And we’re back.
Being the geniuses that we are, Cody and I decided to undertake a three-week, two-city holiday travel bonanza with a 16-month-old tornado. We’re not crazy, just overly enthusiastic. Last year, we canceled our Thanksgiving and Christmas travel plans due to the stress and complicated logistics of Stella’s feeding issues and tube. So we decided to “do it up” this year. We were optimistic and confident, but not cocky enough to honor our “no TV until two, mostly” rule and so we hit Best Buy for a DVD player. Smart move. Stella did not fall asleep on any of our four flights. Sesame Street was an oasis for all of us.
Stella enjoyed some adventures that surely broadened her horizons, including a train ride in Austin’s Zilker Park in 70-degree sunshine and sledding in snowy Boston, just to name a couple. She clearly adores her extended family, and got to know them all much better, which was really important to me. But she was whiny and clingy for the vast majority of the trip. Was it teething? Was it her cold that didn’t let up until the end of the trip? Was it the many changes in scenery? Was it just typical behavior for her age? We asked ourselves these questions constantly and inanely. I consider it a Christmas miracle that none of our family members, all forced to listen to this pointless and obsessive wondering aloud, never punched us in the face at any point during the trip.
Thank GOD for cousin James, who at six years old is amazing with little ones. He has magical powers. Seriously, he knew that when Stella started whining, it was his cue to start a game of tag with her. I didn’t say a word–he’d just sneak up behind Stella with a sly grin on his face and the clinging would end and the fun would begin. Stella could not get enough of him. They held hands in the car, touched foreheads and giggled, and ran, ran, ran. James, buddy, I owe you one.
So, after a fun* but tiring trip, we made it home. Stella could not have been happier to see her rocking moose, ball ramp, stuffed robot, toddler-sized piano, Tupperware drawer, and every single element of her nursery’s decor. She gasped upon seeing each and every item in our home (even lighting fixtures), her eyes and smile so wide they crowded out her dimples. And that was after arriving home at 1am, at which point she’d been awake for what felt like a life sentence but was actually 10 hours. She’s now back to her usual, even sweeter and more delightful self, except for random eardrum-shattering outburts, of course. (It’s been confirmed by family members: Stella is very loud, even by toddler standards.) Since our return she’s eating about twice as much as usual, and even asking for thirds on carrots. WHAT? You heard me.
It’s good to be back, but I sure will miss seeing her play and interact with the aunties, cousins, uncles and grandparents that love her so much. I’m so glad we went.
*Fun with a giant exception: my mom broke her leg, badly. She had surgery on Wednesday and her pain is finally under control. Let the healing begin! She would not want me to make a big fuss about it, especially not on my blog, so that’s all I can say. Love you and thinking of you, Mom.