Parents of older children seem to have selective amnesia about the early months of childhood, particularly the first three months, and I have heard many say, “Oh, those are the most wonderful months.” Actually, the first three months are THE WORST, unless you enjoy severe sleep deprivation, short tempers, and the fear that your baby will explode from its own ear-splitting screams. However, one thing is true. Infants are relatively easy to travel with, because they can’t move that much, seem impervious to noise, and sleep a lot, and for longer stretches in a car than at home.
During the first few days when we were still in the hospital, the idea of traveling with our newborn—”Do it while they’re infants, while they’re easy” visitors kept telling us—seemed completely insane. We were worried enough about getting him the five miles home. But I soon learned that when you speak of easy and baby, you must redefine the word easy. Nothing is easy with a baby in the way that, say, it’s easy to eat ice cream. Things with a baby are only easy relative to other things being totally impossible. It’s easy to hike up the Grand Canyon when compared to flapping your arms and flying into outer space.
It is important to travel with your baby early on if for nothing else than your confidence that you have the ability to do so. Whether or not this helps your child’s development is really not important. If children who travel have a better chance of being well adjusted, achieving higher test scores, and becoming successful in business, I could not care less. The reason you travel with your baby is for you— so that you get out of the house and get out in the world, and you can sit on the beach with a beer yet fulfill your parental duty by keeping an eye on your child.
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But even if your vacation becomes a total meltdown, at least the view is better. The meltdown would have happened anyway.