Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Esme Tidbits: Winter Trip to Louisville


In January of this year, David's grandmother, Norma Wilcox, passed away. We quickly made arrangements for our big kids (eternal thanks to the Marcs and my folks), booked a hotel room (eternal thanks to Mari), packed up our four-month-old Esme and hit the road for Kentucky. It was good to be with Dave's dad and the rest of the family in that sad time. We were grateful to be able to go.

We learned several things about Esme during that little journey. One was that she's a great road-tripper. We made two ten-hour drives that week, and our four-month old handled both of them beautifully, scarcely fussing at all until about eight hours in. She doesn't sleep in the car very well, but she's so content that it's hard to fault her for that.

Next thing we noticed: Esme seemed to show a preference for the comfort and routine of home life. She was still our angel baby, sitting through Grandma's memorial service without a whimper (during nap time) and gathering compliments from all the guests. But as we toted her around Louisville that week, we did notice a difference in her manner. To people who didn't know her, she probably seemed great, but to us, she just was not quite her cheerful, easygoing little self.

The last thing we observed was the beginnings of Esme's Mommy-Dependence. On this trip, for the first time, Esme started to show signs of uneasiness when not in Mommy's arms. She did allow her Grandpa Don, Grandma Jan, and Aunt Dacia to hold her, but she was noticeably happier when with Mama--even starting to prefer me over Dave, if I'm recalling correctly. (As you may recall, this would only increase.)

A final memory: one late afternoon at Dad and Jan's house, when I had volunteered to grocery shop and make dinner, Esme wouldn't sleep as usual for her third nap of the day. After listening to her cry for some time, I went in to her. Despite her protests, it was clear that she was quite tired, and I really thought she needed to rest, as disrupted as her week had been. I decided to try walking and rocking her to sleep, though I had generally given this up.

I remember pacing gently around Dad and Jan's darkened room, trying to stay out of the few bright spots made by the fading sunlight streaming in through the slatted blinds. The friendly hum of a fan shut us in from outside noises, and my baby and I were a world unto ourselves for one quiet hour. Nestled high on my chest, Esme drowsed, then slept lightly, finally twitching herself into a deeper slumber. Gradually, I eased myself onto the bed and lay down, relishing the rare gift of Snuggle while keeping one eye on the clock. After all, I was supposed to be shopping and cooking...

Fortunately, Dave's family is very gracious and understanding. I think we ordered pizza for dinner that night. And when we arrived back at home the following week, and Esme cried through three evening naps in a row, I finally realized that our impromptu group-snooze in Louisville was my first sign that Girlie was ready to drop that nap altogether! But I'm so glad I didn't pick up that cue on that evening at Dad and Jan's. It was the last time I would ever get to watch Baby Esme's sleeping face for an extended time!

A few pictures from that trip to close... first, Esme and her sweet, adoring Auntie Dacia:

Esme (happy!) with Grandma Jan:

Esme helps Grandma Don check some emails. "That one can definitely wait till next week, Grandpa."

Showing Dacia her fussy side

Profile shot, with Daddy and Grandpa!

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