We spent this past week in Mammoth Lakes, CA. We’ve gone there in the summer a couple of other times. Each time I look forward to being able to go running in great temperatures in a town full of runners, spending time looking at the sky where it’s dark enough to be able to see the stars, catching up on some reading, relaxing and recharging.
That’s not what we got with this trip!
First, the drive there… it should be about 4 hours and 50 minutes. But we had to stop a few times, both to let the dog go to the bathroom and to try letting the baby calm down. She really was not happy about being in the car. I spent much of the drive sitting in the back seat with her, trying to entertain her with every toy we had packed, as well as everything I could find in the diaper bag. “Here, look at the really cool Tide stain stick.” “Wow… it’s a package of tissues!” The places to stop along the drive from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes are totally awesome. Like… Beatty, NV. Where there is a crappy little park to stop and sit at a picnic table in the tiny spot of shade while letting the baby eat and not be trapped in a carseat. A town where we can point out things on the outskirts like… brothels. “Look Baby Alex… don’t ever end up there!”
So the drive there was no fun. And the first night set the precedent for every night while there: the baby waking up at 1 or 2 AM and not going back to sleep, unless I’m holding or cuddling her. I rocked her back to sleep, only to have her wake up screaming if I tried to lay her back down. And I wasn’t going to let her just cry it out when our condo shared a wall with another condo… the neighbors probably wouldn’t like that much. I finally figured out if I lay down in the bed in her room, she would fall asleep with me. I have no idea how people co-sleep with their children because I hardly slept at all. She would twist and turn, I would end up with her foot in my nose or she would crawl in her sleep and lay on top of my face. Then when she woke up to see me next to her, she would cry out joyfully “Mama!” and smack me on the face.
Our rental was a nice place with loads of not-baby-safe features. Drawers and cabinets at low levels full of sharp, glass or poisonous items. Stairs. A coffee table made of glass and steel. Baskets full of National Geographic magazines sitting on the floor waiting for a baby to shred them. Thus, whenever we were trying to relax at the condo… I was really crawling around on the floor making sure the baby wasn’t killing herself. We could only temporarily baby-proof so much!
We did get out for several hikes. She was pretty content to sit in the Kelty backpack. We did a few short hikes on one day as opposed to one long hike.
On another day we went on a drive and stopped to see Inyo Craters. Everything we’d read said that it was just a short walk from the parking area. Well… yes, it is short. But it should be cleared up that it is a full 1.25 mile actual hike. Thus, it’s kind of a pain to do that while carrying a baby. Wearing these shoes. So the lesson learned there… at least make sure you are wearing shoes appropriate for a hike at all times!
I took the baby into the pool at our place that afternoon. She’s taken swimming lessons and she played in a pool in July with her cousins. She loved those experiences. This was her first time in an outside pool. And she HATED it, cried so hard. We took her inside, got her wet clothes off, dressed her in a new diaper, wrapped her in her blankie and she immediately fell asleep on me for an hour and a half. I love those cuddly moments, but it’s also a little heartbreaking when I took her to do something that caused her so much anxiety.
The good moments: Swinging at the park the first time
Being the center of attention everywhere we went. People could not get enough of her. She had everyone in every restaurant, store, etc. waving and clapping along with her.
I was so ready for the end of vacation, yet not looking forward to the drive home. We did make it through the drive with a little less crying when I discovered that Alex thinks it is fun to feed me. So I broke Baked Lay’s into little tiny pieces, I would hand her one, then she would put it in my mouth. It was kind of repetitive, but it kept her a little bit happier and entertained. And she even dozed off on the drive home a couple of times, which was a relief.
But after this, I’m not sure I ever want to go on a vacation ever again.