, too, was uncomfortably asleep in Matt's lap, and had been for a couple hours or so, when all of a sudden: crunch, Crunch, CRunch, CRUNch,
CRUNCH! this guy had opened a bag of those hard as a rock, kettle cooked potato chips from Panera! Brock, of course, woke up in a tizzy and started wailing. Matt became unbelievably paniked, and I quickly scooped up the boy and stood up to rock him back into slumber. I truly believe they [he] cost us $150 and 4 years of my sanity. We were in such a hurry to get off the plane, away from them, we left a bottle nipple, some of Brock's snacks and most importantly, the baby plane ticket (thus having to repurchase it for the flight back). And to make matters worse, they cut us in de-boarding the plane. That should get it's own pet peeve post; planes are de-boarded in order, it's a fact.
I would also like to add, Brock now hates traveling. I am sure of it. He hates Ireland. He hates Denmark. He hates planes, trains and automobiles. To him, these things all equal confinement. I am not sure he will ever be able to ride in that little Chicco umbrella stroller ever again. EVER.
As far was what went "right". Well, that really depends on how you look at it. To the outsider, yes, everything went right. We received numerous compliments on the behavior of our child on flight (behavior = silence). But these people were not trying to contain this child. He insists on seeing everything, touching everything, crawling everywhere, standing, sitting, biting, digging his nails into my arm, jabbing his foot into my stomach, pulling my hair, going to dad, going back to mom, reaching for the beverage cart, reaching for the overhead light, pulling dad's hair... in other words, compliment deserving flight for others equals hell for us. The relief one feels when the baby finally succumbs to sleep is indescribable. This relief is magnified by hundreds, when traveling in the bulkhead seat of the aircraft because a bassinet attaches firmly to the wall in front of you. Amazing.
All in all, I would do it again. Having my baby with me for the 10 days made things absolutely more difficult, but outweighed the consequences of leaving him home. (And, not to mention, he makes for much more beautiful and fun vacation photos.)