Monday, January 28, 2008

Weekend Travels

By the time my husband had Charlotte bundled into her carseat Friday evening, I already missed her. It was not the first time we had been separated, but it was the first time she had gone somewhere and left me at home. There have been a handful of times when I've stayed the night elsewhere--mostly hospital stays since Trystan was born, plus one 2-day business trip when she was about 10 months old. But otherwise, I've always been there to kiss her goodnight.

My husband's parents are moving from their home of the last 30+ years in Iowa. They're moving here, well, to the Metro East, right next to my sister-in-law. They've been up north for the last couple of weeks packing the rest of their house up and preparing for their final trip down. My husband and his sister decided to surprise them with a going-away party. They arranged the whole thing by phone and email, breaking into my mother-in-law's computer to find addresses and phone numbers, and consipiring with their friends to bring them to the community theater where their whole family has spent countless hours over the last 30 years, volunteering and acting in plays.

When the planning began, I had just finished my enrollment paperwork to take a class in fiction writing at Wash U this semester. My class meets on Saturdays, at the same time the party was being planned for. So I had an unfortunate choice to make: skip class, which I was really really looking forward to and which could potentially impact my grade and therefore my company's willingness to pay for it (Wash U tuition is not cheap), or skip the party. Trystan and I stayed home, and I hired a babysitter during class time on Saturday.

Our house is really quiet without Charlotte. Even Trystan's constant fussing as his body got used to his new laxative regimine (the initial prescribed dosage was a bit high, based on the sheer volume of poopy diapers we got on Saturday), and his new-found use of spoken words (I'm pretty sure he now says "book", "bottle", "mine" and "hi" in their correct context), were not a subsitute for the constant chatter of a 3-year old. I had the TV on a lot.

My husband and Charlotte left on their 5+ hour drive after dinner on Friday, and she had a portable DVD player, snacks, drink, and a legion of blown mommy kisses to keep her happy on the trip. I slept with my cell phone on and the house phone right next to my bed all night, and reminded myself every few minutes that she was perfectly safe, and there was nothing for me to worry about.

Trystan declined to take an afternoon nap on Saturday, so we pretty much stayed home. I was sure that the moment I put him in the car, he would fall asleep, and then not sleep for very long. I proved myself right by finally setting out for the grocery store. He was out by the time we reached the subdivision entrance, so I drove around a little and went home. The little stinker woke up as I was putting him in his bed.

Sunday, I resigned to deal with a lack of good quality napping in favor of my sanity. We went to Target. We went to the Y, where Trystan played in the nursery while I worked out (his first visit second time exercising in public since before Charlotte was born). After lunch, he surprised me with a long afternoon nap, and then we went grocery shopping.

Shortly before bedtime, my husband and Charlotte got home. She had spent the weekend swimming at the hotel, stuffing herself with cake and munchies at the party, and impressing everyone with her good behavior. Sunday she developed an upset stomach, and had the presence of mind to get to a bathroom to throw up. She made it through the car trip without having to use her loaner bucket. Trystan was ecstatic to see her (more than his father, much to my husband's chagrin)--he laughed and squealed and hugged her and gave her his "I want that" pat on her head (the gesture he normally reserves for his high chair tray as he requests more of whatever food he's just run out of). Charlotte ate a light snack of toast, asked for only two very short books, and fell fast asleep. She's better today--still feeling off, but eating and at daycare.

Maybe it's just me, or the amount of time I spent in the company of a true baby, or maybe it's being sick, but she seems more grown up than she did three days ago.

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