Thursday, April 28, 2011

Traveling with kids & a pain in the neck

Travel Smart TS4422FNR Inflatable Neck Rest with CoolMaxMemory Foam Travel Neck Pillow

On my latest family vacation with my children, on the long flights that took us from Vancouver, Canada to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, I realized I dearly missed one item: my neck pillow.

As I napped or slept or dozed on board various airplanes, my head dropped to one side or the other, straining and pulling on all sorts of muscles and vertebrae and ligaments: quite literally giving me a pain in the neck.

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Comfort Travel Pillow,CharcoalSamsonite Double Comfort Travel Pillow with Pouch, Grey

Once upon a time, before I traveled with kids, I always brought my inflatable, gray neck pillow on any and all flights. It came with a little pouch that it fit into when deflated. It was easy to stash in my hand luggage. And it sometimes made me feel a little silly when I blew it up and stuck it on the back of my neck on board.

Once I had kids, I forgot about the neck pillow. I think I might have brought it with me once when my son was still a baby, but the thing is: I didn't use it anymore. Why? Because I never felt relaxed enough to remove it from its pouch, blow it up and pop it on.

There was just so much going on while I was on the airplane: a baby to put in the cot or hold on my lap, bottles or breastfeeding to attend to, utensils to be unwrapped, diapers to change, spilled food to deal with, bathroom visits to get up for, and so on. Who had time for neck pillows?

And then, on our latest trip, the kids were entertaining themselves for long periods of time by watching TV-shows or movies or sleeping with their heads resting on one of my legs or arms. They didn't need my help every 2 seconds. Just like that, I was traveling with a preschooler and a school-aged child, rather than with an infant, a baby, or a toddler.

And all of a sudden I did have time to miss that darn neck pillow.

Just enough of a pillow to prop my head up to avoid that sore back and neck and shoulders. Just enough of a pillow to prevent me from looking like my head was about to fall off and roll away towards the back of the plane. Just enough of a pillow to avoid that pinch of a tension headache when I woke up.

Next trip, that neck pillow is coming with me. Not that I know where it is anymore, though the best bet is in the downstairs storage room, underneath the boxes of Christmas decorations and rolled up camping gear, inside a long-unused carry-on. If I'm lucky, it won't even have a leak in it.

Alligator Noodle Head Travel Buddies Travel PillowPlush Trav Buddies Orange Bunny 11"

Maybe I'll get the kids one each too. Or maybe I'll let them use me as their travel pillow for a while longer. After all, it won't last. Nothing ever does. Not even childhood, or a long-haul flight.

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