Road trip with an infant: achievement unlocked

As I write this, the baby is upstairs asleep, Stan is watching the Canada-England soccer match, and the rain is falling steadily as it has done all day. We are all various degrees of exhausted, but also pleased with our accomplishment: three days and two nights in a hotel, just a few hours away, with fair success and no disasters. We’re even unpacked.

This mini-roadtrip was the perfect practice for a longer trip we’ll be taking this summer (and one that’s probably going to be even longer sometime in the fall) — so special thanks to my cousins A and K for getting married. Anselm coped with the hotel / disturbed nap schedule / extended family hoopla / etc. a lot better than we had anticipated, which is encouraging.

Some things for me to remember for next time (because I need to write them down somewhere … and I can’t lose a blog post):

1. Hotel rooms are cold. Bring socks for the baby!

2. Our car gets about five, five-and-a-half hours’ of highway driving on a half tank of gas.

3. Sleeping: at home, Anselm sleeps on a mattress next to our bed. We didn’t bring it with us because the hotel would provide a crib & we figured on using that mattress. We did so; but it was small and hard, and next time it might be easier to just bring the crib mattress. Bringing Anselm’s sheet so that his bed smelled the same was probably helpful.

4. Next time, more snack food. Always more snack food.

5. I’m pretty sure it’s true what they say: Ohio drivers are just the worst.

6. The best time to leave looks like immediately after breakfast. Pack as much as possible the night before, get up, shower and eat, feed the baby, nurse the baby, and go. He should sleep for a good hour or two if you get on the road soon enough. Otherwise he’ll only fall asleep in the ten minutes before the next rest stop, leading to the eternal conundrum: wake the baby or pee one’s pants? Both terrible options.

7. Don’t forget to update the GPS. And be thankful for friendly park rangers.

8. You will feel bad because your baby cries in the night and hotel walls are thin. But then your bed will start shaking in sync with your next door neighbour’s… athletic… activities, and you will shrug and call it even. In hotel living, nobody wins.

This is the way the world ends

… not with a bang, but a snowstorm. 

Well, as we all know, the world didn’t come to an end yesterday — go figure — but we still got walloped with a wonderfully-huge dump of snow yesterday. This is great for me; we don’t have a car, but I do have great big snow boots, and as far as I’m concerned, the more white stuff on the ground the better. I am a creature of winter, like a cardinal… or a yeti…
This afternoon Stan and I will be taking the train to my parents’ house for Christmas with the (extended) fam. I’m pretty excited; I’ve seen my family a few times in the last year as they’ve come up to visit us, but I haven’t actually been home since last Christmas. Happy day!
The big drawback, though? Where my parents live, the winters are weaksauce. The first year I was living here in Rivertown, I went back for Christmas in The City and I wore my big winter boots — because we had snow here. But there wasn’t snow in The City, and so I was stuck in gigantoid boots as I tramped the bare pavement… like a dork.  
The weather conversation with my Vater yesterday went something like this:
Christine: Yeah, we’re getting a foot of snow today! Is there snow where you are?
Vater: They’re saying we might get some flurries overnight….
Sad, I tell you. Sad. 

Better living through mild neglect

I started a second part-time job today (on top of my full-time — is thirty hours full-time? — job with Goober and Goobrette). On Tuesdays I will be taking care of La Saucisse, a burbling three-month-old, and occasionally of La Fille, her three-year-old sister, as well. La Saucisse’s parents are diplomats, and her mother is now using her Tuesdays to learn a very difficult language in anticipation of an upcoming foreign posting.

Better her than me!

At any rate, the day was uneventful except for the fact that La Saucisse decided that she wouldn’t take her bottle from me. Her mother had breastfed her before departing, and after her nap I attempted to give her a bottle of expressed milk — only to be met with Baby Rage. You know that thing they do where their entire tiny bodies arch backwards in fury? La Saucisse did not want her bottle and was personally offended that I was trying to nourish her.

I know, I’m a huge jerk.

So I stopped trying to feed her. I sang, rocked, swaddled, etc. We all calmed down, and I offered the bottle once more. Rage! Angst! That was about when I stuck her in the bassinet and called my mom. My mother suggested trying to spoon feed her (Rage!) and then if that didn’t work, to just let her cry until she was good and hungry (Angst!).

Let her cry is a route I’m familiar with, but it always seems rather sad to me and so I try to avoid it. So I sang, rocked, swaddled, etc., and was really as attachment-nanny as you’d like… until my bladder came a-calling. Some things can only be put off so long, and so down she went into the bassinet (Rage! Angst!) and off I toddled to take care of business. Much to my surprise, when I re-emerged she had fallen asleep on her own.

She slept an hour and then sucked down four ounces like a champ, the little prima donna!

It's really the obvious solution

Those who know me in real life would not hesitate to tell you that I write with far greater skill than I speak. On paper or screen I comport myself with a fair amount of ease. When I speak out loud, however, my mouth tends to sever its connection to my brain and carry on at its own pleasure. When I am tired, excited, or both, I will come out with phrases ranging from the simply nonsensical to the genuinely alarming.

Some of my family was up for a visit this weekend. My parents and my brother, Beardacles, were staying in our apartment building’s guest suite. Apparently Beardacles’s pull-out bed was not up to snuff.

“My mattress was this thin,” he explained, “and it rested across three metal bars.”

“Well,” I solicitously replied, “there are lots of extra blankets and comforters in the bedroom closet. You should just take some of them and make a bread palace.”