I used to think Portland summers flew by, but nothing compared to this year with our growing and constantly changing baby boy. I missed the 9 and 10 month blog post, we’re already going to 1st birthday parties…I’m not ready for Milo to grow up. So I take you back to the days of summer when Milo was figuring out all fours, had a little more chub, and fewer opinions.
The theme for the ninth month was travel. Milo camped twice, touched both the Pacific and Atlantic ocean, and flew on a plane.
The first time camping was the night before a dragon boat race. A risky debut but we had promised our cousin visiting from DC a camping excursion. We arrived late so it was dark by the time the tent was up (which wasn’t easy with our recently-mobile child). But that helped Milo to fall asleep on his own; the moaning was faint through the wind in the trees. It was great to be outdoors again and we had a fun evening cooking around the fire. And Milo slept great! He woke once in the night for a quick feed, and though he started the day earlier than usual, he was happily playing in the pack n’ play. What a relief to be well-rested because that day our dragon boat team WON the whole race! Big thanks to Tata Kimmy for babysitting!
The second time camping we weren’t as lucky. Granted, it was with the dragon boat team (and their dogs). The Anniemaniacs decided to celebrate our 10-year anniversary with a weekend of camping at the coast. Milo loved the beach and sand — we couldn’t keep him off it. He went ankle deep in the Pacific. I know it won’t be long before he and Ben and their British blood swim in the freezing water.
But Milo did not sleep well. He was much more excited and curious this time around. He managed to nap in his pack n’ play, but it was harder on the beach. One nap he was startled by the barking dogs, and another time, he just woke while we weren’t watching and started to crawl away. Whoops! At night, however, it was still too light for his early bedtime and the campsite was open and loud. If only we knew he wanted to stay up to watch the sunset, we would have saved A LOT of crying. Eventually he passed out and we hung out with the crew at their campsite further back (don’t worry, we had the baby monitor).
It was a memorable weekend with the Maniacs. One day I hope to blog about our 10th season of paddling with the Maniac family. But phew, camping with a baby at the beach (sand + sunscreen + diapers = ugh) makes you miss the backpacking days.
FIRST PLANE RIDE
And no rest for the weary! The next weekend, we flew to the east coast for a two week vacation with the family in Connecticut and Maryland. Of course we had no idea what to expect for our first plane ride. On Southwest you pick your seats as you board, and surprise! No one wanted the seat next to the baby. But they missed out because Milo was great. I nursed him right at take-off and the altitude did not seem to bother his ears. He did nap, but only by nursing and then I couldn’t put him down (I failed the first time and didn’t try again), but at least he slept some. The remainder of the flight he was excited to be on the plane. He stood up on his seat and charmed the passengers behind him, peeked out in the aisle to watch the flight attendants, played underneath our seats, and got his own cup and snacks. It was tiring for us because we had to contain and entertain him, but we’re not complaining. We’ll happily reread the safety instructions rather than walk up and down the aisle with a crying baby. When we landed, only then did some folks realize there was a baby behind them.
Just to note: What worked for us was not taking a red-eye, and having Cheerios on hand. What didn’t: His toys, which were old hat compared to the new stuff on the plane, and tight connections. Running with a baby strapped to your front is ridiculous.
THE POND HOUSE
First we spent a week at Ben’s parents’ “Pond House” in Connecticut. It took some time getting used to the time zone, sleeping in a new environment, and the strange faces. After the first night of terrified crying, we quickly learned that he preferred the pack n’ play (which he’s used before) rather than a foreign crib. Naps still weren’t as easy as at home, but it’s challenging when there’s a lot of noise and stimulation. He definitely had separation/stranger anxiety and was especially clingy to me, but after a few days, he warmed up. By the end of the trip, Ben’s parents babysat him for the full day, even putting him to sleep, while we enjoyed a day out in Boston. Milo actually never left the house the whole trip: he loved splashing in the pond, played in the sand along the stream, went for walks in the stroller; otherwise, he was simply content crawling on the cool tiled floors.
With my family, we actually spent most of the time at a resort near Rehoboth, DE. Not our usual style but it worked out great for the whole family. There was something for everyone: golf, tennis, pool, playground, bikes, we even kayaked and “raced” in a 5k (there were 15 runners and Ben and I came in 1st and 2nd :p). Milo LOVED the wave pool, which didn’t have steps but a gradual slope to enter. We were curious as to how deep he’d crawl…. you’ll find the answer in this hilarious video here. One afternoon we went to the boardwalk on Rehoboth beach, reliving Ben’s fond memories of boardwalk fries, funnel cake, salt water taffy, and the carnival. Milo went on his first ride and waded in the Atlantic – we don’t think he’ll remember either.
It was the perfect vacation because everyone was relaxed and kids were a mutual priority. We took turns cooking so my mom could spend time with her grandkids. At night, we watched movies and obsessed over the Hunger Games trilogy. You had to be quick to grab the books before someone else did. Milo instantly liked my mom (we think because we look alike), Cookie is such the cool aunt, taking Milo on his first bike ride and buying him toys, and my dad will happily swim with his grandkids anytime.
Milo also slept much better during this second half. We did throw him in a closet but he didn’t know better – he liked his pack n’ play. Most of the time he was exhausted from all the swimming and activity. He did get spoiled and was fed anytime he woke in the night. We were too self-conscious and lazy to do any sort of sleep training (that backfired when we returned, but more on that later.)
The drive back to DC was the most difficult part. Milo was just not in the mood to be strapped in for a long ride and Yohan was restless and hungry. The three hour ride turned epic. One of Milo’s breakdowns was so bad we pulled over at the nearest store and bought him pretzels to chew on.
We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with our cousins, sharing stories with the younger generation whose diapers I used to change. They had NO idea what we did back then. And then to think of what Milo and those kids will scheme up. It these trips down memory lane that always makes me remember why family is so important. It was effort to travel with Milo but we loved having him meet and connect with his extended family. We can’t wait for the next family reunion!
MORE PICTURES and VIDEO