Thursday, June 17, 2010

Road Trip!

Well, we made it! Our first road trip as Team Heintz 4.0. Over 16 hours of driving in 3 days with a 2 year old and 5 month old (both teething!) is borderline corporal punishment, but we survived. The trip there was not nearly as painful as the trip back, but what transpired between getting 30+ miles per gallon in the Subaru (I love our 2010 Outback) was worth every minute--FAMILY! We made the voyage to Ohio to visit Eric's side of the family and celebrate my sister-in-law's final departure from all her child psychiatry training, and to see her and her husband before they move from Ohio to Maine.

I had immense guilt the days leading up to the drive as at night I prayed Miles would miraculously decide to enjoy television and just watch it for 8 hours straight in the car. We borrowed a portable DVD player, children's DVDs, and brought along our one lonely DVD-Thomas the Tank Engine. True to his nature, Miles didn't care much for the DVDs. It's not even a reflection on his attention span as much as it is he has little interest in sitting and watching TV (unless he is puking on his Mah-na with the stomach virus.) He just doesn't do it at all at home. (Granted, while in Ohio, he asked to watch Thomas on demand no less than 20 times. Although, once it is on, he loses interest fast.) And outside of the morning news, the television is never on in our house when he is up. Instead, Miles enjoyed playing with foam ear plugs, pointing out trucks, bridges and water, reading books, eating copious amounts of snacks, creating a hair tunnel with mommy's hair, and demanding that he hold my hand--usually while I was either feeding Felix a bottle or pumping. I was like the cream in a Britax carseat sandwich "chi-chi" (cookie, if you ask Miles.).

And then the guilt really bubbled up when we were about 2 hours from home on the way back. Miles was getting punch drunk and getting way too silly for 9pm when we were convinced both boys would be knocked out. I even caught him listing all of his friends from school to the truck outside the car window. Just as he was going into "the zone" (i.e. the preamble to sleep), Felix stirred, and then they both were up. One crying, one screaming " ELLA! TILDEN! HAHN! (his word for Sean) DA TRUUUUUCK!" This time, I whipped out the DVD player, put in the borrowed Baby Einstein "My First Signs" and...

PUT IT IN FRONT OF FELIX! I almost threw up a little in my mouth. And I certainly couldn't look myself in the eyes in the mirror for a few days. The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood would have been so disappointed. Felix actually started watching. Enter my internal struggle:

Do I pull it away because he really shouldn't have any screen time? But he's pacified. Or do I slowly move it away, pretending that I am not using it to pacify him, knowing full well that it is still within view? You know, Ali, every single second you spend debating the issue a little brain cell of his dies, and I am sure a fairy loses a wing, too.

And just as Miles saved my breast (read the last post), he saved Felix's brain and started doing the sign language with the video, compelling me to immediately move it into only Miles's range of view. Talk about taking one for the team. Not that I want Miles to have any screen time, I have convinced myself it is not as bad having a 2 year old interacting with the signing DVD than a 5 month old staring blankly at a screen.

Felix bawled.

Miles kept signing "ball" and "baby," but would also have to announce to me that he was signing it.

I started to pump (might as well take advantage of the kiddie cries--makes a better let down reflex!), and I think I cried myself a little.

Eric put on his noise cancellation headphones...

And we endured a painful final hour.

I must say that while in Ohio, both boys did pretty well--sleep was not much worse than it normally is, and Miles even took a substantial nap for the 1 day we were there! The teething got to epic proportions for Miles and I caught him sucking his thumb at one point. He has NEVER done that a day in his life. Oh, and there was those 2 minutes that he had to sit on the quiet couch.  Felix ate his weight in breastmilk, which I predominately pumped during the day, so that didn't end up being too much fun, but thunder thighs is back to his normal consumption patterns now. Although, I am going to consult with a pediatric GI specialist because this kid has more tummy trouble than I have ever seen. Fodder for another post another day.

And now, I present some of our weekend pictures and accompanying vignettes to read at your leisure.

But(t) Pies
One of the highlights of our weekend was going to a butterfly exhibit. Miles affectionately calls butterflies "but(t) pies," which makes me kind of cringe. It was one of those experiences where I kept thinking "If I didn't have children, I could get some really gorgeous photographs of such amazing creatures and plants." (i.e. I didn't take many pictures because I was so caught up in the moment with my kids. That happens these days. Sacrifice documentation for real-time experience. And believe it or not, I wouldn't trade it.) We had a great time, but it was short lived as I think it was about 90 degrees with 90% humidity.
From Ohio trip June 2010
From Ohio trip June 2010

(this picture cracks me up):
From Ohio trip June 2010
From Ohio trip June 2010

Incredible Hulk
Aunt Heather has the most amazing collection of puppets and toys for her work office, and Miles got to rummage through her bin and play. We had a great time with the Incredible Hulk "fists" that Miles was even able to operate.
From Ohio trip June 2010
From Ohio trip June 2010
From Ohio trip June 2010

Chewy Works the Ladies
Felix chewed anything that was within striking distance. He also left a delicious trail of drool wherever he went.
From Ohio trip June 2010
Luckily, I think it adds to his appeal as he got a lot of loving from his family. We were lucky enough to be graced with the presence of his Great Aunt (who is one of my devoted readers!). I have never met someone with such an amazing spirit. She oozes positivity and resiliency. So, here's my shout out to Great Aunt E up in Ohio--WE LOVE YOU!
From Ohio trip June 2010

Another really wonderful family moment was when we were leaving, in the middle of a graduation party, and Miles was saying good-bye to everyone. I didn't know how it would go as we were leaving in the middle of a presentation, and he was 2 hours delinquent on his nap. He leaned over to his Great Grandmother and completely unprompted whispered, "I love you, too."  He's never said his "I love you, too" unprompted to anyone but me and Eric. (And yes, he adds the "too" at the end even when he is the first to say it!). It was so sweet, and I am not sure that his Great Grandmother realized what a milestone this was. The first time he ever said I love you was to my Mother (Mah-na) on Skype (after I told him to say it, not thinking he actually would), and now the first time he has ever said it of his own volition outside of me and Eric was to his Great Grandmother. Ah, be still my heart!

Fast Food and Toddler Races (No pictures for this one. Just mental ones)
We only stopped 1 time on each leg of our journey to and from Ohio. On the way up, we stopped at a Wendy's. Oh, but it was a Wendy's attached to a gas station. Yeah, the kind where we said even if there was a Koala Bear changing station in the bathroom, we wouldn't use it for fear a heroin needle would pierce the diaper, or the kids would catch some sort of veneral disease. No, seriously. Yet, we somehow felt comfortable enough to purchase food. Miles ordered the mandarin oranges, which I am sure were packaged in 1993, and I actually got a kids meal.

And then I saw Miles's eyes grow big with wonder and excitement. I could read his mind:

Mommy, what is that delicious little paper cup full of red deliciousness?

But it came out: "Mommy--Tahts Peeze!" (Mommy, I want that please!)

I handed Miles his first ever traditional french fry (hey, I already prayed he would watch TV, might as well finish the obesity equation with fast food), and he dipped it straight into the ketchup...and then sucked that high fructose corn syrup off and went in for more. He had no interest in the fry--just the ketchup.

First night's dinner: mandarin oranges and ketchup. Classy, Miles.

On the way home, we stopped off at a MacDonald's and found our way into the indoor playspace. I was confident Miles wouldn't have the guts to get on the playground, so we felt okay eating in the solarium of insanity as I call it. Miles did just sit and watch the "big boys" fly around the playground, completely unsupervised and high on Ronald MacDonald's crack food. I did want Miles to get some energy out, so we ran back and forth, holding hands, in the area in front of the play space. Another little 2 year old boy, Eli, who was part Monkey I think, joined us, and didn't have an ounce of stranger danger. I did get Miles to give him high five at every pass of the playground. And then it was dinner time. Guess what was Miles's main course?

Yup. Ketchup. With 1 fry as the vehicle for entry into his mouth. At least we brought organic apples with us and he followed up with some fresh fruit.

All in all, the actual traveling wasn't bad. It certainly wasn't good, and I do not recommend anyone strap in a 2 year old and 5 month old into car seats for extended periods of time, but even the 1 full day we had with family was worth it.

Next up? Flying up to Boston in 2 weekends for the boys' baptism.

Let's hope Delta starts serving ketchup on flights.

And to close, pictures of the 3 boys I love more than anything.  (A few more Ohio weekend pictures here.)
From Ohio trip June 2010
From Ohio trip June 2010
From Ohio trip June 2010


  1. I totally love the image of Miles sucking down that ketchup with the fry. And definitely the image of the boys melting in the back seat whilst you pump and Eric wears his headphones. Man oh man... that scene needs to make it into a National Lampoon's movie!

    SUCH cute pictures!

  2. I agree with Rebecca - National Lampoon the baby toddler edition! Hey, don't be too hard on yourself in regards to TV and ketchup (which President Reagan qualified as a vegetable during his time in office). You watched TV when you were a baby, and seem to have kept your brain cells intact. It's making those unusual life choices under extraordinary circumstances that help us get through life!
    I absolutely love seeing Aunt Elaine after hearing so many lovely things about her. She looks thrilled to meet Blog Baby Felix in person.
    It made me tear up to read about Miles whispering "I love you, too" to his great-grandmother. He's a sweetie, and each little boy is cuter than the other (prejudiced you say???)

  3. Hi my name is Sara and I'm a germaphobe...that is why I never take my kids to McD's play land. How can they possibly keep it clean and germ free? Congrats on keeping him off the germ-factory and getting energy out!

    Sounds like you have already "forgotten" the torture of that car ride - good for you! Nothing like uninterrupted family time.

    Let me know when and how long you'll be in my area...I'd love to find a way to get together w/ our survivors!


  4. Congrats on surviving the road trip! I have a great pediatric GI to recommend if you need one!