The First 12 Hours

Travel with a toddler is about 300% more complicated than travel without a toddler. Add to that equation half of the family on another continent, and you’ll start to approximate the logistics and stress of the last few weeks.

Our kabouter likes new experiences and adventures, but he doesn’t like being in the car for extended periods, so we were really not sure how an 8 hour flight padded on both ends by airports and transit and waiting would go.

The short version: way better than expected, even though he only got 3.5 hours of sleep (and we obviously got much less).

The long version, in bullet points:

  • Aborted attempt at a morning nap meant he fell asleep 5 minutes before we got to the airport, and slept until we had to take him out at security.
  • Preboarding with our stroller in a comically large bag, then sitting on the plane for almost an hour waiting to go.
  • 30 solid minutes of talking about trucks prior to take off.
  • Disney movies on 3 screens. Parent-selected media on 0 screens. A steady diet of freeze-dried mango.
  • After 3 hours of solid wiggling, including frequent requests to nurse, I was about ready to lose my mind. I got him ready for bed just in time for dinner service.
  • At least 4 times a flight attendant came by JUST as he was about to drift off. I have never been so angered by ice cream.
  • Sleep punctuated by awful turbulence. We got about 5 hours between the three of us.

But we survived, and without having to employ the majority of the bag of tricks, so we should have some surprises left for the longer daytime flight home.

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November Around Here

Unseasonably beautiful weather makes for weekend days full of crunching leaves and golden light. I need to soak up as much warmth as my skin can handle in anticipation of the winter to come.

A sudden windfall in a month of austerity means getting out of debt within the year is now feasible. Being responsible sometimes feels very hard, but also very good.

And for the baby, now a toddler: first tentative steps and a confirmed first word: kitty, which is applied specifically to the cat (his one true love) and more generally to all beloved things. We took him to the zoo, where he correctly identified two kitties (the sand cat and the puma) and other kitty-like creatures (red pandas).

So much hurt and sadness and fear in the world. There are days when it’s all too much, and all I can do is crawl into bed and hold the sleeping baby – for then he is still a baby – to me and cry. But so much love and generosity as well.

Reading:
Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantell, because the mini series was remarkable.
House of Light – Mary Oliver, because reading poetry to the toddler feels like a good use of our quiet mornings
Bedtime in the Meadow – Stephanie Shaw, because try as he might, the toddler hasn’t been able to destroy it, unlike all of his board books
The Argonauts – Maggie Nelson, because she slays me, and her writing about pregnancy and gender and identity feels very relevant
A Thousand Mornings – Mary Oliver
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates, because I have learned more about race and privilege in the last six months than the whole rest of my life to date

Watching:
Fringe

Eating:
Spontaneous Persian food
Pie for days
Pasta with fennel, kale, and lemon
All the pears and apples

Drinking:
A second cup of coffee, as the toddler was up before 6 for a second day in a row

Doing:
139 miles to go to hit 1,500 on the bike for the year
Not enough running, but with good reason
Catching up on all the postcards I didn’t send during this year’s 31 Postcards
Babyproofing all the things

Planning:
A Thanksgiving menu (hint: it contains pie and a Vegducken)
An intranet communication plan
New hats for everyone
Eliminating my debt

One.

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“When he looks back to the child, the eyes are open, staring up at him, unblinking, as dark as the hair on its head. The face is transformed; Ashoke has never seen a more perfect thing. He imagines himself as a dark, grainy, blurry presence. As a father to his son. Again he thinks of the night he was nearly killed, the memory of those hours that have forever marked him flickering and fading in his mind. Being rescued from that shattered train had been the first miracle of his life. But here, now, reposing in his arms, weighing next to nothing but changing everything, is the second.”The Namesake

Happy birthday, baby boy. Every day since then has been a gift