After months of staying close to home, this weekend we're heading back down to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky for Keith's brother and sister-in-law's baby shower.
The long car trip is another checkmark in the "vastly improved" column. The first trip down after Eleanor was born was such a nightmare. She was less than 2 months old, I think. I know that I was still breastfeeding, and we had to stop all the time for that, and she cried and didn't want to be in her carseat.... those kids, that magically fall asleep every time they're in a moving car? Eleanor has never been one of those. She might sleep for a bit, but not the whole time. The roughly 4-hour trip took at least 6 hours the first time.
Then we started trying to drive at night, when she was ready to go to sleep. At bedtime we would put on her pjs and buckle her into her carseat. It worked as far as the actual driving part went. But it also meant we got there at 1 or 2 in the morning and, as soon as the car stopped, her eyes popped open. She was AWAKE! And didn't want to go to sleep anytime soon. So even though the drive was shorter, we ended up more tired and crabby than before.
Finally, maybe in December?, we gave up on trying to fit the trip around Eleanor's schedule and just drove when it made sense. Keith might take a half-day or skip lunch and leave work an hour early. We leave Cleveland mid-afternoon, and get to Keith's parents' house in time for dinner. Eleanor sleeps for part of the time, and part of the time it's my job to entertain her.
I think Keith really likes this part of it, because he has been the main driver for the entire time we've been together. I used to sleep, listen to a story, knit a little bit .... but he was doing the majority of the work. Now, sometimes it seems like driving is the easy part!
So yes, I may be making a fool out of myself in the backseat. But it's worth it. And it's so much easier to keep Eleanor entertained now; she actually seems to enjoy the ride! (For 15 minutes, at least.)
When I was thinking about it this week, I was shocked to realize that I wasn't dreading the trip, as I used to. Even before Eleanor, it felt long and incredibly boring. Anyone who has driven I-71 through Ohio will agree that it's a long, dull stretch of highway. But the regular 4ish hour trip doesn't seem so long anymore, compared to the nightmare 6+ hours of her babyhood. Plus, call me crazy, but it actually feels like a little bit of family time. We're all hanging out together. Keith and I get to talk quietly while she's sleeping, which doesn't happen too often. Eleanor can't order him out of the room, as she's won't to do sometimes in the evening when she's fussy. It's the three of us, together, in our own little moving world.
I think this means it's time for a family roadtrip!