Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh, I'm a Travellin' Man

Before we left for our California trip, I was quite apprehensive about how Ryan would manage. The long plane trip, the time change, the unfamiliar surroundings, the change in feeding and sleeping schedule…even for such a laid-back baby, those are an awful lot of changes all at once. But I am pleased to say that he came through like a champ!

Our flight out had 4 other babies on board, so I was relieved that any apprehension the other passengers might have about a baby crying would at least be spread around. And I was even more relieved when Ryan fell asleep just before takeoff. Unfortunately, that nap didn’t last too long – but in general, he was very well-behaved when he woke up. Out of the six-hour flight, I’d say he napped for two hours, fussed for one, and played for the other three. As I predicted, he charmed the flight attendant and at one point when he was fussy, she took him for a walk up and down the aisle. Being the social animal that he is, he was quickly distracted by looking at all the people on the plane. He was soon grinning and humming and flailing his arms with excitement, much to the delight of the other passengers. Phew, hurdle number 1 was over.

Then came the hurdle of the time change and sleeping schedule. Ryan was awake but completely spaced out while we took the airport shuttle to pick up our rental car and loaded him in to drive to the hotel. Once we got him fed, changed, and settled in to the crib, it was 11:30pm local time, which meant it was 2:30am by Ryan’s body clock. Not surprisingly, he zonked out immediately. And then, at 4:00am, my worst fears were realized: his body clock told him it was 7am and time to wake up, and he started crying. But I laid down with him on the spare bed and snuggled with him, and he soon fell back to sleep as exhaustion got the better of him. He woke up again at 7:30, and I hoped against hope that his internal clock had been reset.

Throughout the week, he was terrific at managing naps wherever he was when he needed them, without getting too horribly fussy beforehand. He napped in the car, in the stroller, in my arms – wherever he happened to be, he just dropped off. And he almost always woke up calmly, without yelling or fussing. He would just sleep long enough to refresh himself, then wake with a happy smile for whoever was nearby.

His good behavior continued nearly every time we were out socializing and introduced him to a group. He was contented and friendly when we had lunch with friends at Apple Computer (although he did get quite solemn when Steve Jobs came through), he was reasonably quiet during a friend’s graduation ceremony and was happy to play with everyone at the post-graduation party, he definitely had on his party manners for his sister’s graduation and post-graduation dinner, and he could not have been sweeter at the barbeque and croquet party for the graduates the next day. Even during our visit to the Monterey Aquarium, he was quiet and curious and enjoyed watching both the fish and the other children. And of course, the photos from our family photo shoot are evidence of what a happy boy he was during that particular outing.

But the trip home was his pinnacle of perfect behavior. We were sitting in the second row of the plane, and had sat him up in the empty seat between us (with his seatbelt securely fastened, of course), and he cheerfully grinned and cooed at all the passengers as they got on board, chortling and slapping his knees with delight. Even the weariest-looking travelers gave him a smile or a wave in return. Once everyone was on board, he settled in with his bottle for a few minutes, and promptly fell asleep as we were taxiing to the runway. He slept soundly for the entire flight, waking only when Daddy put him on his lap to prepare for landing – and as he had all week, he woke with a smile. He spent the last few minutes on board staring out the window at the runway lights in absolute fascination.

He’s too young to remember this trip when he’s grown up, but judging from his behavior on this one, he’ll have many more wonderful and enjoyable trips throughout his lifetime that he will remember!

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