Traveling with Babies - Part One

Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest column Little darling, it’s been a long cold rainy winter here in the Bay Area. (I know, I know. It’s really brutal everywhere else, but I’m a California Girl and my blood is thin) When my boss told me we would be spending February break at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu I was completely consumed with gratitude that my awesome employers had the resources to travel with their Nanny. And, that they were extremely cool people that I adore spending time with.

Rule number one of travel: Never go anywhere with assholes. Seriously. Someone reading this is right at this moment thinking about that unfortunate road trip they took with their Drama-Queen-Sorority-Sister/Whiney-Cousin/Bitchy-Brother-in-law/Overbearing-Employer or Needy-Nanny. Make sure that the people that you travel with are the lot that you would look forward to spending six hours with on a plane, coasting around in a cramped rental car or camping out in a hotel room while your beach day gets rained out. In the employment world this cannot be a guarantee, but it certainly makes it better.

Rule number two of travel: If you are going to be travelling with small little people, be prepared for any and every type of disaster that could happen from exploding diapers to a large scale earthquake.

Our disaster was a six-hour flight delay. We had sauntered into the San Francisco airport with fully stocked carryon bags for each child, containing numerous snacks, diapers, pull-ups, wipes, and a variety of entertainment, in electronic, sticker board and book form. We had bought our gum and tabloids. We had gleefully boarded our plane and settled into our seats. And then we sat. And sat. At first we were waiting for a flight from Boston (where it is truly cold) so those passengers could make their connection to Honolulu. Then it was some small problem with the air conditioning or the wings or the engines or something vaguely important for a six-hour flight over the ocean. We sat and waited over an hour for maintenance to arrive.

“Twenty bucks we end up switching planes.” I said to my boss, holding the Girl Baby on my lap and entertaining her with Dora stickers.

It was when they announced that we would be waiting yet another hour that I became aware that the man across the aisle was glancing at me in such a manner that could only be described as creepy. He was smiling at me and shaking his head in such a way that his thought bubble would have read, “You are such a dirty little Bunny!”

Finally I stared back at him and demanded, “What?”

He said in a thick European accent, “I am sorry. I am from overseas and I have never seen such a family as yours.”

The Girl Baby needed a change of venue as this exchange was going on, and I stood up and handed her to her mother.

“What are you talking about?”

He now addressed my Mom Boss and myself.

“Can I take your picture?” He was in his overhead bin and pulling out a camera. “We don’t see this in my country.”

And he began snapping away at our startled faces.

“Holy crap,” I mouthed to my Mom Boss, “he thinks we’re in a plural marriage!”

“We are not a polygamy family!” My Mom Boss shouted at him, holding her hands over the children’s faces lest they end up in some sort of salacious article in a Swedish newsletter. “This is our Nanny!”

We decided to beat the crowd and exit the plane, which was clearly not going anywhere. We were rebooked on the 5pm flight, and retired to the First Class lounge where we recharged every cell phone, computer, iPod and Game Boy while the children snacked on the complimentary cookies and carrot sticks, dropping huge crumbs on the floor until our little area looked liked rampaging rock stars had just rolled through. One guy, hugely fat in unfortunate denim shorts, actually hissed “pigs” at us as we caravanned out, a carnival of strollers and carry-ons and all those neck pillows we had just had to buy five hours earlier. We boarded our new plane and sat with our fingers crossed until we taxied to the gate. We were on our way! And only one hour after we already should have landed in Oahu!

It’s a weird thing how small children who have just spent many hours in an airport with no naps with not get tired once settled into cozy plush first class seats that fold out into beds. Our children seemed to be on some sort of speed. The Girl Baby pointed out the window and repeatedly squealed, “Deda ook ki!” (Rebecca, Look, Sky) for three full hours. The Four-year-old boy only wanted to sit under his seat, and happily spent most of the flight burrowing. We did many laps to the rear of the plane and back again. Thirty minutes before landing we got the Girl Baby to sleep. The boy powered through and exited the plane dragging his own bag.

“Where are we?” He asked, zigzagging through the Honolulu airport.

“Hawaii.” I said, breathing in the warm air and smiling. “Finally!”
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at
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Anonanny said...

My bosses and I have been mistaken for a plural marriage or triad before too, most often when we take the kids to the doctor. Unusual family structures aren't uncommon in our area, but we still get a lot of funny looks and comments, probably because we're all Caucasian and fairly close in age.

People often think the children are mine when I take them out alone, but when all three of us attend something -watch out! We have a great family dynamic and I do feel a bit like a second wife at times, but there's definitely no hanky-panky going on here!

Blythe said...

Number 1 is the most important rule ever. I have travelled with "my" family multiple times (including with just the grandparents and kids to a remote cabin), and have had a fantastic experience each and every time. Good employers are the best.

Swanyway said...

I agree with the guy in the first class lounge; you do sound like pigs. And "squealing" babytalk repeatedly? Not ok.

Rebecca Lubin said...

Hey Swanyway - I forgot to mention that all of us also had incredibly phlegmy head colds. So while we were acting like pigs and squealing baby talk we were also sneezing and coughing and spreading cold viruses everywhere. How you like me now?

MissDee said...

Hey Swanway: Are you ignorant all the time? The baby may be LEARNING to talk, and babies will repeat things because they like how it sounds. The children, most likely the baby is LEARNING how to be independent by self-feeding with solid foods. The 4 year old was most likely fascinated with the airplane, the clouds, and the experience, which was a LEARNING experience.

The key here is LEARNING. I am sure the children in your care are learning to be ignorant, because you are. I feel sorry for your charges. Rebecca was doing her job, so you can stop insulting her.

toonces the cat who would drive a car said...

with no naps with not get tired once

Also, if you are traveling to Hawaii first class, shouldn't you make more money than you do per week? I feel as if you are underpaid.

Rebecca Lubin said...

Thank you Miss Dee. Your comment was right on.

Toonces - I appreciate the editing but the rest of your comment confused me. I've never, nor would I ever, discuss my contract with my employers or my compensation and benefits package. That's nobody's business but my own. I don't know why you would assume I'm underpaid as you don't know me, but I assure you, I'm not gonna run out of groceries anytime soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go and buy my boyfriend a big fat steak.

world's best nanny said...

People think that my charges are my children as well. Both MB and DB are tall with cool blue eyes, blondish hair and of Scandinavian descent. Their children follow suit. All blond, one close to white, blue eyes, and skin that requires SPF 250! I am of Latino/Mediterranean descent. I am of average height, chubby, black hair and the occasional black mustache LOL!! Yeah the kids and I look so much alike!

MissDee said...

WBN: When I was 16, I had my sister's kids 2-3 full days a week with my dad's ex-wife, my sister's mother. I am half Serbian (my father) and 1/4 German/Dutch (my mother). My sister is 1/2 Serbian and 1/2 Italian (her mother). Her kids are 1/4 Serbian and 3/4 Italian (their father) I remember taking her kids to the store when I was 18, and someone thought they were mine! I had short dishwater blond hair at the time and my dark blue eyes with green-gold in the middle. My nephew had dark brown hair and hazel eyes, his sister, who was a baby at the time, had jet black hair and dark brown eyes.

When I nannied in 2004, N was 6 months old at the time, and everytime we would go for a walk, people thought she was mine.

Rebecca De Mornay was confused....

wow said...

I've never read one of your posts all the way though - but after doing so and reading other posts on this board about families being 'cheap' with their nannies...I have to say, you are living an awesome life. I think your post illustrates the great disparity of wealth in this country. Sure many families have nannies but most, although they can afford to pay someone to watch their dc in their home while they work, aren't able to afford trips to Hawaii with said nanny. I think a lot of nannies just starting out read posts like this and expect that yours is the 'typical' nanny life and figure they will land a similar gig if they have a college degree. It's a bit misleading and probably describes about 1% of nanny situations in this country. You sound like a wonderful nanny who works for a very wealthy family. I always wonder when I see people posting here that they have decided to seek out a career as a nanny with their teaching degree- I think they assume they will be living this type of life

Nanny Who Shops @ Wal-mart For Her Family...................... said...

I agree with Wow..that Rebecca must surely be making more money working as a nanny than most of us on here do. While I respect the fact that Rebecca does not want to disclose how much she makes, she obviously is enjoying rubbing in the fact that she has more than enough to buy groceries and judging by her comment about buying her BF "a big fat steak" it shows she is enjoying flaunting her wealth a bit.
I am a nanny and wish I could just buy myself a "big fat steak." Unfortunately, my salary doesn't cover that. It covers my rent, cell phone bill, gas (our gas prices are skyrocketing every day out here in Bakersfield!), diapers for my son and if there is any "extra" money left...perhaps a nice long overdue haircut for myself.
I think if you want an accurate description of the nanny profession, skip over Rebecca's columns and read some of the posts by us other nannies. Reality will surely speak for itself.

Taleia said...

Are we seriously bashing Rebecca because she's lucky? Seriously? LOL!

My employers are not rich, but they are incredibly generous people who give me lots of love, respect, and tons of perks, gifts, etc, in addition to my paycheck. We have a great relationship. Am I "flaunting" it when I post or tell people about nice things they've done for me?

As for me, I love reading Rebecca's posts... I am glad that she has a great family to work for. I also feel sorry for the nannies up here who have posted about their horrible situations.

Give Rebecca a break! :)

Rebecca said...

Walmart Nanny - I am really sorry if my comment upset you as I was not being serious but rather being totally sarcastic in response to that idiotic comment that Toonces made. Bash me all you want, but bash my bosses and I'll come out swinging!
Some people seem to be reading into things and making wild assumptions this week. I'm a pig. I'm underpaid. I'm overpaid. Good God! Can you guys back off a bit? It's my birthday tomorrow!

Lola said...

Happy birthday!:) While anything can be annoying to any one at any given time (ummm) a happy baby is surely better than, for example, my 2 month old daughter crying (and screaming) for a very long trans-american flight some years ago. I tried everything but her little ear drums hurt, poor baby :(*** But then again they did invent earphones and ear plugs many years before that! It is hard traveling with kids!! One time after 4 hours on the plane a woman turned around and said (very, very angrily) "your son has been kicking my seat for four hours" !!! My daughter was 6 years old (she is very much a girl, but the woman did not bother to turn around and see that for herself) and so I told her to stop (with a hug and kiss as she didn't really know better) then said to the woman "you should have said something sooner!" My point is, there are ways to avoid being annoyed if you try. And I think Rebecca is trying to say that on a plane, you cant really avoid anybody or anything sitting near you (babies, four year olds, running noses). You can't expect kids to stop being kids just because you're all stuck on a plane!

nycmom said...

We travel with our nanny sometimes and I enjoyed reading this. Travel is hard work, hopefully worth it at the destination, but I am always SOOOO grateful when we bring our nanny as she makes everything so much easier. Kudos to traveling nannies everywhere who have made vacations for families 100X more enjoyable!

sharon said...

Great column as usual rebecca.Your comment about the steak was facetious not sarcastic;0) Irony and satire can get you into trouble because many people don't understand it as a literary device. It's my favorite form of humor - the next stake is on me!

sharon said...

i think you know i meant steak LOL

jojo bear your life is calling said...

I wouldn't get out of bed unless I made atleast $200 a day. The job is too hard. If you can't buy your boyfriend a steak, even a small, fatty steak at Walmart, you're being burned by your employers.

jojo bear your life is calling said...

I meant buy YOURSELF a steak. Whether or not you have a boyfriend can not be blamed on y our employers.

sharon said...

like your posts jo jo - we need more good hearted whimsy on this blog!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Happy Birthday Rebecca! I hope you have a great day! :)

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