Trip.

Finally, tonight — the 5th night of our stay here on the west coast — I am able to stay awake and coherent past 10pm. In fairness, my uncharacteristically early sleepiness could be due, in part, to the two bottles of cider I’ve been imbibing after the kids have gone to bed each night, but I’m sure it’s more a function of jet lag following an 8-hour flight with a 4-year-old, a four-hour first night’s sleep, and days on end with child(ren) when I am only accustomed to one or two days in a row on any given week. Tonight, because I had work to do, I only drank root beer and as a result, I was incredibly productive and I am probably going to see midnight for the first time in almost a week.

So, this blog entry is brought to you by my long-awaited time alone and awake, simultaneously.

The Who adjusted beautifully to the time change, actually, and has been getting along famously with the three kids (ages 2, 6, and 8) who live here.

Remembering that The Who is a fan of both pink and trains, she set up his bed with both in anticipation of our arrival. Her kids piled their stuffed animals on his pillow before they went to sleep and the big ones left us a welcome note on my pillow.

Remembering that The Who is a fan of both pink and trains, our host set up his bed with both in anticipation of our arrival. Her kids piled their stuffed animals on his pillow before they went to sleep and left us a welcome note on my pillow.

There’s a whole houseful of toys and books and a fenced backyard complete with a full-size, fully netted trampoline. He couldn’t be happier. The first two nights, The Who slept on an air mattress in the guest room with me, but by last night, all three big kids were piled into one bedroom, making up elaborate, fantastical games with their stuffed animals when they should have been sleeping. As it turns out, all my anxiety about how well he would get along with these kids he had never met was totally unnecessary. With the expected exception of his typical four-year-oldness, I couldn’t ask for better overall behavior and cooperation.

Trampoline!

Trampoline! Also of note: way more sun than rain this week.

We are staying in a town that feels almost like another country. Poulsbo, WA is on the other side of the Puget Sound from Seattle and has apparently long been an immigrant destination for Scandinavian people. The whole downtown area looks like a little Dutch village. We had some delicious local baked goods from what is apparently a pretty well-known bakery. I have yet to have a really excellent cup of coffee. What gives, Pacific Northwest? You’re totally failing me there.

On our first day here, we drove around the Olympic Mountains to the Olympic Game Park, where a bunch of elk and yak and bears wander right up to your car, opening wide for slices of wheat bread. It was crazy.

On our first day here, we drove around the Olympic Mountains to the Olympic Game Reserve, where a bunch of elk and yak and bears wander right up to your car, opening wide for slices of wheat bread. It was crazy.

The Who didn't want to get too close, but he was willing to toss some bread through the sunroof.

The Who didn’t want to get too close, but he was willing to toss some bread through the sunroof.

Seattle is actually only about 40 minutes away as the crow flies, but between getting to and timing the ferry or driving around the sound through Tacoma, it’s close to a 2-hour affair to get to the city.

The ferry over to Seattle was windy and fast. It also gave us some really great views of the skyline. I kept feeling this inexplicable urge to watch Frasier.

The ferry over to Seattle was windy and fast. It also gave us some really great views of the skyline. I kept feeling this inexplicable urge to watch Frasier.

We did get there, though. Mostly because our host is not afraid of travel with four children, but in part because I insisted. “I need to see them throw the fish,” were my exact words, I think. And I did see it, though I didn’t actually get a picture of it.

What's the point of taking your camera to the Pike Place market if you're not going to take this photo?

What’s the point of taking your camera to the Pike Place market if you’re not going to take this photo?

Our Monday night dinner.

Our Monday night dinner.

We have two more days and one more night here and then we’ll be spending two nights in Seattle proper with other friends. Then it’s into a rental car and off to Portland to meet up with some family for a whirlwind tour of that city before heading back to Eastern Standard Time at the crack of dawn Tuesday.

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Wheeze.

I’ve got a cough that would make you want to move two seats away. It is equal parts annoying and disgusting and I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t want to be in its midst. That said, I am hopeful that it lingers just long enough to keep people from wanting to sit with us on the plane. (Unless, of course, as m* reminded me, someone must sit with us because the flight is full. In that case, it will be terrifically uncomfortable and awkward to be coughing into a stranger’s lap. Luckily, traveling with a little kid has its perks — namely, getting to co-opt the half of his seat that his bony little butt doesn’t need. Two people, two seats. Nifty.)

I called my doctor today and, despite my wheezing and laryngitic voice, I think I sounded downright cheerful. I’m not sure why she prescribed me antibiotics over the phone, sight unseen, yet, there ya go. I’ve got a Z-pack in my hand and the hope for a less rumbly night than last. I have to say, though, that due to my lack of fever and my general perkiness, I suspect this bad boy is not bacterial, but what do I know. I know some people will argue the point, but I don’t think a potentially useless 5 days of Zithromax is gonna kill me. I probably take a round of antibiotics every three years. And, as I told my doctor on the phone this afternoon, I probably wouldn’t have even called her for this if I were not going out of town. I expected she’d call the script in and tell me what symptoms to look for before I decided to start taking it, but that’s not how it went. She seemed pretty adamant that I “get on it right away,” so, well, I did.

And now I wait and see if I stop sounding like an aging 3-pack-a-day smoker anytime soon. And in the meantime? Lots of painting, grading, and packing (oh my.)

Go.

We’re about to embark on a 10-day trip that begins and ends with a cross-country flight and has a three-hour drive in the middle. Just The Who and me. We are seasoned travelers, having taken many flights and road trips together, the first of which when he was just two months old.

First Road Trip

First Road Trip

I have navigated airports with him as both a stroller-rider and a walker (and runner!) and I have successfully driven us to Boston and back more times than I can count.

Already a seasoned air traveler at 9 months old.

Already a seasoned air traveler at 9 months old.

I know what works (snacks, toys, and a fully charged media-playing device) and what doesn’t (over-scheduling, chocolate, and forgetting the daily Miralax dose.) So, why am I so anxious as the days leading up to this trip tick down?

What I have done:

  • Made multiple lists (my suitcase, The Who’s suitcase, my carry-on, The Who’s carry-on, To-Do)
  • Purchased a handful of toys/crafts to “unwrap” during travel (puzzles, foam craft kit, books, markers)
  • Brought up the suitcases and opened them up so we can start filling them slowly over the next several days
  • Put all of our accommodation ducks in a row (secured who we are staying with and when, confirmed rental car reservation, confirmed hotel reservation, set a reminder on my phone to check in for the flight)
  • Planned out the timing of the day we leave so we get to the airport on time

What I have left to do:

  • Finish all my grading
  • Do some cooking to leave for m*
Even by boat! (Ferry from Boston to Provincetown)

Even by boat! (Ferry from Boston to Provincetown)

What am I missing? Seasoned travelers, especially: weigh in. What can I do to lose the anxiety and focus on the excitement of traveling to a city where I have never been, but have always wanted to visit and seeing friends that I really love?

The Voice.

So. My kid makes this — noise. With his face. Ok, his voice. He makes this noise with his voice. He uses this crazy-ass voice that makes me want to die. Or kill him. Or at least maim us both severely.

It started as the voice of his [stuffed] dog, Bella, but it has now become his default tired/excited voice also. And, apparently, when you’re 4, you are either tired, excited, or pretending to be your best [stuffed] friend approximately 98.64% of the day. Every day. All the goddamn time.

I hate this voice.

He knows I hate it, too, which is the kiss of death. I remind him constantly how crazy it makes me and how I sincerely wish he would reserve it for just Bella. (I mean, what kind of jerky mother tells her kid that his best friend’s voice isn’t allowed to be heard?) And he seems to be agreeing. He seems to understand (to the extent to which he can.) But then, out it comes. And it gets right under my skin. So, I tell him again, exasperated. He obliges, but only momentarily.

The other day, I was talking to m* about it and she told me that it was only annoying me because I was letting it. She didn’t let it get to her. “Try some positive affirmations,” she told me. I snorted and rolled my eyes, but I tried it anyway. The next day, every time he’d slip into The Voice, I’d silently tell myself: It’s not so bad. He’s just playing. You can tolerate anything for a little while. And, lo — it worked! He went in and out of The Voice all day and all day, I rolled with it. I didn’t mention it to him once and it miraculously didn’t get to me.

At some point during the afternoon, I texted m* to celebrate my newfound patience: “FYI I have not mentioned the voice all day, despite its near-constant use.” And she texted me back to say, ironically, it had finally gotten to her that morning and she had spoken to him about it. (The message didn’t permeate, apparently.)

Ah, well. So much for positive affirmations.

And, also, kid: stfu.