Tuesday was Gloria’s first day of school. Kenny handled the drop off, which went unbelievably well – Gloria was clingy in the gym, but when Kenny walked her down to her classroom, she played with a toy or two, and then sat down to have a snack with a new classmate. The teacher asked if she wanted Cheerios, she shook her head, then she showed her a Crusher and G signed “please.” After that, she waved bye in response to Kenny’s goodbye (with one hand, while holding her Crusher in the other). She seemed like she had a really good time, and was in great spirits when Kenny picked her up. She got a 90-minute nap on her first day, which was not as good as with the nanny, but well above expectations for Day 1.
On that first day, she also ate all of the food we sent but barely touched her milk (fairly normal behavior since she bottle-weaned). She was ravenous when Kenny picked her up (eating a cheese stick, half a Crusher and a bagel piece), then had another substantial snack at 4:30. She made up for lack of milk with lots of evening dairy (cheese stick, a few handfuls of cream cheese, cauliflower gratin).
Gloria’s second and third days at SHA were also excellent – she was clearly adapting well, and one of the teachers even told me at pickup time that it seemed like Gloria had been there for months. By day three her nap had increased to two hours.
On Friday, we woke Gloria early to catch a flight to JFK so that she could meet her new cousin Tristan. We were fortunate enough to get a seat for G on the flight even though we hadn’t purchased one, and miraculously she managed an hour-and-a-half nap in my arms (I can’t even remember the last time she fell asleep in my arms). She was generally happy on the flight and enjoyed settling into our AirBnB apartment once we arrived in Long Island City.
Overall, we had a fun weekend in New York, but traveling really did a number on poor Gloria’s schedule (and she was coming down with a cold, which obviously didn’t help the situation). Our original plan of keeping Gloria on Pacific Time almost worked – she seemed to settle on a schedule between Mountain and Central Time (not bad). As we remember well from our last trip to visit Grandpa Moose, Gloria does not like falling asleep in strange places, and we had to do a lot of soothing at bedtime and naptime to convince Gloria to sleep in the borrowed pack ‘n play. Eating was also erratic over the weekend – we were able to scrounge together some decent meals in our little rented apartment with a few groceries we picked up on our first day, but meal timings were thrown off by Gloria’s shifted sleep schedule and we didn’t always have an emergency snack on hand like we do at home.
Gloria enjoyed playing with cousin Tristan’s toys and in his new crib, and she especially loved playing with his kitty, Sweet Dee (since we got home, her word for kitty has been “Dee”). One thing that was exceedingly difficult was finding enough space for Gloria to run around and get some exercise. The 18 degree weather was too cold for us to spend much time outdoors – we had one failed attempt to visit a playground near our apartment which turned out to be mostly roped off and completely covered with snow. One morning when we set out to visit Ilene and Erik, Gloria felt the cold air blow into our apartment building through the front door and adamantly said, “bye-bye.” It took some convincing (and an extra layer provided by daddy’s scarf) to get her out the door so we could walk the four blocks. So outdoor play was clearly out of the question, but indoor exercise was also difficult to come by given the size of New York City apartments. We ended up running around the hallways in Ilene and Erik’s building, playing in the elevators, and jumping on the couches in the downstairs common room whenever G started to get stir crazy.
It was wonderful getting some quality time with Gloria’s paternal grandparents, all of whom were able to spare some time from baby Tristan to play with G and practice her favorite songs – “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Open Shut Them.” Grandma Lynn chased Gloria around the apartment building and up and down elevators with me to help keep her entertained. Gloria met even more relatives on Monday morning at the bris, but by then it was clear that four days away from home and taken their toll and she was just worn out (as were we).
Unfortunately Friday’s happy flight experience was not repeated for the trip home on Monday. The flight home was hell – probably due to a combination of Gloria’s compounded sleep debt over the course of the weekend and a few unfortunate logistical circumstances. We boarded on time, but sat for 1.5 hours on the tarmac. Gloria treated us and our neighbors to lots screaming and squirming after takeoff. Congestion probably made the pressure change more uncomfortable than normal. She couldn’t be consoled for a while, and really worked herself up. She finally passed out in Kenny’s arms for a 45-minute snooze, but was still unhappy when she woke up. The poor munchkin was overtired and hungry and congested and pissed off. We had some fun times walking up and down the aisle, playing with other passengers, and playing toddler games on the tablet, but overall it was a very rough flight.
We landed in Seattle 1.5 hours late at 5:45pm and picked up our gate-checked bags, only to find that one of the wheels on our new umbrella stroller was cracked in half. We had neither the time nor energy to follow-up at baggage claim so trudged forward with a three-wheeled stroller. As it was, by the time we picked up our car and got G home it was almost her bedtime. We gave her a small meal, settled down for bedtime routine, and she passed out at 7:15pm. It was amazing to see how much her attitude improved just by setting foot in her own house back in Seattle. We are actively looking into cancelling all of Gloria’s upcoming long flights, including exploring childcare options so that Gloria can avoid the trip to India – it just feels cruel to drag her halfway across the world at this age, when she’s clearly happier at home. Besides, we’re not sure we can handle another trip with her so soon either.
The proud new parents with baby Tristan
Checking out Tristan’s sweet crib
Lunching in style with Karen
Giving Dee a big kiss