This year we celebrated the 4th at my in-laws’ house. We tried splitting the ten hour drive up into smaller chunks since it was our first real road trip with our son. We spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express that claimed to have a separate sitting area and offered a crib. The crib they delivered on, but the sitting area was only separated by a waist high wall that went less than halfway across the room. Directly on the other side of that wall was our bed. Luckily by the time we’d checked in and unloaded, it was 10:30, and my husband and I were both tired enough to call it a night. Unfortunately, my son decided not to sleep a wink in the car and was up until we put him in the crib at 10:30. Actually, he was up a bit longer than that…he cried for a good ten minutes, I think in part because he knew we were right over the tiny “dividing” wall. He also woke us up at the horrible hour of 7:00, meaning he barely got 8 hours of sleep. He usually gets 11-12, so he was a tad bit cranky.
We arrived at my in-laws’ a little after one and my son was thrilled to escape the confines of his car seat. He tore off around the family room. He made several circles before finding that despite their attempts at baby proofing, he still had several large, heavy (and breakable) items within his grasp, all of which he tried to pull off of tables. My mother-in-law was amazed at his reach. The kid can get in to anything. She hasn’t seen him over two months, and even though that may not seem like long, he’s developing so quickly, that it was a huge change. He went for the picture frames (we had to fold them up and stack them on the bar). He went for the bookends and antique books (we had to move them to the top of the bookshelf). He went for the Soduku book and pen (it went to the top of the hutch), before finally settling on the phones as his true object of desire. He hovered around them. We said no and he just stood there, waiting for us to let down our guard. The moment he thought we weren’t looking, he grabbed for them. They too had to be moved (to the top of the hutch), which caused quite a stir when my husband forgot to put them back and the phone rang a little after 9 pm. My mother-in-law was more than a little annoyed she couldn’t find her phone and that when she did, the battery was drained. Oops!
My sister-in-law, her husband and their baby (he’s nine months) arrived late that night. I said a quick hello and then headed for bed. The next morning I was jarred awake by crying. This is usual to me, only it didn’t sound like my son. I laid there, listening, very confused. It was 6:30 am and I was groggy. It was my nephew. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that we were separated by a bathroom and my son’s room.
My in-laws have a lovely home. I’m not sure exactly when it was built, but I’m guessing the 50’s or 60’s. It is huge! There are four bedrooms and four bathrooms, as well as a living room, family room, HUGE kitchen, dining room and a completely finished basement with three rooms, a large pantry and a good sized hallway. The bedrooms are cavernous. My husband’s bedroom (which we stayed in) holds a king sized bed, a love seat that pulls out to a sleeper, a chest of drawers and four end tables and there is still room to play a game of Twister. Even his sister’s bedroom, which is arguably the smallest, is as big as our master bedroom, and just like our master bedroom, it has its own bathroom. Everything in the house is elegantly (if a bit overly flowery and gold) decorated. The kitchen counters are all granite. There are two working fireplaces, one wood and one gas. The dining room table seats eight comfortably and 10 with a slight squeeze. Even the kitchen table sits six comfortably and eight with a squeeze (which we found out one afternoon). However, I think the walls are made of rice paper. If someone sneezes in the living room, I can clearly hear it in the bedroom upstairs. I heard my sister and brother-in-law talking to their son with both of our doors closed (and remember, they are separated by a long bathroom and another ginormous bedroom). I heard every cough and throat clearing my father-in-law made during the night (and some snoring). I heard my mother-in-law fixing coffee in the morning (downstairs and across the house).
Since my son was born I’m a pretty light sleeper. What’s worse, is that when morning starts to break, so is he. Each morning he woke up at 6:30 am. GRRR!!!! Not that it was anyone’s fault really. Even tiptoeing around the rooms is like stomping in that house. I actually brought my son into bed with us one night because he woke up at three am crying (he’s cutting a new tooth) and I knew he was waking everyone up. As a result, I got no sleep since he spent the night flopping around. He managed to climb out of the covers and turn himself completely around (his head by our feet), without really waking up. He woke up because he’d scooted so far down the bed I was terrified he was going to nose dive off the far end, so I tried to gently move him back up by me. No luck. He woke up and wanted to play.
We also all got covered in mosquito bites. The air was muggy and the mosquitos were out in force. The first day we played out in the back yard, and by the next morning, my son’s face had four bites on it (plus several on his legs and arms), and my calves were itching every five seconds. I was so excited that he got to play outside since their yard is fenced in (ours isn’t and the second he’s put into it, he either sprints across the neighbors yards or heads for the front and therefore the street). Only for one day though. In the end I guess it was good since the temperature was hot and the air was so humid. Still, he kept going to the back door, longing for another day in the yard.
The trip home was hard. We decided to skip the motel and do all ten hours in one stretch. As a rule, I don’t sit still well. I could never be one of those teachers who sits at their desk or stands and write copious notes on the board. I have to be in motion. I pace. I’m up and down. My kids tease me all the time because I am a perpetual motion machine. Sitting for ten hours straight was horrid! My son did better than I did. He managed to sleep for three of it and entertained himself fairly well with a variety of toys and snacks. He made a huge mess of my backseat. There are goldfish and graham cracker crumbs everywhere, but since he kept the fussing to a minimum, I can’t really complain.
Well, not about his behavior at least. My husband…now that’s a different story. He was once again hot and kept turning the air up in the car. I tried to subtly turn it down when he wasn’t looking, but after a few minutes, it went right back up. About four hours into the journey, the condensation started dripping onto my floorboard. I first noticed it when several drops of ice cold water hit my toes. Over the next few hours, my entire passenger floorboard was soaked. Water was actually squishing about. I had to keep my shoes on the entire way home and since they were sandals, anytime I moved, I got wet. Since the car was still blowing cold air, by the time we reached home, my toes were a lovely shade of blue. I’m almost surprised I didn’t lose any to frostbite. When we made our last stop for something to drink (about two hours from home), when my husband turned, we could hear water sloshing. I’m not sure where exactly, but it was loud.
And to top it all off, I only got to see about five minutes worth of fireworkds because the mosquitos were so bad they chased us out of the front yard, and are partially obstructed view of the display downtown.