Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Little Groupie

March 11th was a big day for Scarlett. She found love for the first time. I was working from home with her. I had a conference call at 11 AM and she had been really fussy (teething or after effects of her shots or a cold...) so I warned my coworkers that I'd be on mute and was expecting the worst. I put her in her crib with some toys hoping that she'd entertain herself for a while, but no such luck. She was hysterical, so eventually I went in and put her on my lap in the rocking chair. She was content to lay against my chest while I rocked her so I figured that was as good as it was going to get... 5-10 minutes later, she was snoring! I ended up getting her down for a nap around 11:10 AM (2 hours before her normal nap time and only 10 minutes after my call started!). Paul rushed home from his meeting at 12:30 pm to try to relieve me for my call when much to his surprise, he found her still passed out. Very kind of her! That afternoon I felt like she deserved a reward for being so cooperative so we took her to the J.W. Tumbles Playzone for about 45 minutes. It was just enough time to get her home and feed her before taking her to her first concert -- Rocknoceros was playing the family happy hour at Jammin' Java. I'd read good things about it but I didn't know what to expect and figured there was a good chance that she was too young to enjoy it. Boy did I underestimate her!

When we got there we were a bit worried. There were so many reserved seats that there weren't really any open seats at all, even at 6:30 for a 7 PM show. Scarlett and I went up front while Paul got some beverages (beer for the parents and a free apple juice box for Scarlett). There were a million kids there already crowded around the stage -- 90% were older than Scarlett, so she seemed a bit intimidated. She was clinging onto me and wouldn't stand on her own (either in my arms or on my lap). The concert started and she was still clinging. Uh oh. This was going to be a long show. Three songs in though, she started getting comfortable. First she was bouncing along to the music in my lap, then standing against me and bouncing... before I knew it, she almost forgot I was there! She was bouncing, swinging, clapping her hands over her head and saying "hi" to the moms and kids in the area. By the end of the show she was clapping and hugging anyone who would give her time of day (kids and parents alike). She made friends with a few older girls and even got a toy stolen by the local bully. I'm not sure she's ever had that much fun before and for such a fun loving kid, that's saying a lot! She got a ton of comments about how adorable and affectionate she was (and we apologized a lot for her lack of understanding regarding personal space... "I promise, she does get hugs at home!").

She seemed to enjoy the music so much that we bit and decided to buy a CD. $10 for 1, $15 for 2, or for all 3 it was $20 but they threw in a free DVD. You'd be losing money not to pay $20. Might have been the biggest mistake I've made! We popped the CD in in the car and she danced along until she passed out. PASSED OUT. Totally slumped over, exhausted. I guess an hour straight of jumping will do that to you. The next morning we popped the DVD in after breakfast out of curiosity. This wasn't just a DVD. It was 2 animated music videos -- "Pink" and "Can you tell time?". This video started a revolution for little Scarlett. She has never shown any interest in TV. As soon as the music started though, a smile crept across her face and she was moving and grooving like the night before. When the music ended, she immediately started pointing to the screen and saying "I want THAT" and "Mo! Mo!" (more, more). That continued to happen... for HOURS. She doesn't get sick of it. There are only two songs, so we're essentially restarting the DVD every 5 minutes or so. As tired as Paul and I got of the songs, they make her SO happy and all the jumping, dancing, and climbing she does to the music ensures she is still getting some exercise. Plus, the songs are pretty educational and they've already expanded her vocabulary (she is now singing along to "pink, pink, pink!"). To get a little taste of why she is so crazy about them, you can see the music video for Pink on You Tube (
We will be sending blogs rapid fire over the next few days. We need to write 7 weeks worth or blogs before Friday!!!

So back to that night, luckily we don't run into bullies very often. Its tough turning the other cheek when someone purposefully messes with your child! The easy part is to pick up Scarlett and move her away from aggressive kids. I have that one down. What adds another element is when something is taken from your child and there is a look of confusion and/or disappointment. Good thing the band was so entertaining, as were most of the kids and adults. Scarlett made all kinds of friends as Shonna mentioned. The one that stands out the most was a girl who was a fantastic yet odd dancer. She danced in, out, and around the crowd and took Scarlett under her wing towards the end of the night. I would describe her as a cross between Dee Lite, a deadhead, and Paula Abdul. Heck, Shonna and I wanted to get in the mix and dance with her! Overall, it was a great night. We can't wait to see Rochnoceros in concert again.

Monday, March 21, 2011

15 month checkup

Scarlett was about a month late getting her 15 month check up because of our trip to Washington (I think Liam might have even beat her to it!). She saw Dr. Glandon this time. We hadn't seen her before, but we liked her a lot. She was pretty laid back and has a child right around the same age as Scarlett. Scarlett's stats were around 31 1/2 inches long and about 22 pounds. She also had some shots and did pretty well with them -- just a little bit of crying on the second set. She got her customary fever afterwards but she might have already had a cold. She'd had a runny nose for a few days before, so it is always hard to tell if her symptoms are shots, teething, or a cold. The doctor asked the usual barrage of questions and I think we "passed" all of them. The questionable answers were around how much milk she is drinking each day (she might be drinking too much at night and we aren't supposed to let her have any after we brush her teeth) and going to the dentist. She is doing very well with her vocabulary and mobility though. They were supposed to check her iron levels again but forgot and since she'll be back for her 18 month visit soon, we figure we'll just keep giving her the iron supplements until we go back.
The doc also had a few surprised looks. She asked if Scarlett was talking, and I said "yes about 60 words". Puzzled, she said "wow, really?" I then mentioned Shonna writes every word down, and Shonna pointed out the number was actually closer to 70. I am paraphrasing because we are (I am) a little tardy writing this but that's basically how it went. Anyway, after the dr visit we drove Scarlett to daycare . We will detail the words in the next blog immediately following this one.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Home alone with daddy

Scarlett and I survived the flight and made it home in one piece. On the way home I had to find some food, so we drove through a KFC (I haven't eaten there in over a year but its close to home and Scarlett likes chicken). We got home, ate, and at 1030-11 I tried to put her down (still early for west coast time). She went down fairly easily after a good puke... I guess KFC, or perhaps the quantity of KFC was a bad idea.

The week went extremely well. So well in fact that when Shonna returned, Scarlett actually favored me at times :). Anyway, things were fairly uneventful. We went to the park a couple of times after daycare, I played volleyball one night so I called our neighbor to babysit for a couple of hours, and that's about it. Oh yes. There was one other issue. On Thursday I dropped her off at daycare and apparently she was violently puking. So much so that our daycare called me and thought I should take her to the doctors. I then remembered that as we were heading to the car I let her walk as I carried my work stuff. She likes to run around the yard, and occasionally grabs walnuts to either throw or cradle like a stuffed animal. I turned to pick her up and she had a cigarette butt in her hands. I didn't think much about it at the time, but she obviously ate tobacco. I retrieved the butt later in the day and realized that my initial assessment was highly probable. Good news- she was fine after the initial heave and stayed at daycare. Unfortunately the our daycare provider didn't really feed her too much after Scarlett puked all over her earlier in the day, so she WAS STARVING when we returned home. I've never seen her so hungry and frantic. I thought I was looking in the mirror! Just like daddy.

Well that was our week. If it wasn't for Scarlett's first smoke, the week would have been boring to write. Remember that Scarlett!!! You don't like tobacco!

She did add to her vocabulary, but mostly Scarlett speak.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mommy's home!

When mommy came back Saturday am March 5th, little did we know all of the weekend activities in store for Scarlett. First we went to the soft playroom. She played for about half an hour with a few other kids in there and she had a great time except for a little boy landing on top of her in the ball pit. After that she was afraid of (a) the ball pit and (b) that boy. Next it was off to Shonna's (and now Scarlett's) favorite book store in Alexandria. On Saturday's at 10:30, they do a story time for toddlers. Its pretty amazing to watch. All of the kids sit at attention, listen, and participate the entire half hour. Scarlett continues to be a little shy when introduced to a new group, but she warms up and is her usual flirty self within 5-10 minutes. Scarlett loves the stories, but also loves post story time- running around the store, grabbing books, and playing with the toys. We picked up a few more Susan Boynton books on our way out which made the bookstore (and Scarlett) happy.

After we left the store, we noticed quite a few people wearing green... Doh!!! Shonna then realized it was the Alexandria St. Patty's Day parade... on March 5th? A month prior, we discussed going to the parade early so that Scarlett could be apart of the kids walk. Maybe next year! We were still there in plenty of time, but we certainly weren't dressed for a green parade. I was in a brown sweat shirt, Shonna was wearing gray, and Scarlett was wearing purple. What to do, what to do... well, we decided to go for it! We were off to search for green and watch (not participate in) the parade. As you can see by the pictures, we did ok and even went over-the-top with a crazy hat and hair piece. What the heck, right? We were able to find most of our gear at Old Town's Irish Walk. Go figure, right? Alexandria added to the fun beginning with a bunch of historic cars leading the charge. Is a Delorean "historic"? Who knew? And who knew that a car would become historic based on the movie "Back to the Future"!?!

We cut the parade short because of hunger so we headed to a pizza shop on King St. Its was pretty good and there were plenty of kids and moms to keep Scarlett busy! She was in heaven. Food, flirting, and funny. She makes us laugh, and laugh often. She also found a slightly younger little girl to entertain by playing peek-a-boo with her from under our huge new St. Patty's day hat. As usual, she go quite a few comments because of her antics.

Speaking of hunger...

We returned from our Alexandria trip and enjoyed a family nap. Mine lasted about an hour, Scarlett's 90 minutes, and Shonna's 2.5. After all, she did just fly cross country overnight. When everyone was up and ready, we went to Tyson's Corner Center to meet Penny and Jerry. They are amazing artists and they consistently turn regular everyday photos into comic book art. Talk about awesome gifts! Check out If any of you have been to our house, you may have noticed this artwork hanging on our wall. But I digress... we were hungry and decided to go across the street to Cafe Deluxe. I love that place because its a little out of the ordinary. Great food, and not that pricey. Shonna ordered salmon, Scarlett ordered the kids veggie meal, and I had the lamb. Scarlett liked the asparagus, but didn't care for the spinach. We were having a difficult time feeding her so we let her try everything on the table. Then suddenly EUREKA! she discovered lamb, and soon after, fatty gristled bone. If you have viewed my facebook page, you've witnessed Scarlett's new fascination with leg of lamb bones. Scarlett gnawed through the remaining meat, fat, and gristle and would not let up. She was like a crazy person! Her focus and determination were quite impressive. She was in heaven. After she finally put the bone down, we took her out of her highchair and let her roam around the table (we had a corner table next to a booth, so all sides were blocked). That lasted for about 10 minutes and then larger pastures were required. We walked to the bathroom for a quick change, and on the way back to the table, we discovered a party of 5 sitting at a booth (2 kids). The 3 year old boy was so excited to see Scarlett that he started playing games with her. She jumped up on the vacant booth next to them (right behind the boy), and they started playing peekaboo. I was lucky enough to get a video and I'll try to post it here. If it's too large, I'll put it on facebook. Needless to say, the video was a microcosm of the entire day. Scarlett had a blast.

Sunday = swimming day! A couple of weeks earlier, Shonna and I bought Scarlett a new swim suit from a local specialty store At the same time, we bought ourselves a pair of goggles so we could swim laps. Sunday was the first day we attempted laps, although that wasn't necessarily our intention. To this point we would spend 30 minutes in the pool as a family. Scarlett is generally limited to 30 minutes max in the pool because she gets cold, tired, that's what the general rules at Arlington County specify for someone her age. For us to incorporate laps, the idea is for one of us to arrive 15-30 minutes early, swim laps, then head to the kiddie pool when Scarlett arrives, while the other eventually switches to the lap pool. This particular Sunday we arrived as a family but I decided to test the lap lanes anyway. 10-12 laps later in the 25 meter pool, I was done... talk about being out of swimming shape. I used to swim a mile every time I entered a lap pool. Not no mo! I went back to the kiddie pool and Shonna gave it a try. Same deal! If I were to assign a percentile, we were in the bottom 1% of folks who use the lap lanes...

So this blog is about Scarlett... Scarlett had her best day swimming yet. She started using her legs a little more and really began splashing with her hands. She is slowly starting to move her body like a dolphin. It's pretty impressive. She loves moving through the water. She also loves to be tossed as high as we can physically throw her. The higher she goes, the bigger her smile. On this particular swim day, she found a new favorite game. It was pretty funny actually. The pool has a bunch of foam dumbbells and Scarlett was fascinated by them. They are located in a couple of bins near the wall, but a few were scattered around the pool decks so she noticed them and pointed with an "I want that!". I didn't give in and we continued playing in the pool. I made the mistake of playing "humpty dumpty" by sitting her on the side of the pool. Normally she waits for one of us to say "humpty dumpty sat on a wall, humpty dumpty had a great..... FALL" and she dives on us. This time I sat her on the side and in a flash she sprung up and ran towards a dumbbell. This was bad on many levels. First, a 16 month old child is running down a pool deck by herself. Second, a 16 month old is running towards the adult pool. Third, she is running! Anyway I jumped out of the pool and went after Scarlett. She refused to go anywhere until she had a dumbbell in her hands. We took one with us to the kiddie pool and she went on playing. Apparently one wasn't enough. Now instead of humpty dumpty, she pulled herself out of the pool with no help. ARE YOU SERIOUS? Most adults can't do that. They usually use the stairs or ladder. Well, all Shonna and I could do was watch. Unfortunately this was all part of a master plan to sprint and get more dumbbells. Here I go again... Being a former life guard, I used to put kids in "timeout" for being multiple running offenders, although none of them were 16 months of age (funny story- one kid was such a brat, I gave him a choice: sit on the bench for 15 minutes or leave the pool for the day. He chose the former, but little did he know that I purposefully timed it just before the ice cream truck arrived:). Scarlett wasn't really on any lifeguard's radar, but it did go through my mind. She discovered another game at the pool that day -- BASKETBALL. She always gets excited about the balls and likes to watch the kids play basketball, bu his time we happened to lift her over our heads and let her "dunk". Boy did we not realize what we were getting ourselves into! For the next two minutes we just had to do that over and over again until the pool closed. We had to keep trading off because she's over 20 pounds and when lifted directly over your head and held there while she aims, she gets heavy! When all was said and done, she had spent over an hour in the pool. So much for the 30 minute rule...

I might have mentioned before that I'm keeping a running list of the words/phrases that Scarlett says. In January she was right around 35 words, give or take. By the end of February she was around 70 words. By early March she was around 85 words (and those are just the ones we remember!)! Her speech is also getting much more clear/easier to understand, which is a nice change. I can't believe how fast she is picking things up. She understands almost everything we say (or at least she seems to) and she only has to see something once to figure it out. She has started doing the hokie pokie (although for every verse she sticks her left foot in) and ring around the rosie. She loves being read to right now, but she likes the same books over and over again. She likes when I read First 100 Words (Bright Baby Board Book), various Susan Boynton books (Snuggle Puppy, Pajama Time, One Two Three, Barnyard Dance), and Pajama Mamas. She wants me to put them in rotation and then go through the rotation at least 3 times. She anticipates what comes next (for example, with Pajama Mamas, before I even get to the page, she starts laughing and hugs herself for "Happy hug Mama") and seems to still be learning, so I don't want to discourage it, no matter how old it gets! The only downside is that she pretty much rejects any other book right now. She recently even started "reading" on her own. She'll pick out a book and turn the pages and say words she remembers from that book (like "Ow!" in Doodle Bites when Doodle bites his friend, the elephant on her back side). It amazes me that her memory is that good in that she remember which words are in which books and is recognizing the pictures and associating them with the right words.

Other fun things... She blows on her food ("hot!"), tells us when the water is too hot in the bath, and has clear preferences now for what she wants to wear and eat. For example, it used to be that we'd open her closet in the morning and I picked something out for her to wear while she was in my arms. Now I either have to distract her with books/toys or be prepared for her to make the decisions. She will grab something from the closet and keep putting it in my hand until I agree or listen to her cry. As much as I hate to admit it, it is usually something pink. She also has preferences for which shoes she wants to wear and which coat. I was expecting it, but not his early. I guess I just need to make sure that I like EVERYTHING we buy! :)

She is saying more phrases now and singing along to most rhymes and songs. She sings along to the Humpty Dumpty rhyme Paul talked about before as well as at least a dozen of he stupid songs I tend to sing to her throughout he course of the day. She is even requesting books by name now (e.g., "Mama baby" for Pajama Mamas, "Pajama" for Pajama Time). One of her favorite things to do right now is to "scare" people. She says "Baaaah" and holds her arms out toward you (sort of like she is casting a spell). It' supposed to be like a "Boo" but it isn't very scary since its in a quiet, high pitched baby voice. Oh well. She has the right idea. She also plays games with Paul like saying his name over and over until he says hers, then they alternate. Funny girl. Here's a list of some of her words:

  1. Mama
  2. Dada
  3. Dog
  4. Baby
  5. Hi / Hello
  6. Bye bye
  7. Balloon
  8. Up
  9. Uh oh
  10. I love you
  11. Awww
  12. No
  13. Yeah
  14. Please
  15. Open
  16. Bacchus
  17. Ball
  18. Yay
  19. Yuck
  20. Yummy/yum yum
  21. Bee (like bumble bee)
  22. Red
  23. bear
  24. that
  25. duck
  26. I want that
  27. hot
  28. down
  29. off
  30. on
  31. cat/kitty
  32. Scarlett
  33. Bottle
  34. happy
  35. dance
  36. bang
  37. boo
  38. I want down
  39. boom
  40. plop
  41. touch down
  42. puppies
  43. pig
  44. cow
  45. moo
  46. kisses
  47. peas
  48. hat
  49. strawberries
  50. bath
  51. sheep
  52. baa
  53. book
  54. I did it
  55. eye
  56. nose
  57. happy/be happy
  58. bumble bee
  59. Paul
  60. two
  61. block
  62. Pooh (Winnie the Pooh)
  63. Push
  64. Shoes
  65. Nonni
  66. nine (she helps me count, but only two and nine typically come in the right order!)
  67. brrr (like when its cold)
  68. all done and all gone
  69. burp (she says “burp” every time she burps J)
  70. butt
  71. belly
  72. more
  73. book
  74. bounce
  75. poop
  76. pool
  77. ow
  78. bumble
  79. bubbles
  80. purple
  81. Axel
  82. Blake
  83. Pink
  84. Stuck
  85. Chicken
  86. hug
  87. heavy
  88. three
  89. humpty dumpty
  90. go

Saturday, March 5, 2011

To Nonni's house we go

On our way to the hotel, Scarlett fell asleep again in the car. While she snoozed away, Nonni crept out of the house to pick up food for us and leave supplies for our visit at the hotel. Talk about service! Creeping was necessary because Grumps still didn't know we were coming (it was a birthday surprise). Poor Scarlett wasn't thrilled to be woken up yet again when we got to the hotel, but she quickly perked up since she loves hotel rooms. Well, she loves anything/place that is new, and the room was pretty big so she had space to roam. We ate, she threw up a little bit, and Paul was able to get her back to sleep without too much trouble.

The next morning we had a snack at the hotel before heading to my parent's house. I'd had plans to have Scarlett wander into my dad's room on her own while Paul and I caught his reaction on film, but I guess Paul and Scarlett had other ideas! They started in together before I could get it together Paul and Scarlett had made enough noise to get his attention and I heard "What are you doing here? What happened?" Not what I had in mind but still a surprise! We hung out there until we went to get a proper breakfast with my dad. After breakfast and some quality time at their house, we went back to the hotel for nap time and took Scarlett in the hotel pool for a swim. As usual, she had a great time in the pool (and got to wear the new wet suit we bought her last week!). After we all showered we met my parents at the Mexican place across the street from the hotel for dinner and margaritas. We had a great time and Scarlett loved all of the decorations on the ceiling and the wide open spaces in the restaurant. It was fun to spend time together because my dad hasn't seen her since August (9 months old) so she has definitely changed since then! Also, that was the only time my dad saw her and she happened to have a horrible flu the entire time, so even then he didn't really get to see the real Scarlett. Not an issue this time!

On Saturday we me my parents for breakfast at the main building and then we left Scarlett there for some quality time while we hit the gym. We also went to Toys R' Us to get some new toys that Paul could introduce on the plane to keep Scarlett entertained. My mom spent the day cooking so we took Scarlett back to the pool. She was just as excited the second day but was perhaps even more excited about her bath afterwards. She didn't want to get out. Either time... Well, for the first time ever, after her bath as we were drying her off she peed on the floor of the hotel! Back in the shower she went. She started crying and trying to climb back in the tub when we took her out again. Then it was back to Nonni's house for dinner. The trip went by too quickly and before we knew it we were packing them up to go home.

We went to breakfast with them again on Sunday (Grumps' 72nd birthday) and after a little time together at the house, we were off to take the to the airport. Paul and I were both pretty anxious about the flight. How miserable might it be with only one parent? Would she sleep? Would she throw up? Would she be able to sit still?

I'd been dreading saying goodbye all week. The thought of 6 days away from Scarlett (and Paul) just seemed like torture. We dragged it out as long as possible since their flight was delayed about an hour but I also had to meet my coworker and didn't want her to have to wait forever. After running all over the airport and trying to make friends with a girl twice her size with a pink suitcase (I think she really just wanted the suitcase). it was time to say goodbye. Paul walked into the security line an I walked as far as I could holding Scarlett until I had to pass her to him across the ropes. She started crying and reaching for me (I started crying too but was doing my best to not have her see). I walked away as quickly as possible so that she would adjust and as I stood at the far corner of security watching, she was quickly back to normal and seemed to be ready for her adventure with daddy. It was going to be a long week and a very long 8 hours waiting to hear how Paul's trip with her went.
Many people have been waiting for this post from daddy. Its not only the first time Shonna or I have traveled alone with Scarlett, but she was so energetic on our way to Seattle that it took 2 of us to contain her (and we could have used a 3rd...) We arrived at the airport and luckily Shonna had to wait for her coworker so she hung out with us until about an hour before our delayed flight took off. The delay made me nervous. Not only because we timed Scarlett's nap with the scheduled takeoff, but also because a small delay in the airline industry is usually a cover up for MAJOR delay. They tend to sugarcoat things.

Time flew by and it was time to go. A kiss from mommy and off we went through security. Sounds easy enough, but I was carrying a piece of luggage, a backpack filled to the brim with laptops, toys, food, and any other distracting item I could find, a diaper bag, a small stroller, and a 22lb baby. Piece of cake ;) Especially when you add things like... taking laptops out, shoes off, coats off, liquid out, and then all back in and on again once we made it through. Luckily there was no buzzing noise, no bag searches, just a quick test of the bottle. I then put the backpack on, placed the diaper bag on the luggage, put Scarlett in the stroller, and off we went to the transport train. It took a few minutes to adjust and get used to pushing a two handed stroller with one hand while pulling a suitcase, but eventually I found my stride. I received a surprising number of complements, many smiles and attaboy looks, but not many offers of assistance!

Once we made it to the gate, I immediately went up to the counter to see what seats were available. We did have an aisle seat, but in row 15, just behind the exit row with no extra leg room. The lady was extremely nice and said the flight was completely full but she would allow me, a single parent with child, to board before everyone else (well, second behind a great guy who was in a wheelchair. He sat across from me and I ended up helping him out a couple of times during the flight). We boarded the flight and I was able to put the suitcase in the overhead. I then took strategic things out of the diaper bag and backpack so that I just had a small bag with a few of Scarlett's toys in the floor, and food in the front pocket. I also took Scarlett's shoes off and put them in the diaper bag. It might sound selfish that I took up 2 luggage spots but I at least had a good excuse. Not like those folks who take precious space with Kentucky Derby hats, bulky coats, and groceries. Anyway, once we were settled, I grabbed Scarlett's bottle and took her to the back of the plane. My strategy was to get her to sleep while the rest of the folks were boarding. It was a little more challenging than I thought. First there was this "flight attendant" who was very territorial. I had the audacity to ask her for milk when I went to the back. "Sigh, I will have to find the milk, sigh". She actually had to open 2 whole drawers before locating the milk. "Here you go". "Thanks Mrs. Attendant!" Scarlett and I moved to the side away from the beverages, but that was a mistake. That is where the "command center" is located, where the important calls and announcements are made. I did my best to calculate her next move and shifted from one side to the other. The last time she was in the back, I overheard her discussing the challenge of getting 2 passengers past the man in the wheelchair (he was given an aisle seat.) One of the passengers was is in the back next to me to discuss her options. According to the passenger, the issue was that the seat arm on the aisle wouldn't go up, and so the physically disabled passenger coudn't move his legs into the aisle to let others through. The attendant said the woman and the other passenger would have to "climb over him or slide past him". She looked at me and said in an English accent "that would put me in an embarrassing situation, and the man as well. I will not". I spoke up and said that the arm does raise because that's how they got him in the row to begin with. The attendant finally made a call to the maintenance guys and said she "doubted the arm in um, um (psst 15D, I said), 15D could be raised." Sure enough they came on board and everything worked out.

Believe it or not, through all of this I was able to rock Scarlett to sleep! I then started moving towards my seat but noticed more chaos near my row so I stopped. People were trying to use the last bit of vacant space even if it didn't really exist. The lack of space didn't stop the attendant from moving things back and forth including separating my diaper bag from the rest of my stuff. I also noticed Scarlett's shoes and a food bag fell out. They weren't put back, but placed on an empty chair in a different row. That's when I had to make a move. I questioned what was going on and the attendant was so aggravated that she actually showed me her hand. I said "did you just show me your hand?" in a chuckling voice. I turned to the people around me and asked them the same thing so she could hear. She didn't answer but she then transformed into the most helpful and pleasant attendant she could be (to me anyway, I can't speak for the others). Funny how people change when they know performance evaluations could be forthcoming. I decided it was best to return to the back of the plane and let things settle. 5 minutes later all of Scarlett's items were back in their rightful place and the now helpful attendant made sure I knew where everything was. I finally sat down, Scarlett still asleep and now snoring.

Scarlett slept for about 2 hours, through all of the announcements, the chatty Georgetown grad next to me, and the initial turbulence. I could tell the guy next to me has recently had the baby discussion with his woman. He asked many specific questions and was extremely interested in the answers. The funny thing is that once Scarlett woke up, he left his headphones on the rest of the flight and didn't say another word. Scarlett and I had just under 2.5hrs left in the flight. Yikes! I decided to wait on her new toys until she reached at least stage 3 or 4. For the first 30-45 of her waking minutes, food, drink, and her old toys were fine. She then started checking out her surroundings. She starred at the row behind us until they paid attention to her. She then looked up and down the aisle to see who she could make smile. There were at least 4 or 5 takers. Only 90 minutes left! I then pulled out "the pear". She didn't eat that much to this point (which is a good thing considering her gag reflex). Because of this, I felt it was safe to bring out a whole pear. Back story- While we were in the community center the day before, Scarlett found a pear and ate it like we would... sort of . She bit little chunks off and it took her 20+ minutes to make a nice dent. It also kept her focus for 20+ minutes. Unfortunately, the airplane pear wasn't as exciting as the first pear, but it did take another 10-15 minutes off of the clock. With 75 minutes remaining and Scarlett's growing desire to run up and down the aisle, I pulled out the new toys. The first toy was the hand held like device. She was excited initially, but quickly faded. I then had to go to toy #2- the purse filled with "lady stuff". Not only did the purse have items to pull in and out of it, but it also made noise when opening and shutting, and had a front zipper that also made noise. Sounds pretty exciting!!! When that got old, I went to another toy that lit up and had many sections to push and twist. We basically went through 2 rounds of each (food, neighbors, toys), and then it was time to "turn off all electronic equipment". She used this time to reacquaint herself with the neighbors. It really was a smooth trip. She did kick the chair in front of us a few times and she knocked into our center-seat neighbor on occasion, but nothing major. After the plane landed, we stood up and Scarlett was praised by all. "Best baby award", "she was amazing", "so cute", and Scarlett hated every minute of it :) She decided to wave, smile, flirt, laugh, and anything else she could think of to get more attention.

That went amazingly well! Then I remembered I had to repack everything, grab the suitcase, diaper bag, backpack, and Scarlett, and walk down the narrow aisle out of the plane. I picked up the stroller after we exited the plane, and we were on our way to baggage claim. One other "first" during travel, I actually said "yes" to an offer from a luggage cart guy (not sure what you call them). He loaded up the cart and we went to valet parking. While I paid and we waited for our car, Scarlett decided to make 2 new friends behind the counter in the valet terminal as she showed off her climbing ability on the couches. We then loaded the truck. Next stop, home sweet home.