We hit the road again Thursday, back to Boston. It was sad saying goodbye to family, cute doggies, and chickens, but we had to leave in the morning after grabbing a quick breakfast with my mom. This is Miles with my dad’s awesome dog Zipper, a papillon who is super smart and cuddly and unlike our dog is totally cool with toddlers. In the background is one of my dad’s chickens, which are surprisingly beautiful birds allowed to roam free during the day and cooped at night. They get fresh eggs every morning… Mike very much wants some chickens now.
I took some pics of Miles and me on the ferry boat:
Miles slept in the car all the way to Boston, which was perrrfect. The first place we went once we got to Boston was to our old dart bar, where Mike and I first met and used to go all the time when we were dating. We invited our favorite bartender to our wedding and have stayed in touch with her since we left, so she had a pizza delivered to the bar and we had lunch with her there. This is a tradition for us, as we brought him there to meet her last year too.
Miles had a special treat – his first soda (a ginger ale). He couldn’t figure out the mechanics of the straw but he was perfectly happy dipping one end into his drink and sucking a few drops of soda off the end of it, over and over.
Then we headed around the corner for another new tradition, taking a photo outside the old apartment building where Mike and I both lived when we met. I love this first one of Miles but Mike hadn’t quite got his smile in place yet:
All together now:
Just for fun, here’s last year’s shot… someone has a lot more hair now!
After that we went to visit Mike’s old bosses, and then headed to the South End to meet our friends J. and D. for dinner. They had suggested three different options and I thought sushi sounded awesome. If you’re gasping that I would eat sushi while pregnant, I consulted Dr. Google first. The danger from sushi is simply that because pregnant women have lowered immune responses, you’re more likely to get sicker if you eat bad fish. Your baby is not going to get a parasitic infection, it’s just that YOU could get so sick it could be dangerous. On top of that, American sushi is almost always not truly raw and has been frozen cold enough to kill contaminants first. I took what I felt was a reasonable line of moderation and had a few raw pieces but mostly cooked fish. And it was gooood.
The food was great and the company was wonderful – J. is my oldest friend and her husband D. is lovely as well. Except for one small person, who wanted nothing to do with sitting, eating, or behaving. I ordered rice and tofu for him, two things he normally loves, but he hated them. He screamed in his high chair and Mike and I decided the only thing to do was take turns eating.
Then our friends suggested we try eating on the patio so Miles could roam more, and the waitstaff was kind enough to move our whole meal outside. This just meant that Miles kept running down an entire city block and having to be carried back to the starting line, so we still had to eat in turns… but hey. We made it through and we still managed to have a nice time.
Traveling with Kids Note: Some people avoid eating in restaurants altogether when they have young children, but on a trip it may be unavoidable at certain points. I think rule #1 is try not to disturb the other diners, and beyond that you just do what you can. Most people will actually smile at a cute kid who may be wandering a semi-empty restaurant, as long as he is not screaming or coming over to their table. This was our worst dining experience with Miles, but it still was manageable, and it helped that we ate early so there was hardly anyone there.
That night we headed back to our friends’ house, C. and B. who was nice enough to put us up at the beginning and end of our trip. We had more time to hang out with them and their baby H., and also our friend H. who came over to see us too. I stayed up too late to hang with everyone but it was worth it.
We had one hair-raising moment after we put the kids to bed. C. and B. live in a four story townhouse, and we were all hanging out on the bottom floor, with baby H. asleep on the 3rd floor and Miles asleep on the 4th. We had both baby monitors on the table and suddenly there was a crash from one of them – we both thought from our own. I have NEVER run up four flights of stairs so fast in my life. Our friend H. who stayed on the bottom floor and could hear through the monitors said we could have beat any team of firefighters. Mike and I were thinking Miles had gotten out of bed and fallen down the stairs, and our hearts were racing (later I realized it was illogical that Miles could have gotten out of bed and opened the door without making a peep). When we got up there not one hair was out of place in the bedroom. C. finally figured out that her super sensitive monitor had picked up and amplified the sound of a window shade flapping in the breeze… good lord!
Traveling with Kids Note: We didn’t use our monitor all that much since it didn’t work in the hotel and my dad’s house was small enough that we didn’t need it, but I still think it is a good idea to bring one if you have a baby or young kid that isn’t totally reliable about sleeping through the night. If he stirs you can go to him before he is 100% awake and get him back down quickly.
I maintain that this wasn’t my fault and it was the only direct flight home I could find, but our itinerary for going home was far from ideal: we had an 8pm flight, which is right at Miles’s bedtime, getting in at 10pm CST and then we had to drive 3 hrs home from KC to Omaha. This also gave us a whole day to kill in Boston on Friday when everyone was working, which was a bit silly.
We did make plans to meet up with our friend E. for lunch and that was really nice. Miles was only mildly unruly for this meal. And I got to eat macaroni and cheese which is currently my #1 pregnancy craving – or maybe not craving, but #1 meal that I can eat and not feel sick over. I think E. was Miles’s second favorite person on the trip next to my sister C., as she actually made him smile – ohhh so reluctantly, the little stinker – and even let her hold him for a minute. We told E. when we get rich we’re going to hire her as a full time nanny.
After that we decided to play tourist and hit the New England Aquarium. I have to say this was the biggest bummer of the trip. First, the parking situation was insane: the garage at the aquarium was $26 for 80 minutes or less and went up from there! We lucked out and found a meter spot a few blocks away and got 2 hours for $3, but that was just lucky. Admission to the Aquarium was $24 per person on top of that. That would have been fine, a vacation splurge, IF the Aquarium was cool, but man… what a letdown.
The Aquarium was dingy, dirty, dark, surprisingly tiny, and the displays were… boring. And the restrooms were nasty to boot. It really made me appreciate the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha: $13 admission not only gets you a much bigger, nicer aquarium, but also an entire zoo so big you could spend the entire day there. We regretted our choice almost as soon as we walked in, but we pretty much just let Miles roam free and get some exercise so it was fine.
His favorite thing in the place was this one touch screen computer display about penguins:
He was also into the stingray-petting tank:
We walked around on this dock to nowhere that played whale sounds… woo.
Finally it was late enough to head to the airport. Things went a little more smoothly on the way home, with no flight delays and not too bad of a wait. Plus at Logan you can actually eat at restaurants after you go through security.
Oh! Security. I almost forgot what a nightmare that was. Mike was carrying Miles, who decided he did NOT want to be carried or restrained at that moment, but of course had to be to get through security. I got all the bags onto the X-ray belt and I went ahead to the body scanner. I had asked my doctor before we left about whether it was safe, and she said it should be, but she wrote me a note saying I was pregnant so I could opt for a pat down, which I intended to do. But when I got to the scanner my kid was screaming and flailing and I was stressing out. I asked TSA if it was safe for pregnancy and they said it was so I just went through the scanner to save time. Then felt anxious about it. To make matters worse, one of our carry ons had to be searched and sent back through the X-ray as I told the agent tensely, “That’s my kid screaming in line!”
Traveling with Kids Note: Yeah, it would have helped to have a stroller. We brought one as far as the airport but then left it in the trunk, deciding it would be easier not to have to deal with it. But probably it would have been easier to have it. Mike had to carry Miles around A LOT, especially because I can no longer handle carrying him for very long, between his growing size and my growing pregnancy. Of course Miles can walk, but getting him to walk in the direction that you need him to go is like herding a hyperactive cat on Dexedrine. Lesson learned on that one.
Ah, TSA. Anyway that was the bumpiest part of the flight home. Miles fell asleep during takeoff. Midway through the flight he started to wake up and flail and cry, but Mike stood up with him and got him to fall back to sleep for the rest of the flight… yayyyyy. The drive home was ROUGH. We were exhausted, beyond exhausted – not only had we traveled all day but Miles had gotten us up at 6 that morning. We had to drive home for three hours on dark country roads because flooding detoured us off the interstate. We got home at 2:30am and to sleep around 3.
Husbands are Awesome Note: Oh my gaaahd, parenting is so much easier when you can double team it! Mike always does a lot when he is home from work, but having him with us 24/7 for an entire week was SWEET. He changed all the poopy diapers (ALL OF THEM), and did 90% of the toddler-carrying since I just can’t carry this giant kid very far anymore, especially when I’m not feeling well. The two of them really bonded, and in fact even when I could carry Miles, he often preferred to go to his dad anyway.
Since Miles had slept on the plane and in the car, he popped up wide awake and cranky as a bear at 6 am at home on Saturday morning. We were absolute WRECKS on Saturday. In terms of pure wanting to die, that level of sleep deprivation rivaled the worst hangover I’ve ever had for sure. But all for the love of… VACATION!!!