We took our first flight the day these photos were taken. It is difficult to read Alice's reaction to things sometimes, but I am fairly certain her rating of cab, plane, and car ride: thumb's down. In all honesty it could have been a lot worse than it was, but it was pretty bad. To cut a long, hot story short I'll just sum up the experience by saying that squats in the aisle at 30,000 feet in turbulence are less embarrassing than you would think and definitely preferable to a screaming child. I heard that breastfeeding on takeoff and landing would help ease her ear pain (if indeed that was what was ailing her) but she was so tense and anxious about her surroundings that she would not nurse. This was a problem but with constant, unyielding intervention which included publicly singing 'You Are My Sunshine', flailing around the aisle in a plane I am too tall for getting my wrap on and off and on and off, squatting, lunging and jumping in the aisle, making her toys do an intricate and rather dexterous version of the CanCan we were able to get through the hour and a half flight with out any 5 alarm fire public adverts for sterilization. The real horror show began when we were picked up by Tim's family and had to put Alice into a car seat. We don't have a car up here so Alice's experience with car seats has been very limited up until now. It may have been the last straw for her poor over-taxed baby brain, but when I clicked her into that car seat she LOST IT. We are talking blue-faced screaming. Choking screaming. The kind of screaming that rips out every good thing in your heart and kills it in front of kittens. Her arms were limp, she wasn't even fighting for anything, just looking into my eyes through her teary slits and screaming for all she was worth.
Developmentally, Alice has begun grabbing things with such amazing accuracy and skill. This week she really blossomed and has really started laughing, growing hair and becoming interested in her knees and feet. I am so proud of her interest and concentration. When you watch her, you can really see her thinking about what she is looking it. We were away from home this week and (naps and sleeping aside) she did pretty well. There were like, 20 new people that wanted to hold and love her and after a fashion she let them. Alice's temperament hasn't ever been on the flexible side, and I think that it was a good idea to get her out of her routine and explore her boundaries. Tim's sister pulled out all the stops and made sure we had a car seat for when we borrowed his moms car and even more necessary, an Exersaucer which we brought with us everywhere. These two items are Alice's version of hell and heaven, the car seat representing guess which. Alice's tolerance improved over our 11 day vacation, but only to the point where she would accept forms of distraction during our 45 min-hour commute between Tim's mom's and dad's house. Seriously, don't most kids just fall asleep in those things? Alice darling, you have been breaking moulds and being the exception to all rules since day 1.
But oh my god, can I just rave for a minute about the Exersaucer? This is a device that I never would have bought for Alice as it is pretty big and seemed like a clunky plastic thing that she would use for a week and then outgrow, but boy was I wrong. Tim's sister bought us one for Christmas and it is a life saver. I finally have a place where I can set Alice down and she is not miserable. If you have a child who hates to lay down (from her very first moments Alice hated being on her back) this is the thing for you. I took out some of the toys and pop her stuffed animals through the holes and put her teething rings on other parts and she is in heaven. When she sees it first thing in the morning she squirms her little legs and arms with joy. Exersaucer= joy beyond all sense.
On a side note the photos this week were taken on a blanket that Tim's Dad's adoptive mother crocheted. Tim said that his family used to all curl up on the couch under it when he was a kid and he would poke his toes through the holes.
Everyone I meet that has an older child tells me they wished they had travelled with their kid when they were Alice's age because it would have been sooooo much easier then. What a load. Alice must be seriously different from their child, or I am simply horribly equipped or something but traveling with Alice was some hard freaking work. In all fairness, flying is stupid. They make you wait, jam you in short airplanes with tiny seats and make you wait some more and you are expected to sit and amuse yourself. Great for me because I can do all these things, babies? Not so much. They do not want to sit. They do not want to wait. They cannot amuse themselves. Returning flight aside, Alice is super aware of her surroundings, so much so that I cannot talk when I am nursing her because she will become distracted. Since week 5 I have had to take her in a darkened, stimulus free room so she will fall asleep. This chick is aware, sensitive, and headstrong. I was a little concerned about her meeting new people because she sees so few in our daily life up here, but she did surprisingly well with that part. There was some not-my-mommy type screaming but all in all I was rather pleased. She wants to watch you and see who you are and then she will pass you the most charming smiles you have ever seen and you are in. The real struggle was sleeping. She is not a good napper on a normal day and trying to keep her from becoming overtired in new environments nearly turned me into a basket case. For the past 10 weeks Alice has been doing what I lovingly refer to as 'flash naps'. 5-6x a day, 30 minutes each. Like clockwork. Continuous, unrelenting attempts to lure her back into sleep have been twarted again and again. Sadly, this trend continued on our vacation, but instead of not taking very long to put to sleep (her one saving grace) because of her new, exciting, constantly changing surroundings she simply would not relax and go to sleep. All times a day, even for only 30 minutes. n i g h t m a r e. Horrifyingly enough, this new aversion to falling asleep has been brought back from NC with us.
In better news, my darling girl is growing like gangbusters. Height, weight, coordination, everything. She loves reaching towards me, fingers in my mouth (especially when I am trying to get her to go to sleep) and she grabs and pets Tim's beard whenever he holds her which is just about the best thing ever.