Friday, June 25, 2010


Ah, Chicago, the Windy City... how I love you so. Funny thing about spending my adolescence in the Mid-West, everyone within 12 hours of Chicago considers it their town because it's the closest big city, and yet no one in Chicago could give a hoot about any of those places in the vast wasteland of Middle America. (I mean wasteland in the nicest way, it's not all car-racing and trailer parks as some Chicago-dwellers might think.)

So as I mentioned, we headed there this past weekend for my cousin's wedding. I was really nervous about the trip and I handled these nerves by over-preparing. I had ziplock baggies of just about everything a person could need while traveling. Most of it went unused, but I felt very secure the whole trip with my nice, neat ziplocks to go to in times of need.

I know, you want the good stuff, the juicy details. Well here was the baby on the flight out:

No, we did not drug her, apparently she likes white noise and there is ALOT of white noise on planes. She made some funny faces in her sleep every now and again, I think when her ears were pressurizing, but we would shove various things to suck in her mouth and she was fine - never even woke up. (Look at those chubby arms, a whole separate post on that coming your way soon!)

Funny thing though, I had dressed her up in a very ruffly dress and we kept getting oohs and ahhs, but if she got even a little fussy, people changed and ran away quickly. I wish I could make her cry on command, that might come in handy when I get cornered by crazy people.

Speaking of crazy people, our hotel room was not exactly baby-friendly. The room was not actually big enough for the crib they brought, so we had to choose whether to have her directly in front of the air conditioner, blocking the armoire, or blocking the door to the bathroom and sharing a wall with the elevator. We chose the bathroom option and she did fine.

The day after we arrived, after her 4 to 5am feeding was over, I decided I was hungry and that I should go find us something to munch on. I stopped at the desk and asked if I saw correctly and that there was a Dunkin' Donuts on the corner, and proceeded out the door. What the desk agent neglected to warn me about, is that the street we were on was still in after-party mode at 5:30am. So my baby and I walked past a lover's tiff, a more serious fight, a small pool of blood on the sidewalk and made our way up to the corner.

As I made my way inside, a very large truck with some very loud rap music pulled into the spot near where I was walking, and a man hopped out and kind of ran inside in front of me. By the time I got inside, the man from the truck was being solicited by two transvestite prostitutes while two other men looked on. The rap music man started to joke with them and things started to get very animated. At the same time, he whispered "Go ahead, Ma'am" to me. I realized he was taking the heat from the ladies to spare me... thanks kind Sir!! Good thing too, because later after he left and I was waiting inconspicuously at the other end of the store, I heard them saying how high they were and talking about whether they wanted to get higher or sober up. All in all a little scary.

But I made my way back to the hotel, napped a little, got up and showered, and had a lovely second breakfast with one of my three lovely aunts that we spent time with this trip. Later, Charles and I walked to Wrigley Field and took some snapshots. We watched a World Cup match. Got dressed in fancy clothes, went downstairs and met some fellow wedding party folks who were going to walk to the restaurant, wished them well and went to hail a taxi.

No taxis.

Finally a few blocks down, we found one!

We got in and told him where we were going, but he turned right on Belmont instead of left. Charles and I grumbled back and forth a bit and reminded him of the address we were going to. He assured us that he was just trying to avoid traffic. "Okay" I said, "But this is a wedding, please don't make us miss it." Next thing we know we are on Lake Shore Drive headed downtown. He gets off at Roosevelt and starts mumbling that he cannot find the street number we gave him.

"But we are on Roosevelt, we told you Roscoe!"

So long story short, we took a very tense taxi ride instead of watching my cousin get married. Luckily, I had long enough in the taxi to go through the full range of my emotions: shock, sadness, anger, and acceptance. I realized that we would be walking into a party full of people that had just witnessed a wonderful declaration of love, and that I needed to be happy! I may not have been totally successful, I think I told the story too much, but at least I tried to just be in the moment and leave the taxi behind.

Besides, my sweet aunt met us at the door, took my sweet baby from the carseat and started to introduce her like she was a celebrity:

Yes, that's me in the foreground and YES, I did match my shirt to my baby! She's my very best accessory.

We had a great time, despite the difficulties and despite the challenge of being out of our little nest. Look at our sweet darling in the airport on the way home.

She did look around when we got home and smiled like crazy, despite being overtired from the late arrival back home. She seems to have popped back into her routine fairly easily as well.

However, I asked my husband what we could have done differently to make it easier. "Wait until she's older" was his response.

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