Friday, June 20, 2014

Baby on a Plane!

This has been a week of big firsts, soon to be followed by more firsts. Last Saturday we did what some would consider criminally insane: J and I boarded not one but two airplanes with a ten-week old baby. The looks one gets when one flies with an infant are priceless. You either get "bless-your-heart-look-at-that-sweet-baby-it's-hard-to-be-a-parent-good-luck!" or "I'd-rather-deal-with-snakes-on-a-plane-with-Samuel L. Jackson-than-your-screaming-child." There is no middle path. Fortunately, Henry was a model citizen and did very little vocalizing in the air. Breastfeeding mamas, when in doubt, stick a boob in it. Works like a charm.

Our two flights brought us to Asheville, North Carolina. J's mom and stepdad picked us up from the airport and drove us to their vacation rental an hour and 45 minutes southwest in Highlands, NC. So, 2 plane rides, 2 airports, and 1 winding drive through the mountains later, we arrived with very little drama. We only had to pull over once so that I could stick a boob in it. 

You may "put a bird on it," Portlandia, but Chicago sticks a boob in it.

Our trip here has been lovely. First, it's ridiculously gorgeous. Lush green mountains, waterfalls, placid mountain lakes and a charming main street. We've taken H on his first two real hikes. The trails have been lined with rhododendrons and flame azaleas. We have gotten great photo ops of me breastfeeding Henry on the top of mountains (out of necessity, not to mark my mountain mama territory) and changing his diaper on the trail (baby carriers make excellent changing pads). This week, Henry has come out of his little cocoon and is discovering the world right in front of his face. Literally. On Sunday evening, he found his hands. Mind blown. He stared cross-eyed at his fists and tried repeatedly to bring them to his mouth, instead slowly bumping them into his nose and cheeks. He can suck on his hands no problem when operating by Braille but hand-eye coordination is a son of a bitch. I know; I seriously can't throw or catch a ball with any degree of accuracy. Just beyond his hands, he found the trees and sky so fascinating on our hikes. His little face looked up from the carrier in total awe as we climbed. He's also becoming more vocal. His coos and squeals are getting louder and he is clearly delighted when he hears himself. He is the smiliest baby. Yesterday night at dinner, my favorite thing happened: he discovered my face. He's looked at my face, or some blurry version of it, since the moment he was put on my chest when he was born. But last night he reached out and touched it repeatedly. He flapped his hands on my lips and chin over and over. Maybe my heart-meltiest moment yet. God, I love this boy. My love for him overwhelms me to the point of aching sadness sometimes. I can't describe the manic range of emotions.

Tomorrow we fly back to Chicago with this newly adventurous, curious boy. New toys for the plane ride include hands, improved vocal chords and Mama's face. J goes back to guilt/volunteer work/obligation at the cluster$#%* of a family business I'm impatiently waiting for him to extricate himself from. I will try to savor my last few days of maternity leave. I either want to go to brunch, lunch and coffee with my mom friends every single day or stay at home, never shower, and stare at Henry's face. I go back to the office on Friday, June 27th. I know it will be fine. I am telling myself that daily. I'm not worried about Henry. He's going to do so well at hippie daycare. Just worried about me, my angst over work, pumping in a file room, missing my boy, resenting my superiors, yada yada yada. The usual bullshit plus lactation and the haunting feeling that I should be rocking someone.


  1. great pic!! I'm glad your vacation went so well. We are flying with V when she'll be 11 weeks. You just gave me hope it might go well :)

    1. It really wasn't bad! I'm not just trying to impress my legions if adoring fans. Just lots of boob.

  2. Le sigh... you and Gypsy Mama are like my glimpses into the near future, and so far, it's looking pretty great. One thing I can commiserate on is the work thing, as I've said. Yesterday was my last day (decided this morning), and while I can't imagine being off for weeks, I also can't imagine going back, AT ALL, EVER. And that's with her still inside. I don't know what to do. I'm anxious to hear about your transition, and if it really is as bad as we fear (pumping inside a file room, etc.). I feel like maybe we can come up with a creative solution here (they say drug dealing is quite lucrative...?)

    1. So you're saying we should start a cartel... I'm in!
      Everyone says it's not as bad as they feared. I'd like to think that's right. Staying home with him is so hard but being away sounds harder.
      I can't wait for Miss M to make her appearance!