Monday, July 17, 2006

In one piece, but bleary-eyed

That describes my state today, as I sit on my couch in my own house in Maine. We made it back from NJ in a little under seven hours today -- a victory in July no matter who's doing the traveling, but a major moment of triumph when one of the passengers is a nine-week-old girl whose sleep habits put those of clubgoers and night watchmen to shame.

So, yes, Ess turns out to be great in the car. We stopped just twice in the 400 miles today, once at the top of the Garden State Parkway and once on the Mass Pike. Otherwise, she snoozed.

As for the visit, I'm glad we went -- it was something else to see my 86- and 91-year-old grandparents absolutely besotted with my little girl. But boy am I tired. I never would have thought that being at my parents' house, with my mom and my sister to help wrangle Ess, and my dad to make 400 trips to the grocery store, would be more stressful than being at home.

But it was. After a good night of sleep the first night, Ess completely fell apart in the evenings. She's still doing well at that first chunk, going down at 7 or 8 for anywhere from 3 to 4.5 hours. Then there is a two-hour chunk, and then she's up again every 90 minutes for the rest of the night. Every morning I felt like I'd been beat up. And my mom is an early riser, which I thought boded well for early-morning help for me. But most days she was off at church, or out running errands, when I dragged myself and Ess out of bed. And without a bouncy seat, there was no showering for me until she or my sister was available to hold the cranky baby. And that led to a very cranky mc.

As the days wore on, I did learn to be a bit better about asking for help, and about letting my mom, in particular, keep holding Ess when she began to cry, rather than snatching her back at her first peep of dismay. But I missed D, and his fabulous instincts with Ess, tremendously. (Not to mention my bed and all the little baby accoutrements we've gathered.)

The funny thing is that I didn't think Ess and I had a routine at all until it was disrupted. One sign she felt the dislocation, too: She pooped just before we left Thursday morning, and again as soon as we arrived at my parents' that afternoon. And then not again until today -- literally moments after we got home. So soon, in fact, that she was still in her carseat; my sister was sitting with her while I went to the bathroom myself. I am so thankful I didn't have to change that diaper in the family restroom at the Charlton plaza...

Despite the tough moments -- and I did at one point hand Ess to my sister, and run to my bedroom in tears; my sweet father found me there and consoled me -- it was really nice to see family and friends, especially everyone who gathered in my parents' flower-filled backyard on Saturday to meet Ess. Ess was introduced to several of her great aunts and uncles, as well as some of my closest friends, including surprise guests R&R, who drove up from Washington, DC just for the party. That totally made my day.

Other highlights, all along a certain theme:
~The massage I got on Friday afternoon, as a birthday present from my mom.
~The pizzas with soy cheese we ordered for my birthday dinner last night.
~The cherry pie (shortening crust) and soy ice cream we had for dessert... and two pieces of pie made it back in the cooler today.
~The bag full of spa goodies my sister gave me for my birthday.

I need to take advantage of Ess' nap right now to catch up on some other stuff, but I want to remember to write in the next few days about my experiences with my grandfather and his vaguely inappropriate remarks, as well as my conflict about the friend who I didn't end up seeing on this trip.