and just like that, we were back in halifax. almost a year to the day that we arrived by car, we returned "home" by plane...maybe we can exit nova scotia via the sea...
after the grandparents left us at megans we tried to get X a good nap, but she ended up getting crummy stunted sleep...which made for a rather difficult car ride down to newark, new jersey. we had to stop several times and at one point she was just shrieking and we couldnt stop very easily because we were intersecting a ton of highways and we didnt want to take an exit and get lost. when we finally pulled off she calmed down right before i turned the car off. go figure.
then we confirmed our directions to newark at a gas station and finished up the drive. we got stuck in massive traffic at one point and feared for our sanity that X would start shrieking again. but, somehow i was able to entertain her until we pulled up to the newark airport marriot. i normally gag and cringe at the idea of staying at an airport hotel, but this place was really nice actually (of course the surrounding views were dreadful. lol).
after unloading, while X and i settled in, dave dropped off the rental car and got that squared away so we didnt have to deal with it in the morning before the flight. he came back as we were waking up with a sack of goodies from the airport (did i really just say that?). we dined on some hefty curritos burritos (spicy and delicious) and a great fruit smoothie. i cant remember if ive ever had airport food that tasted remotely decent. maybe new jersey isnt so bad...
anyway, after eating, we wound X down for bed. once asleep, dave and i hauled all our baggage into the bathroom. since X needed to sleep in the pitch dark we were relegated to this space to get ready for travel the next day. to boost our bathroom spirits, dave went down to the hotel restaurant to get us a piece of key lime pie. we had a good chuckle eating it perched on the toilet and bathtub edge surrounded by our bags. and after, we were able to surprisingly quickly organize the bags and prep for our upcoming travel dance.
the next morning did go smoothly at the hotel and pretty well through luggage check and security. we had plenty of time at the gate and X was in a good mood. when we got on the plane she wanted to eat right away so i fed her hoping she would fall off to sleep after she was done nursing. she almost did, except that all those overhead announcements they need to make before takeoff bothered her. so, she cried again. this time we knew swaddling would work because she was tired. our plane was a sweat box though, so it was less pleasant to wrap a sweaty crying baby in a blanket and hold her against your chest while bouncing her. but she did sleep for a bit. she woke up when we were in the air and then we were able to entertain her until we landed. the only time she cried again was when we changed her diaper in the airport. she can scream quite loudly when she is tired and you do something to her that she doesnt want done.
but after the diaper, we quietly passed through customs and baggage claim and dave got the car and picked us up curbside. and after her busy morning and still clearly being tired, i was miraculously able to entertain her on the 40 minute drive from the airport to our apartment. good baby!
so a few final thoughts and summary notes:
1. dont expect to relax while traveling with an infant. it requires both people to actively work at keeping the kiddo happy and calm.
2. bringing our own car seat was a good idea (plus we stashed a few items in the car seat box for the trip home). made the rental car process go smoothly. the box did take a beating though and arrived in halifax looking like it had ridden in a cement truck (what the hell would it have looked like if it hadnt traveled in the box?).
3. return to a clean home. i normally had strict rules about always leaving our home in a clean state before a trip. its so nice to not have to wade through piles of crap to find your bed if youve come home from a crappy flight and just want to rest. but with this first X trip i was wondering if we had so much to worry about that i wouldnt be able to make "a clean home" a priority. thank GOODNESS we did. how lovely to be able to walk through the door and have everything in order. the only thing we needed to do was find a spot on the ground for our baggage and then we could nap, eat, sit, relax, or do whatever we wanted.
4. cloth diapers. in case anyone was wondering, we ended up taking our cloth diapers with us. i had originally lobbied for disposables, but dave said that since we hadnt had any problems or diaper rash with the cloth at home, he didnt want to invite trouble on the road. if she got a diaper rash that was cracked and bleeding while in NY we would feel horrible and probably want to find a doctor and that would be stressful...
so, we brought all 6 of our diaper covers with us and about 2-3 times as many prefold cloth diapers to fit inside them. i bought a wet bag for the dirty diapers, which contained the mess and the smell very well. every couple of days we were able to wash them in either amy or megans washer/dryer (i had asked them ahead of time if they would be okay with us doing this). i thought it would be a huge pain in the ass since its more work that we normally do (because we have the diaper service), but it was actually really easy. we had just made the commitment to use them and bring them with us ahead of time, had planned accordingly, and things went as smoothly as they do at home. its amazing how you can work yourself up to thinking something is going to be such a huge inconvenience and then...it just really isnt, as long as you put a little thought into it.