|Gracie's face brought to you by exhaustion and incoming teeth.|
As I'm writing this, I've been home for 48 hours and am still nowhere near recovered after traveling solo with a teething toddler. It will probably take another 48 days. Approximately.
In all honestly, it wasn't bad at all. She did a fantastic job as long as I kept a steady stream of snacks and toys flowing from the front to backseat. I did a fantastic job as long as I kept a steady stream of snacks flowing from my bag to my mouth.
We showed up on the doorstep of Sarah's very lovely home Wednesday afternoon, and as soon as Gracie saw Annabelle's giant Pooh Bear, she was in heaven. She pointed to it whenever we were in the living room and would wiggle out of my arms to crawl over to it and give it a giant hug. Those two were never apart. We're working to make Gracie and Annabelle best friends, but so far Gracie only has eyes for Pooh. However, she did develop eyes for Annabelle when she noticed she had snacks. Baby steps.
In related news, Amazon will be delivering a Pooh Bear to our house sometime tomorrow.
The girls ate popsicles outside and shared a post-nap viewing party of Cinderella. They looked just like their mothers did later that night when we shared hot artichoke dip and caught up on The Bachelorette.
Not that we watch The Bachelorette.
Sarah made us the most delicious meals. One was so good that I might be trying to recreate it tonight in my own kitchen. Her house was so quaint and charming that I nearly moved myself into the guest room. It was so nice to visit with someone who understands my nap nazi ways and who doesn't flinch when my child throws all her food on the floor before I can stop her.
Against our better judgment, Gracie and I left Friday morning to drive home. The drive was easy and Gracie napped twice and kept herself occupied with makeup brushes and a cat toy (when times are desperate!). I was feeling very pleased with myself for accomplishing this trip alone with her and expecting to find some sort of trophy on my doorstep upon arrival. We stopped in Pennsylvania for gas and food, and I took that opportunity to hit the nearest Dunkin Donuts since they aren't as readily available in my neck of the woods. The cashier handed me my large blueberry iced coffee, which was free since I hadn't used my birthday drink yet, and then said the best sentence I've ever heard in my life: "Would you like a free donut for National Donut Day?" Why yes. Yes I would. I've never loved an inane, made-up holiday more. One strawberry glazed donut later and we were once again on the road.
Gracie slept for much of our way through Ohio, which gave me time to listen to a podcast and think about important things such as where we should order pizza from for dinner. She started getting cranky the last half hour, and I figured she was just as tired of being in the car as I was. She was flipping through board books and playing with her toys when I thought to myself that I was so lucky to have a kid who doesn't get carsick. Just glancing at my phone while riding in a car is enough to make me hurl, but she looked at books the whole way there and back and had nary an issue.
Do you see where this is going?
Right as we turned onto our street and I was ready to wave my victory flag, I heard a coughing, sputtering sound from the backseat and smelled a very familiar smell. In horror, I slowly raised my eyes to the mirror to assess the situation behind me.
What I saw will haunt me the rest of my life.
Vomit. Everywhere. Covering everything. I couldn't even tell the color of Gracie's outfit because it was completely covered. Her toys, the backseat, everything was covered in a fresh splatter of her half-digested lunch. The smell took me right back to my first (and second) trimester and I immediately dry-heaved. The situation was so intense I didn't even know how to begin cleaning it up. I hosed her down in the bathtub, threw the barf toys in the dishwasher and the carseat cover in the washer, and geared myself up to tackle the car once James got home a little later. It took me an hour of dismantling the carseat and scrubbing the backseat in 90 degree heat to clean it up. It got in every nook and cranny imaginable, and while I'm not usually the most detail-oriented person, I became one, because I refuse to drive a car with even a hint of that smell.
Once again, I learned the constant truth of motherhood: whenever you think you have a situation under control, you don't. That, and I should've moved in with Sarah.