Friday, February 18. Almost two weeks ago now! Lilly’s life is so full that she always has so many plans, and it’s hard to keep up with them myself let alone give her a good head’s up on what’s going on! On Friday morning, waiting for the school bus, I tried to explain:
“Lilly, first you go to school, then you’re going to Sesame Street Live with your class, then I pick you up and we go to dance class, then you see Colleen, Julianne, and Lyndsey, then we come home and eat dinner and see daddy. Then tomorrow we go to swimming lessons with your friend Konstantina, then take a taxi to the airport, and fly to Atlanta to see Grandma. Sunday you’ll see Grandpa with the mustache, your other grandma (Jon’s parents), Hannah, and Paul and we’re going to daddy’s friend’s baby’s baptism, then come back to Grandma’s house and see Hannah (a different one – her cousin), Tristan, Suzanne, and your cousins Ava, Luke and Noah. The next day, Monday, you’ll see Grandma, Grandpa with the moustache, Scott, Donna, Jacob, and Aiden. Tuesday we’ll get in the car for a road trip with Grandma to Savannah to see Cassidy, Jenn and Brian. Wednesday we’ll go to Hilton Head for the day, then back to Savannah to see Cassidy and the trampoline. Thursday we’ll take Cassidy in the car with you, me and Grandma and drive to Hilton Head, where PawPaw and daddy will fly in to see us. We’ll spend the next three nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Villas go to Disney World every day, then Grandma, PawPaw and Cassidy will go home and you me and daddy will stay at All Star Movies, before flying home late Monday night. Then, back to school.”Yeah, so that got a little confusing for my little girl, I think. But luckily she’s a “go with the flow” kind of girl, at least when she acknowledges that (a) we’re going to have fun, and (b) she doesn’t have an option to not go with the flow.
She went to school that Friday, and had a blast at Sesame Street Live with her classmates. The teachers said she was dancing hard and having a great time; they were all talking about Miss Lilly.
Then we took the subway down to Tribeca for Lilly’s hip hop class, which I am loving (and so is Lilly). She danced up a storm, and at the end her aunt and cousins came to see her, which is her favorite part. As soon as the door opens and class is over, she gives her cousins a quick greeting, then hightails it into the changing room, confident that Lyn and Jules are right behind her, with a couple additional friends. Before I can even run after her, Lilly is stripping off her purple leotard, black booty shorts (yes they make booty shorts in her little size!), and black jazz shoes. My naked girl stands there and dances, talking fast to her cousins and their friends and being bossy, and I convince her to start getting her “street” clothes back on. Weekly routine.
After hanging for a bit, Lilly and I walked to the subway and got on the 5 express. We got off at 42nd street and got on the local for a few stops. However, 5 o clock rush hour is crazy and Lilly was getting claustrophobic, not to mention we were standing the whole time (poor kid!). We were literally packed in like sardines, and my girl was not a fan. “No train! No train! I don’t want it!” Half the people on the subway were agreeing with her, telling her so, but it didn’t help. So we hopped off at 59th street and took a short cab ride the rest of the way (like $7 instead of the $30 it would have been from Tribeca, so we did save some $ by taking the train generally).
We walked into the house totally exhausted. I think at this point I’d had a migraine for two days as well, I forgot to mention – Excedrin Migraine actually helped it a lot each day but it was still there in the background, and ended up lasting like 4 days! (Lilly had blood work the previous Tuesday and waiting two days for the results was so stressful - but thankfully she's healthy! But that's where the migraine started...) And we had to pack for our trip the next day. So, for the first time in weeks, I paid for someone else to make our dinner: Little Vincent’s delivered a memorable authentic NY pizza that I’ll be curious to find out if Naples can beat, in July. It hit the spot, and Jon got home a little while later. It was a busy day, Lilly went to sleep early (7ish, when she doesn’t nap, which is usual). I packed the rest of the night. Jon, per usual, offered to help with whatever I needed, and then promptly fell asleep on the couch until 1 am. I was up until 2 getting things organized. I successfully weeded out what we didn’t really need for our trip until Lilly and I had all of our stuff in one suitcase and one carry on, which was easier to get through the airport the next day with just me and Lilly traveling.
I woke up Saturday morning with my migraine again. Took my Excedrin, and beelined it for the morning coffee that Jon so sweetly sets up for me every morning before he goes to work. I turned it on and… it didn’t work. It was acting funny, finally I got a cup to pour out and it was cold! Plus, I had no food for Lilly. Ugh… So at 7:30 am Lilly and I decided to walk downstairs and around the corner for a bagel and a coffee, which is the best thing about NYC: the convenience of everything being super close. The day before had been beautiful – in the 60’s, sunny – but it got really cold overnight, which I didn’t realize, so we weren’t exactly dressed appropriately when we stepped outside. We ran down two streets to the quickest, easiest, cheapest coffee stand – and found it to be gone, apparently he only works weekdays. So, freezing, we ran back past our apartment and in the other direction to Daisy’s café, spot number two for getting a good bagel and coffee. And, they didn’t open until 8. So we walked across another street to a pizzeria (which is not as good at Vincent’s pizza) but who happens to serve bagels and coffee in the morning, and ordered what we needed. The guy said $3 and Lilly pulled out her pink purse and took a $5 out of it. She sweetly took the change and stuffed it back in her purse. (She is such a NYC girl: yesterday when she got up, I asked her if she wanted a bagel, which I had in the kitchen waiting for her. She said “Yes” and got her monkey and her purse and some money and a jacket and started to walk out the door…)
We ran back to the apartment, Lilly already munching on the bagel. I continued to pack and organize as she played and ate, and turned my head for one minute and: she had taken my hand sanitizer out of my purse and put it all over her legs like lotion. Scared she’d get the alcohol in her eyes, I gave her a bath, even though she was going swimming in an hour.
We got dressed for the pool, and went downstairs where her friend Konstantina and her mom were waiting. We hopped in a cab, headed for the Millennium hotel, where swimming is conducted on the 27th floor pool. The girls changed, and Lilly eagerly jumped into the pool when it was their turn.
The swimming classes are great. There’s a maximum of 3 kids with one instructor, but so far it’s just been Lilly and her friend, so it’s half playdate, half private lesson. Her friend is older than her so she’s a little more advanced in swimming, but Lilly is so fearless in the water so it kind of evens out. Instead of a life vest, Lilly wears a floating thing around her waist which gives a little support but not much, and she’s very free to use her arms and legs to swim. I was so impressed by the way she maneuvered in the pool. She wants so much to be independent, and is confident in her ability. For part of the lesson she didn’t even have the floating thing on, and had to balance holding a floating weight looking thing. She’s great at kicking and going from one side of the pool to another. It was really cool to watch her. I like her instructor a lot, but also give Jon a lot of credit for working with Lilly in pools so much last summer.
We came home from swimming in the taxi with Lilly’s friend and they sang “This little light of mine” on the way, so precious. When we got here, Jon was home from work for a little while, and I finished the final touches of packing. Lilly took a bath and washed her hair from the chlorine. At 2, Lilly and I hopped in a taxi to go to LaGuardia.
We arrived at the airport in plenty of time. One thing I’ve learned from NY airports is that the line is always REALLY long inside. So, when we get dropped off, even if the line is a little long to check in outside, I still do it there. It saves the hassle of going inside, seeing the long lines, and walking back out, which we did the first few times we traveled in NYC. No exception this time: one person ahead of us in line, got checked in quickly, and saw a huge line inside. Good decision making: check.
But things don’t always run smoothly. Security was out of control, the line was as long as it could be. And one thing I noticed about this round of traveling, both flying from NYC to ATL and from Orlando to NYC a week later, is that the security people have taken some lessons in sarcasm and rudeness. Dude, I travel all the time. I know the rules. I’m clearly traveling with a 4 year old who is actually really well behaved. I’m doing the best I can. You can be a little nicer to me, please. Anyways, rant over, but I will say the security customer service could be improved, and not just on the NY end.
But Lilly and I easily survived. They didn’t do any of the new security procedures like x-raying our bodies with that special machine, or patting us down. Lilly knew the routine, took off her shoes and put them in the basket herself, and put them back on at the other end. Thank goodness she’s easy.
We got through with plenty of time to spare. Like, over an hour. We walked to the gate and since the last time we flew, about 6 weeks earlier, the gate had been turned into what looked like one of those video poker cheap restaurants. There were all these mini booths with small computer/video game/advertisement things on them. There was hardly anywhere for normal people to sit. We didn’t want to order food at the booth; plus there’s just room for one person at each spot. It was really ridiculous and whoever planned that wasn’t thinking about efficiency.
But, we found seats and Lilly really was good at entertaining herself. Another travel tip: don’t pull out all the good stuff early on, you never know when you’ll need an emergency stash of something to occupy or entertain a child. A successful trip is one in which you open up the backpack when you’re unpacking and find 3 or 4 things you hadn’t even touched.
Lilly had almost fallen asleep in the taxi on the way to the airport earlier, so I was certain she’d fall asleep on the plane. Instead, when we got on, she read People and Us Weekly (such a good mom I am, right?), colored, and entertained herself. Which is fine, but exhausting, and I still had part of my migraine.
We arrived in Atlanta a couple hours later and finally ended up at the front of the airport to see my mom. I was so happy to see her (and have a little child care relief!). We stopped at the bathroom on the way and one thing that makes me really happy about the Atlanta airport bathrooms are that they have a stool for kids to stand on to wash their hands. Which is so nice, since airports and traveling definitely necessitates an extra good hand washing.
Our luggage arrives and we get in the car. Lulu falls asleep 10 minutes after we leave the airport. At this point, it’s 8pm or so. I’m still migrained out, starving, exhausted. When we got to my parent’s house (my dad was out of town) we got Lilly in her pj’s and she went to bed. My mom made me a great salad, and not too much later we were all asleep.
Wow. So that’s vacation day one (and the pre-vacation day). I’m exhausted already. I’m sure the rest of the trip will be easier… right?