My wife and I had been planning for a while now to take Rebecca on a “test road trip”, since our daughter has mostly been a stay-at-home baby since her release from NICU.
Background: Rebecca was born about seven weeks early, with an immature immune system and premature lungs, right at the start of RSV and flu season. Premature babies are especially susceptible to RSV, which is often fatal in babies. Even parents of full-term babies are advised to keep their newborns away from crowds and to enforce the hands-washing rule before other people touch their children. Parents of premies are especially cautioned. We took this medical advice seriously, and haven’t had Rebecca out of our neighborhood except for doctor’s appointments.
But RSV season is ending, Rebecca is healthy and growing and happy, and we hope to take her to meet family and possibly friends in Oklahoma in mid- or late Spring. Before we attempted a six-hour (longer with a breast-fed baby!) road trip with her, we wanted to do a short road trip to see how she (and we) would handle it.
A while back, we decided on Ikea as our destination, and had a growing list of household items to purchase there. The distance was about right (50 minutes one-way), and Ikea is very child-friendly and accepting of breast-feeding mothers.
We waited to leave until Rebecca had fed and burped and was getting sleepy. She slept most of the way down Hwy 195 to I-35 and only woke up as we arrived. We used the family restroom to change her (and she wanted a snack at that point), and then began shopping.
Rebecca performed like a champ. I imagine that life in general can seem like sensory overload to a baby, but Ikea was probably doubly so to a baby that almost always stays home and sees/hears/feels/smells the same things. She looked and listened and seemed to enjoy it.
My wife’s soup ladle is nearing its final days, so we needed a replacement. It was either a ladle for $4.99, or a set of four utensils (including ladle) for the same price. We got the set of four. We also picked up an armload of Ikea napkins, which are our favorite napkins.
She’s also been long wanting to replace the old plastic wastebasket in my office, so she picked out a nice wire mesh trash can. And, for less than I spent on Target’s drawer organizer last week, we got two of Ikea’s drawer organizers, which are the same size and feel just as sturdy. Each time we get one, we end up with more available drawer space.
For all my future installations that will require screws and drywall anchors, I picked up a set of various sizes that cost about the same as two tiny sets from Lowes. For the cube shelves we bought last year, we bought cubical containers that fit perfectly in them. Again, we freed up some space and made the shelves look better.
Since my wife’s clothes hamper had sprung a loose metal rod (that would someday surely gouge one of us), we purchased a replacement clothes hamper for her. It’s divided inside into two compartments and holds twice as much as the last one (from Wal-Mart), for the same price. We bought another one just like it for me, and passed my old smaller one down to Rebecca.
Also, she’s outgrowing her infant bathtub, which was given to us by one of my wife’s aunts, so we bought Rebecca a bigger bathtub; again, for half the cost of the last tub, which was from Wal-Mart. Other items for Rebecca: a hanging toy holder, a high chair pad, and a set of five plain bibs.
My wife was also looking for some nice cereal and pasta storage containers, but we didn’t see any that were very good.
Rebecca fed again before we left, but stayed awake most of the car trip back home, in a good mood. These were her two longest car rides so far, and the first time my wife and I got any real experience with changing her and feeding her in a public place. Overall, I give the trip an A+. If we add in the factor that Rebecca had received another RSV shot the day before, which always upsets her for a couple of days, then the trip was brilliant.
In the evening, we unpacked our products (another thing we like about Ikea is minimal packaging and no plastic bag waste afterward) and put them away.
Rebecca slept through the night once again.