Dear Chicken Nugget,
Happy New Year! You are now officially in 2011.
A lot has happened since I last wrote:
- you went to your first party (my staff holiday party)
- we flew to Nebraska for Christmas break
- you celebrated your first Christmas
- you were baptized in Nebraska
- you met a whole lot of family
- we went on our first zoo trip together, in Omaha, NE
- you celebrated your first New Year
I'll have to write about these individually later since I had little time to sit and write during all this fun.
I will say a little something about our flying experience...
I'm not a fan of flying. At some point in my life I wanted to be a pilot, and even an astronaut, but as I grew older and realized that my nearsightedness was going to prevent me from piloting an airplane or shuttle, I had to settle for being a passenger. Here's the thing, I have control issues. If the plane swings from one side to the other, gets bumpy, or drops a few feet in altitude, I... flip... out.
Not in a big way. But, I will put my hand on your mom's knee and squeeze a little. I'd like to believe that if I was sitting at the controls, I wouldn't be needing reassurance. That might create an awkward moment between me and the co-pilot.
However, taking you on your first plane ride was a very different experience. We had one layover on our way to Nebraska and one on the way back to New York - four planes in all.
I only had to grab your mom's knee once. Not that the plane rides were perfectly smooth. It was that all our attention was on you. Flying with a 3 1/2 month old is hard work. Every step of the way, from packing luggage, checking in at the counter, boarding, to simple things like sitting, diaper changes, and getting off the plane felt three times harder with you. And, you were a dream baby... for most of the flights.
On three of the four flights we probably looked like parents who knew what they were doing. We even got compliments on how great a baby you were. Then came the fourth and final flight.
We took our seats in row 12 and prepared for takeoff. The lady sitting next to me looked at you and did one of those "isn't that baby cute" shrugs. As the plane started to roll your mom tried feeding you to help you deal with pressure changes, a system that worked well for the three other flights. You refused to eat. And you started to cry. The lady next to me did one of those half smiles with a pout, as if to say, "aww, precious."
The crying went on. We tried changing positions. We tried singing. We tried showing you a toy. We tried everything we could think of. And you cried. The tall guy sitting in front of us turned around a few times to see what was going on behind him - his face more annoyed than concerned. You continued to cry.
The lady next to us stopped looking over with those "cute baby" glances and she put her headphones on. I finally put you in a sleepy time position, the last thing either of us thought you were, and within a minute you were asleep.
For all the crying you did, I think your mom and I did pretty well. Although we were aware that for the first time in our brief and limited flying experience, you were "that crying baby" we ignored all the glances and head-shakings and focused on you.
You, my Nugget, are a lot of work. A lot. And I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.