Is there any way to vacation with a nineteen-month-old that actually feels like a vacation? I doubt it. We went east to see family and friends, and we felt inundated with love, but we also felt that — despite our intentions — it was a form of torture for Sophie. Every few hours we would squeeze her back into the rental car, for a drive that lasted too long, to see yet another large gathering of strangers who overwhelmed her.
She was a trooper, actually. She learned to blow kisses from her cousin O, she got to eat New Haven pizza twice, she got to meet all my aunts and uncles and many other people who are important to me: Matthew, Captain Kickstand, so many more. She was inundated with presents. She threw snowballs, she chased my dad’s remote-control-car and my mother’s cat, she slept in new spaces with relative ease.
Well, relative ease for Sophie means waking only twice a night. After a few days, she had an up-for-two-hours-at-a-time binge, three times in one night. The ease had passed.
After a while she started refusing to put on her coat, since she knew that putting on that coat meant we would go outside and face even more newness. She stopped eating more than five cheerios in a sitting, because there were just so many distractions. It was chilly, it was slippery, she needed to be carried and cuddled for most of our seven-day trip. She — and we — both ended up exhausted, despite all the love and C’s homemade beer.
I had thought this trip was for her to meet her east-coast relatives, but I realize that it was actually for me, to show off my baby. And it was unfair to her, even though she did get to watch the excitement of airplane de-icing on the way home. We sat right by the airplane wing while the machine splayed green ooze on it: it may have been the highlight of Sophie’s trip.
I’d like to say no more trips till she’s five, but I know that won’t be true. We’re going to Britain for the summer. We’re either thickheadededly foolhardy or impossibly optimistic. Or maybe it’s just that I find it impossible to stop living, just because my life is inconvenient for Sophie. (Also, Ben hopes she’ll return with a British accent. We’ll see.)