We are home again from our trip to the East Coast. (Whew!) We visited S's folks in Georgia and mine in Delaware, and though it was stressful to travel with a baby and a toddler, all told things went much more smoothly than I would have predicted. It was lovely to visit with family -- and especially to meet my new niece! -- and both BB and BJ really enjoyed their time at Grandpa D's "farm" and Giki and Pop-Pop's house. Nice as it was to see everybody, it is such a relief to be back safe and sound.
The flights out were actually enjoyable at times. BJ was happily occupied with his new books and felt board (especially his felt alphabet and the props for playing Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3; those letters climbed trees over and over again as we crossed the country.) The occasional lollipop treat worked wonders to keep him content when he tired of books and felt. BB spent much of her time on the boob or asleep -- breastfeeding makes airplane travel so much simpler!
BB was more of a challenge on the way home, since she'd started walking in Georgia and wanted to practice toddling everywhere. (As I'd predicted, the allure of the Christmas tree was exactly the motivation she needed to go from cruising to actual walking.) But really, aside from BJ's protests when he had to take off his shoes for security screening, the only travel hitch occurred yesterday when our connection in Vegas was held on the tarmac for an hour and a half because of maintenance issues.
This would have worked out fine, actually, since both BB and BJ had finally fallen asleep for much needed naps. With them both snoozing, we didn't really mind just sitting there on the airplane. But then the airline folks decided we needed to switch planes after all, so the plane headed back to the gate and we had to wake up both of them to haul all our stuff (and two unhappy kids) through the airport to another terminal. One would think they might be kind enough to return to a gate near the one from which we'd be departing. But no.
I will be forever grateful to a fellow passenger named Margaret, who saw us struggling with all our stuff and trying unsuccessfully to talk a sobbing BJ into walking. He's usually pretty pliable about these things, but he'd simply been pushed too far. With the exception of one afternoon, he hadn't been napping at all during the trip, and we'd had to wake him up at 4:30 a.m. in Delaware to leave for the airport. Cutting short his nap yesterday was just too much. But both S and I were loaded up, and BB was in the Sutemi carrier, so we couldn't carry BJ, the baby, and all our stuff. Margaret, bless her soul forever, offered to take BJ's carseat so that I could lug him through the airport. And once he was in my arms, he calmed immediately.
Between Margaret's timely help and a near-miss at the Atlanta airport, I'm beginning to believe in angels and magic more than I ever have before. (After we arrived in Atlanta, I was carrying BB in the Sutemi and had both carseats when I slipped and fell. On the concrete sidewalk. Straight forward, without any hands free to break my fall. I love babywearing, but I have always had a horrible fear of falling while one of the kids was in the carrier. Time did that warp thing that it does in moments of crisis and I somehow managed to wrench my left leg forward to catch most of the fall, but for a moment I was convinced BB had banged her head against the concrete. Thankfully, she hadn't, and the only damage was my badly bruised knee. But I swear, an invisible, magical hand of protection kept her precious little head from slamming straight against the ground, with all my weight on top of us both. I still shudder to think about it.)
I'd hoped to have time to visit with some friends while we were back east, but there was so much to do with family that I didn't even try. It was all I could do to squeeze in a trip to Main Street with my mom! We're still adjusting to West Coast time -- BB wanted to start the day at 3:30 a.m. (hey, it was 6:30 according to her internal clock, at least a good half-hour later than she usually wakes up!) and her naps have been horrible today. In fact, I think I hear her stirring right now. Alas.
And I fear that the lack of naps for BJ during the trip will mean the end of them entirely for him. Alas alack. He's refused to nap today. I'm thinking it's time to institute an afternoon Quiet Time. Between that and BB starting to walk, there are lots of changes around here. New challenges and joys as our family shifts from parents, baby and a toddler to the paradigmatic mom, dad, and two kids.
Or, as my mom likes to say, "It won't necessarily get easier, but it does get different."