Dear Natalie: Week 37

Dear Natalie,

This week you had your biggest adventure yet: we went to Tennessee to visit Grammy and Grampa.

Despite the instant lip quivering and face crumpling that happened whenever Grampa tried to hold you for the first several days, you loved it. And really, what’s not to love?

The weather was, for the most part, beautiful. When we awoke the first morning we dragged your high chair out on the porch, and you enjoyed your Puffs al fresco while the rest of us sipped coffee in our pjs. The middle of the week was a bit chilly, but we took advantage of the one rainy day to visit Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.

But let’s back up for a minute and talk about your first plane ride. We booked early flights because we weren’t willing to pay an extra $200 per ticket just to sleep in an extra hour, which meant we needed to wake you up at 4:45 to be ready to get in the cab at 5:15 a.m. If you think you look a little bleary-eyed waking up from a nap,  you should have seen yourself that morning. You lifted your sleep-crinkled face, squinted at me, and then dropped your head right back down to the mattress.

You couldn’t have been more clear: no, Mom. This is not happening.

But it was, and it did. We finally roused you, dressed you, and popped you in the cab, where you were surprisingly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed considering the hour. Once we arrived at the airport, the flight itself was surprisingly uneventful. One young man had the misfortune to be sitting in the window seat of our row, with you and I sitting directly beside him and your dad in the aisle seat. He either slept the whole flight or did a very good job pretending to be asleep, and I did my best to stop you from flinging your toys at his head or lunging onto his seat to further investigate the zipper on his jacket (fascinating things, those zippers). You had your fussy moments, of course, but you slept for about half an hour on both flights (the second of which was, conveniently, only 30 minutes long).

So you’ve established yourself as a good flyer, and we (I’m speaking for the other passengers here as well as for dad and myself) are so very grateful for that. You were a trooper, and that held for the whole week.

Especially considering your nap strike. Your daily morning nap was the same as it as at home, but the afternoon nap? NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE. We spent hours the first two days trying to get you to fall asleep. When the normal nap routine didn’t work, we busted out the big guns that we haven’t had to use since you were an infant: the stroller (NOPE) and the Ergo (NOPE NOPE).

On day three we gave up and didn’t even bother to try for a nap, and wow did everyone’s quality of life improve at that point. We figured (correctly) that if you were tired enough, you’d sleep eventually.

(Now that we’ve returned home it’s clear the nap strike was only temporary, THANK GOD.)

But now we can say that we’ve successfully flown with a baby, and I’m so glad we did. It was wonderful to see all of your relatives, and ohmygosh did they love seeing you. Everyone thought we were kidding about you eating steak but you chowed down on a juicy ribeye, devoured some salmon, and ate your weight in burgers and pasta salad.

There were so many best moments of the week that I really can’t pick a highlight.

Pretty sure being able to lounge around in your underoos was tops on your list, though.

Love always,


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