I Couldn’t Make It Up If I Tried

Holy frijoles. What a weekend. As most of you know, I did the power trip (not the kind you normally think of)–Kentucky to Arkansas and back in 3 days. Not only that, but I did it with a 4 month old infant. Before I left the house, it seemed like an easy enough plan: head to the parents’ house Saturday morning, throw little sister a baby shower on Sunday, and return to Kentucky Monday morning in time for a 3 o’clock eye doctor’s appointment. Seriously, it really did sound like a good idea.

The drive to Arkansas was the first one Carson and I have done flying solo in quite some time. He’s been super-aware of his surroundings lately, so I guess putting him in the backseat by himself really turned his world upside down. The drive home to Mom and Dad’s house was a lot of short stops to make sure the crying baby wasn’t hungry, wet, or hurt. Pretty much as soon as I lifted him out of the car seat, all tears stopped, and the smiles came out. It’s pretty hard to get upset with him when he smiles at me. I’m in deep trouble when he gets a little older…

Saturday night I stayed up til midnight dipping strawberries in chocolate and reading a Vietnam recollection novel for Ryan (he had to read three books; I felt bad for him and read one for him). Carson has been waking up for a midnight feeding for the past week–so at one am, I nursed him and went back to sleep. He let me know he was hungry again at 0530, so we did the “you lay there and nurse, I’ll lay on my side and sleep” position. We’re getting good at that one here lately. Then it was time to bake cakes for the shower.

The shower went amazingly well–it was good to see family, and I always enjoy entertaining. Especially when I don’t have to do dishes…

Unfortunately, Sunday night was no fun. It was a flashback to Carson’s younger days of waking every few hours to nurse. Finally around 0530-ish, I fell asleep with Carson beside me. When I woke again, it was 0730, and I was an hour behind schedule. I threw everything in the truck, strapped Carson in, and gave Dad a quick hug before we hit the road. We started off really well–we made it to Jonesboro before Carson started crying. By this time I needed a bathroom break, gas (for the truck, not me), and some sustenance. Unfortunately, Carson wasn’t interested in nursing much, so I knew we’d have to stop again soon, but we got back out on the road anyway. Just before we hit Paragould, I realized the a/c, which had previously been blowing frigid cold air, was now filling the cab with super hot, engine-heated air. Okay, no big deal. Turn it off for a bit, roll down the windows. It’ll thaw out. Luckily that area had recently gotten a rain, so it was in the low to mid 80’s with a fairly cool breeze. I kept checking the a/c on and off again all the way to Kennet, MO with no luck. By the time we hit Tennessee, it was up to 88 degrees, and I was pretty warm. I knew Carson had to be roasting in the back, but he was sleeping with no complaints. When we crossed the Mississippi river going into Tennessee, it was the first time I had ever contemplated jumping off a bridge. The temperature dropped two degrees, and it was amazing. Then it was over. As we hit the bottom of the bridge, something suddenly landed in my lap. I looked down to see a wasp on the seat between my legs. I was so shocked I didn’t even flinch. Somehow I kept the truck on the road and knocked the dead (I hoped it was dead–wasn’t going to wait to find out) bug into the floor. Then I started laughing. What else could I do? The whole situation was just hilarious. Four month old infant, no air conditioning, long trip, short on time, and now wasps were flying in through the open windows. Good one, God.

About an hour into Tennessee, Carson woke up with a vengeance. As usual, we were nowhere near an exit. The poor child screamed his head off like somebody had slapped his face for a good twenty minutes before we came up on the welcome center. As I changed his diaper, I called Dad on speakerphone to see if he had any recommendations on getting the a/c going again. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to provide a lot of help without taking a look under the hood, but we checked the fuse, and he offered some suggestions for when I got home. Meanwhile, I walked over to a shaded picnic area and attempted to get Carson to nurse again. He was too busy smiling at me to eat much, and I hated to put him back in the car seat, but we had to get going again. When I started the truck, I turned on the a/c to check the compressor like Dad had told me. As I was standing there about to go look under the hood, I felt a strange sensation. Was it possible? Oh, yes, it was!! COLD AIR!!! YES!! Don’t ask me how, but we had a/c again. Woo-hoo! With 2 1/2 hours to go, we got back out on the road.

Thirty minutes later, my child was screaming again. Thankfully, this time we were only a few minutes away from a small town, and I pulled over at the only gas station in sight (which, was, unfortunately a BP, but since I wasn’t going to buy anything, I figured it would be okay–I’m boycotting them). Since he had been refusing to nurse, I thought a bottle might work better. Not so much. It took awhile, but I finally got him to nurse. He went to sleep once we were out on the road again. But, by the time we reached Paducah (or thereabouts), he was awake and screaming again. We were a little over an hour from home with no time to spare, so I did the only thing I could think to do: I grabbed the bottle I’d made earlier, reached my arm over the back seat, and plugged it in his mouth. Yes I did. While driving down the road. Do not judge me. I was desperate. Amazingly, it worked. He sucked the bottle down as my hand slowly went numb, and then he fell asleep when it was empty. It was a full five minutes before the pins and needles sensation left my arm, but I didn’t care.

Fifteen minutes before our exit, I heard Carson wake up, but he didn’t cry. Instead, I heard an all too familiar sound: grunting. I knew what that meant. Poopy pants were being made. Really? Right about then I felt a little like Job.

We made it to the optometry clinic with just enough time to get the paperwork filled out. Carson was so happy and bubbly that I completely forgot about his earlier grunting. It was only when I took him to the restroom to change him that I remembered. Luckily, it wasn’t too bad, and I’m pretty sure Carson had forgiven me for the long, horrible trip. At least, I think that’s why he was smiling at me. Ahhh…Life is good.

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