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Thanksgiving: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

November 30, 2012

Hi friends! Sorry to have disappeared a little bit—part of it is that we’ve been really busy lately (our semester wraps up in about a week), and part of it is that I left my camera computer cord at home, so I have no way to download pictures—DOH!

I wanted to do a little bit of a Thanksgiving rundown.  It’s always helpful for me to read about other mothers’ struggles, and so I’m going to be very honest in this post: parts of our Thanksgiving trip to Shreveport were really, really shitty.

Remember when I wrote this post about how traveling with a baby was hard?

Yeah, it’s still hard. 

Parts of it are easier.  When we traveled to Nantucket, Lila was only three months old.  We were still working on getting her to sleep at a normal hour, she was still waking during the night, still fussing quite a bit “for no reason”—I say for no reason because it often seemed like there was nothing we could do to soothe her.  She’d be dry, fed, and well-rested, but still around 6:00, would get going with high-pitched cries that would last anywhere from ten minutes to two hours.

Fun stuff.  Honestly, that Nantucket trip was the hardest “vacation” I’ve ever taken.

Our Thanksgiving trip to Louisiana wasn’t nearly as bad.  Lila is so much more predictable now—she eats and sleeps (usually) on a pretty regular schedule.  I can predict when she needs to nap, when she’ll want to be in the stroller, when she’ll want to play with her toys—that is, I can predict all of this at home.

Apparently predicting these things away from home is not nearly as easy.

We got to Shreveport on Tuesday, and really, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were fine.  On Thursday night, my mom even marveled, “She hasn’t cried once!!!”

And, cue the crying.

On Friday morning, Lila and Sophie were being photographed for my mom’s Christmas card.  It was kind of a rough way to start the day—posing, smiling, crying, soothing, posing, smiling, more crying.  I could tell that it wore her out.

Honestly, things just kind of went downhill from there.  She didn’t nap for more than thirty minutes all day, so by the time 5:00 rolled around, she was being a pretty big asshole. 

I say that in the most loving way possible.  But once you become a parent, you become aware of a pretty unavoidable truth: sometimes, your kid is going to be an asshole.  It’s just a fact of life.

I’m not saying she was being an asshole for no reason—she was obviously exhausted.  And she also (finally) has her first tooth coming in—joy of joys.  Actually, I’m SUPER excited about that—anytime I think I can get away with it, I swipe my finger across her gum just so that I can feel that tiny white bastard poking his way through.

So yes, she had her reasons.  Doesn’t change the fact that she was acting like a real ass.

This would have been fine if were just hanging out at home that night.  But, we had plans to attend a family event at my aunt’s house.  Living out of town, we really only see my extended family on holidays, so I was looking forward to the get-together.  Until it became clear that Lila was going from bad to ugly, fast.

By the time we got her in the car and arrived at my aunt’s house, she was seriously WAILING.  We begrudgingly unloaded her from the carseat and brought her into the house, hoping that all of the noise might calm her down (why did we think this? I’m not sure).  Not surprisingly, it only  made things worse.  She began crying harder and harder, and at this point, I had the awful realization that I, TOO, WAS GOING TO CRY.


I hate that—I hate that moment when you know you’re going to cry.  You can feel the tears springing up, can feel your throat lumping closed, and can feel that slight panic of not wanting to be caught crying in public.

I hightailed it out of the house, and as soon as I made it onto the front porch, I started crying. Possibly even harder than Lila.

Actually, that’s not true—no one was crying harder than Lila.

But I was crying pretty hard.

Ryan grabbed my coat, and we got back into the car.  It took a good hour to calm her down once we got home.  And it took me even longer.  I’m one of those criers who might not cry that often, but when I do cry—I cry a LOT.  I was still crying when my parents came home two hours later.  My eyes barely opened the next day.

The funny thing is, on Saturday, she was fine.  Not great, but fine.  And then on Sunday, we drove about eight hours without a peep from her.  The last hour was hell, but the first eight were glorious.

What does this all mean?  I’ll say it again: traveling with a baby is hard.  They’re off their schedule, they’re in a new environment—and if they happen to be cutting a tooth during the trip, well, you’re pretty much fucked.

Is it worth it?  I think so.  We live far away from all of our relatives, so traveling is just part of the deal.  We’re flying out to Seattle in a few weeks to visit Ryan’s family, and driving to Louisiana again after that.  It’s a LOT.  And I’m sure the older Lila gets, the more we’ll have to cut back.  But right now, it’s an unavoidable part of life.  And I do think it’s making us stronger.  You know, in the same way that open combat makes you stronger.  If you make it out alive, that is.

Yes, I just compared parenting a baby to open combat.  Things are going well.  Obviously.

The truth is, things are going well.


(This “A” that she’s chewing on stands for asshole)

I think you just have to take the bad and the ugly to get the good. 

And we’ll be bringing a lot of infant Tylenol to Seattle.

ps—Have you read this piece?  I wish I’d had it to read on that Friday night.  It would have made me cry, but that would have just been a drop in the bucket.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    November 30, 2012 3:54 pm

    I think that is absolutely the WORST FEELING in the world when you want everyone to see how awesome your child is and she is acting like the spawn of SATAN… especially when not everyone has met her, but they know all about her “perfect temperament” from your parents. The thing that pisses me off the most is that I have become that mom… the one who says, “she is NEVER like this.” I used to LOATHE those moms and think they were crazy.

    I might get some hate mail for this comment, but Mary Margaret was the same way when we went home for Thanksgiving so I took her to my childhood doctor thinking something was obviously wrong with her and he prescribed cough syrup and said it was to help her with “teething.” If you have a cool doctor like my childhood doctor, maybe that would help for your future travels. To some, it might sound shitty to drug your child, but I figure it’s better for me to stay sane and not become a national news headline. Plus, who doesn’t like to get drunk off cough syrup every once in a while? Am I right?!?

    Also, my Baton Rouge doctor told me it’s okay to give 5ml of Children’s Benadryl when they start teething really bad and can’t sleep at night. I took it while I was pregnant to help with my sinuses so I figure she probably said, “well, hello old friend” when I gave it to her again.

    Obviously, don’t mix the two cocktails together. Just trying to help you out… It sure helped me. Don’t you wish you could have her room shipped to your parents house? It would make life alot easier!

    Good luck and happy holidays!

    • December 1, 2012 1:20 am

      Oh, I am SO with you, Jenny. Lila was meeting some of our relatives for the first time, and I just kept thinking– they’re going to think she’s a monster!! And it DOES suck, because she really is a pretty happy baby at home!

      We’re all over the benadryl for our Seattle flights. I don’t think our doctor would give us cough syrup if she wasn’t sick– he’s kind of stickler. But the benadryl…and infant advil…yes, please. No qualms about it. 🙂

  2. November 30, 2012 5:55 pm

    I’m telling you, you have a Max on your hands! Thank god you said this out loud. Tony and I swear Max can be the biggest asshole ever…but he’s our asshole and we love him completely! I’m sorry you had a bad day especially when you really just needed it to be good. Those are seriously the most frustrating times. However, things that you get to look forward to later…the eye rolling, lying, destroyed bedroom and back talking. It only gets more fun from here! 🙂

    • December 1, 2012 1:18 am

      Hahaha…you sound like my mom. After that night, she said, “You know, the first year is the hardest. Until they become teenagers. And then that’s the hardest.” Honestly, sometimes even a teenager doesn’t sound that bad compared to Lila on her worst day. 😉

  3. November 30, 2012 6:26 pm

    haha- I LOVE your honesty. Traveling with a baby is HARD. We have a trip coming up and I always get major anxiety beforehand. ❤ you!

    • December 1, 2012 1:17 am

      I know– sometimes I think the anxiety leading up to the trip is almost worse than anything that could happen on the trip itself!! We’ve been stressing about our Seattle flights for MONTHS! I hope your trip goes well!

  4. November 30, 2012 10:21 pm

    I know that one night was hard, but we seriously had a ball with all of you over Thanksgiving! Lila is a doll and is so sweet, we can’t wait to see her again! And, the Christmas card is going to be awesome! Believe it or not, this is not the hardest stage of parenting – just wait ’till she’s a teenager!! 🙂

    • December 1, 2012 1:16 am

      We’ll be shipping her off to boarding school, so it won’t matter. 🙂

  5. Chelsey permalink
    December 1, 2012 3:45 am

    I remember we went to the beach with Hilton when he was 2.5 and Clyde was 6 months. It was the HARDEST VACATION EVER!!!!! I was exhausted and it took me days to recover. Love your posts and completely understand where you’re coming from.

    • December 1, 2012 12:30 pm

      “Vacation,” right?? 😉 I think vacations just kind of permanently change after you have kids. 🙂

  6. December 1, 2012 12:09 pm

    I can’t help but laugh that she’s chewing on an A for asshole.

  7. December 1, 2012 12:34 pm

    Oh, the joys of traveling with a little one. I can’t wait!

    And Lila is already calling her parents assholes?! 😉

    You crack me up.

  8. December 3, 2012 11:42 am

    Thanks for sharing, Anna. I love how real and honest you are about motherhood, yourself as a mom, and Lila. It is so refreshing and you have the best sense of humor! 🙂


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