I’m getting around to writing about September’s visit out to see the rest of the family!
Yep, we’re getting pretty bad about that, but at least the pictures and videos are somewhat up to date. I also spent a lot of time fixing the picture thumbnails so that they’re not all pictures of the sky.
We spent a little over a week out in IL (where James was a baby) and NY (where I was a baby). We piggybacked the trips because there was no way in hell that we felt like taking Tristan straight to NY. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate birthdays: James’s mom turned the big 60 and the family planned a surprise party, which wasn’t entirely a surprise by the time it happened. We also planned a surprise get-together for James’s birthday, since we’d be in town with his high school buddies and since he didn’t get a nod during Tristan’s party this year. (I think The Little Gym was a bit immature for James, but who knows?)
The flights were all pretty good. Tristan slept a huge portion of the time away. The only time he didn’t was when we didn’t bring the car seat on board during the ride from IL to NY. For the record, there’s a lot more space when you have two adults and a 3-year-old in a row and no car seat, but we needed kiddo to not be bored. We got him lots of crappy activity books from the airport stores and even found him a dragon backpack. There were younger babies on board the trip from CA to IL and they were awake longer than Tristan was, so I ended up playing with them a bit. But it’s safe to say that Tristan flies well enough that a 2 hour trip is not out of the question.
Tristan had a little bit of trouble adjusting to his Aunt Cindy’s house (as did we all, as is the way of being in Not Your Own House) but managed decently after the first day. He wanted to explore, and there’s always plenty for a flying tornado child to hurt himself on, so we did worry a bit. We ended up stealing Cindy’s bed and all 3 of us sleeping together in it for most of the nights. This involved me being elsewhere while Tristan was being put down, of course, but once we were all settled, we were only awake every hour or so adjusting whose feet were in which direction. We brought his P-Apple (iPad) but of course, Tristan is far more interested in physical exploration than pissing his life away on happy electronic entertainment – we could stand to learn from him, but being pregnant makes me lazier, damnit.
Grandma Linda’s party, from Tristan’s perspective, was pretty much playing on the adjacent playground as we took turns making sure he didn’t kill himself. He does require more supervision than the average 3 year old (hell, there was a family member who was about his age and he was supervised by his older brothers without getting into too much shit) but he’s also a bit of a daredevil. He saw playground equipment that doesn’t especially exist here, such as see-saws and merry-go-rounds. He fell off the latter at least once, but definitely liked to spin in circles. Later on, he ended up sucking on the big candy witch adornment from his grandma’s birthday cake, much to the envy of many of the other kids and adults. He also discovered that he likes grape soda a bit – not something we’re going to keep around here, since soda is something we don’t want him really partaking in (he dislikes Coke, which helps a lot).
James’s party, from Tristan’s perspective, was: go outside with me and another child, walk around the lake at James’s parents’ house, be told not to walk where the mud is wet, immediately step into the wet mud, fall, be marched inside for impromptu bath, and build Lincoln Logs with whoever else was willing to mind him for a bit while James and I chatted with his friends.
We stayed at a hotel for the NY portion of the trip. While staying with family is nice, having fewer people sharing one toilet is a major benefit. The sleeping arrangement was the same: I go away while James puts Tristan down, and then we all snore happily away, waking up every hour or so. Tristan got to meet my father for the first time – he’d met the rest of the family I’m still in contact with already. A new house meant exploration time for Tristan, so he was difficult to keep hold of. But he did have one major victory – he managed to poop in the toilet for the first (and thusfar only) time. It’s somewhat undignifying to go visit the family only to chat about poop for an hour or so, but that’s part of life with a kid Tristan’s age. Tristan showed off his awesome writing skills for the family, we took a lot of pictures, he played with a dollhouse that was on hand (and liked it so much he may get one for Christmas from us), he managed to sleep through a sit-down meal (thankfully, as he gets antsy sitting down to eat when he won’t eat anything) and then it was over and we were on our way back to IL.
We spent some more time with the family and then were on our way back to CA. It turned out to be a decent amount of time for visiting. I was freaking tired and shitty company; such is the way of the pregnant one. It was wonderful to see everyone. Tristan is especially attached to Cindy, his grandma Linda, and his uncle AJ. (Tristan had a major tantrum when Cindy split from us to drive home separately at one point!)
However, it will be some years before we attempt a trip of that magnitude again. Preferably when Tristan is able to entertain his younger sibling so they both give us a bit of downtime.