Deciding to go
An invitation to a family wedding in Quebec City was the perfect excuse. Despite being married for a couple of years, I still hadn’t met any of my husband’s Quebecois family. Nor had our son. It happened that this wedding was the same week as my son’s first birthday. We knew we had to go!
Having returned to work only six weeks before we set out on our little adventure, my cabin fever had started to settle, but was still pretty consistently nagging at me. When we booked this time off I instantly felt free – I was going to explore again! I would get to be… me!.. again.
The journey begins…
I have to admit, a 10 hour trip, which turned into 14 hours in a car with an 11 month old isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. A bit ambitious, perhaps? Many stops made things interesting for the baby, and broke up the trip for us. But after passing Montreal, we hit terrible traffic… and it was down hill from there. At that point, you can’t really blame the baby. I wanted to bust out of that car too!
We stayed at an Airbnb, which I will link for you because it was really great. Truly. We shared a two-bedroom condo with one of my closest friends and her partner.
Limoilou, the neighbourhood we stayed in, reminded me of Brooklyn. Cute, close to everything but quiet, lots of small shops and independent restaurants. I could definitely get used to that area! I would stay in that same apartment in that same neighbourhood time and again.
We had one week to spend, with a day at either end entirely devoted to travel, and one full day of wedding festivities – not a lot of time to see everything we wanted. We also had plans mid-week to celebrate the baby’s first birthday with a picnic and cake smash in the park.
I have to admit that we fit in a lot, but it wasn’t always easy. Thankfully, meal time and bedtime proved as painless as possible. Nap time, not so much.
In spite of a wonky sleep schedule, we managed to explore the Old City, including some shops, restaurants and the Chateau Frontenac. We took a day trip to see Sainte Anne-de-Beaupre Basilica and take a whale watching cruise from Tadoussac. We saw an incredible fireworks display over the water, and spent quality time with friends and family.
I have to mention how accommodating my husband was through this whole experience – he often skipped out on dinner so that I could spend time with our friends while Nikolas could be comfortably in bed before the fussy hours started. I don’t know how couples go with a baby alone… maybe one day we will find out.
Flying solo…with a baby
Fast forward to the morning after the wedding, and Nikolas and I are being dropped off at the airport. Because my husband had more vacation time than I did, I had to fly home, and I offered to take the baby with me, rather than test his patience on another car ride.
I have to say, flying such a short distance with a one-year-old was a breeze! I would relive that flight over and over and over again! We flew with Porter Airlines (who have the best service around, if you ask me!) from Quebec City to Toronto Island airport. It takes approximately 1.5 hours. I selected a flight that coincided with my little guy’s general nap time, and hoped that would lend itself to a more comfortable experience for everyone.
I brought with me just the essentials:
- a Lillebaby infant carrier (these are the BEST!)
- an empty sippy cup (we like these ones from Nuby) to fill up when we were through security,
- diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for the baby in a backpack
…Everything else I left my husband and father-in-law to bring back in the car.
I enjoyed watching our sweet little guy get excited about looking out the window, but was nervous that he would be restless by the time we were ready for takeoff. Fortunately, the engines put my little man right to sleep on my chest, and he didn’t wake up until we were landing!
Stayed tuned for some lessons learned from my baby/toddler travel experience!
When did you take your kids on their first vacation? How was your experience?