When things fall through the cracks. Like shoes. And a seat belt.

toddlersneaksOur family outing to attend a Purim Carnival in Ann Arbor on Sunday didn’t begin well.

Why? Well, let’s see. Neve was late getting down for her nap, so we knew she’d only get about 40 minutes of sleep before we had to scoop her up, take her out into the winter cold, and buckle the infernal five-point harness on her.

Joe thought maybe, if we were lucky, we could get her into the car quickly and smoothly enough that she’d fall back asleep when we started driving. To that end, he went out to put the packed diaper bag in the back of his car, and Lily ran out after him. She climbed up into her car seat to wait, while the car warmed up, and I gathered the things I thought we should have that didn’t make it into the diaper bag – Neve’s hat and mittens, Lily’s hat and mittens, an extra snack “just in case” – and went outside to join Lily in the idling car.

Joe appeared on the sidewalk, speed-walking with Neve – who looked dazed, wrapped in two blankets – in his arms. He tried to figure out how to buckle her into her seat with minimal fuss, but the blankets were a logistic nightmare, and in the middle of dealing with them, he said, “Oy. Her feet are bare.”

“I’ll go get her some socks,” I said, unbuckling my seat belt and running back into the house. I grabbed a pair, came out and put them on her little pork chop feet, and watched her as we drove off. She didn’t fall back asleep, but instead, looked bored and vaguely disgruntled throughout the half hour trip.

Upon getting to Ann Arbor, we were running a little late, so Joe inched forward at an intersection to turn right, not seeing an elderly man on his bike in the crosswalk. I yelled for Joe to stop, he stomped on the brake, and I suddenly felt and heard Lily’s body press against the back of my seat.

Oh, no. Continue reading

Lily’s first Mommy-less weekend (Spoiler alert: she survives!)

Me and the lovely Danielle, who lives in Minneapolis

For the first time since Lily was born, I took a solo trip to visit friends this past weekend, leaving for the airport Saturday morning at about 9 a.m., and returning home on Sunday at about 6:30 p.m. 

I felt nervous about this, but I ultimately made the decision to do it because I’ve been desperately longing to spend some quality time with my far-flung girlfriends (check out this previous post on the topic). Distance makes it hard enough for adults to maintain close friendships, but throw some babies and toddlers into the mix and it’s damn near impossible.

So when I heard that three close friends would be communing in Pennsylvania, I thought about how travel would only get trickier after July, when our second baby‘s due, and thus decided, on pretty short notice, to just go ahead and go for it.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that anxiety about my decision didn’t enter the picture – far from it. Though I was excited at the prospect of some aimless gal-pal bonding time, the potential for guilt loomed large as I imagined tearful calls from Lily telling me to come home. NOW. (Shudder.) Just thinking about this filled me with dread. Continue reading

How a 2 year old salvaged a holiday traveling nightmare (no, I’m not kidding)

Much of this blog, inevitably, concentrates on the struggles and difficulties of raising a little one. (Wouldn’t be much of a blog if I regularly posted things like, “This parenting thing’s a breeze! No problems here, no sir!”) But after the day my little family and I had today, I felt compelled to share the way Lily, our 2 year old daughter, managed to make a pretty crummy, delay-riddled day of travel into a tolerable, downright relaxing experience.

In order to celebrate Christmas with my family, Joe, Lily and I had traveled to my father’s home in North Carolina late last week. We’ve done this for many years now (since my parents retired to NC in the late ’90s), and we’re accustomed to getting off the plane to find warmer (than Michigan) temps and sunshine. So it never dawned on us to check the weather forecast before leaving this year. Aren’t there already enough details to worry about during the holidays?

So imagine our surprise as we watched, through the windows in my father’s house, six or more inches of snow accumulate on Christmas Day. Now, I knew from my two-year grad school stint at the University of Georgia that snow both excites and terrifies many folks who live south of the Mason-Dixon line, and judging by the local television coverage of the storm, this notion certainly seemed to apply to the people of Western North Carolina. But Joe and I soon became far more wrapped up in the snow’s consequences for us, specifically. As we checked in on the multiple flight cancellations out of Asheville that day, and heard forecasts calling for another couple of inches of snow the next day (when we were scheduled to fly home), our hearts sank. It’s one thing to be staring down a delay or an isolated cancellation on a regular day; it’s another thing entirely to wonder how an extremely large, upset backlog of people, all of whom would (understandably) be scrambling and jockeying for spots on outgoing flights in the coming days, would eventually all get to their destination – us included. Continue reading