Our trip up to MD was very tough. The first leg was brutal because we left at 5 p.m. when it was dark and raining. We were in the car for six hours. The baby slept most of the ride, but then did not sleep when we got to the hotel room. The second day was much better which was a relief. I was glad to find that the baby enjoys road trips and did pretty well at the rest areas. A big discovery of the trip was family restrooms which are easier to change diapers in and much cleaner.
I had mixed feelings about coming to MD. I was nervous about how the family drama would play out. I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome and fun it was to watch the baby being introduced to various family members. She charmed everyone and people seemed to love playing pass the baby. Partner and I got to eat at the same time and enjoy a whole meal. I especially loved introducing her to people who had seen me when I was just a few months old. It cracked me up when she did something and they would exclaim, "She is just like you!"
My stay in MD was extended because the floors and walls on the main floor of the house had to be repaired. It is not safe for small children to be in the space, so baby and I stayed with my parents. I had some frustrating moments with my dad and other relatives. At a various points, I wanted to leave because the emotional digs were not worth the benefit of having help. Now that our stay is almost over, we are driving back tomorrow, I am glad that I was here.
I have really loved seeing my parents interact with her. In particular, I think my dad and she have a special bond now. He was home during the day and took her so that I could nap and pump. It was fun to easdrop on them and hear her respond to his voice. My brother also got more comfortable with her; the constrast of seeing him as a responsible adult with my child was a nice image. At various times, I felt like my daughter was a queen and my job was to make sure her adoring public got to see her. Through all the visits, I learned that she is really social. She enjoyed being around people. I need to try to figure out how to bring more people around her when we are back in MA.
The trip made me feel a bit more confident as a mom. I got to see my friends who have recently become parents and meet their kids. It was good to exchange stories. I took a lot more car trips with the baby and finally seem to be getting the hang of the stupid stroller. Because my parents drove me nuts at various times, I got better at giving her a bath on my own. My dad helped me figure out a better night time routine, so that she sleeps more regularly at night.
While I was here, I also decided to take the bar again at the end of February. I mailed in my application. I feel nervous and a bit worried. This will likely be the last time I try. My studying process will be like a job in that I will put in 8-10 hours a day and then try not to think about it. My parents and father-in-law will be coming in January and February to help with child care. Hopefully, I will manage to keep my sanity.