Wake Me When it’s Over: The February Funk

I did not have a particularly good Valentine’s Day. 

Once Big Valentine got home from work, the sliver of the day AFTER we put Little Valentine to bed was mildly redeemed by an undeservedly large bouquet of flowers, a big juicy burger and an adorable display of mini desserts.  Thank you, Aaron.  You’re a good husband, even and especially on my bad days.  But pre-6pm was pretty rough. 

You see, Little Valentine did not get the memo about being a SWEETHEART to his mama on Valentine’s Day.  His memo somehow got lost in translation and HE THOUGHT it said to spend the day setting a record for whiniest, crankiest, pinchy-est, hair pulling-est (mine; he doesn’t have any) day ever.   With virtually no naps.  I love him dearly, but it was tough. 

 To quote my husband when he once famously exclaimed on a particularly maddening day at the office:  

 “I felt like Britney Spears the day she decided to shave her head.”

 I was REALLY tested.  And REALLY emotional.  And REALLY cabin-feverish due to a canceled date night and the squall outside my window preventing me from clearing my head with a nice soothing stroller walk. 

When Aaron got home I did The Hand-Off as if I were trying to permanently extend my arm length by a solid inch, and sprinted up the stairs to take my second shower in about as many hours.  Just for the alone time. 

February is a hard month for me. I’m guessing it might be for a lot of you other Northwesterners, too. The welcome wintry buzz of the holidays is long gone, the festive lights have been long packed away, and I swear everything is just…QUIETER. And at times a little funeral-like in tone.
 
I find myself deep in the trenches of the endless gray days of winter, each year remembering that while the calendar says it’s spring in March, boots and sweaters will remain in steady rotation easily into May.

Unfortunately, for most of us in the U.S., every day in February cannot look like this:
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I felt like I won the lottery just to have TWO days that did.  I’ll bet if they did a poll of the one day of the year dedicated Seattleites were most likely to privately fantasize about jumping ship for Hawaii, Florida or Arizona, it would be right around February 15th.  
 
It’s hard you guys!!
Pass me the tissues and pull out the violins, please.
 
It’s not just the weather, of course. The weather is just the ‘safe’ thing to talk about in a crowd.
People simply aren’t as likely to say out loud:

 “I really need to up my anti-depressants this time of year”

OR

 “I feel like crying every time I see the bachelorettes prancing around in bikinis with perfect abs Every. Monday. Night.”  In FEBRUARY.
 
If one were to do a “Facebook cleanse,” I would advocate February is the best month to do it.  For one thing it’s the shortest, and I’m all about attainable goals. I think it may also be the rainiest month, even though it’s the shortest. Which means we have way too much time trapped inside being antisocial on our laptops, comparing ourselves to other people, which just isn’t healthy.
 
And if you’re single, you can totally bypass all the outrageously romantic things people did for each other then posted on Facebook on Valentine’s Day.   You can just watch The Bachelor instead. 
 
I’m not really sure what to do to make February feel better, aside from refusing to leave Arizona next time. Make more time with friends who also have the February Blues? Run like hell when the rain gives way to a 30 minute sun break? Remember that feeling in late August  with no AC when it was too hot to fall asleep and I was SO ready for summer to be over?
 
Blah blah blah. That is how I feel about those ideas.   I need some new ones. 
 
How do you beat the winter blues???

My pedicure is falling short of the sunshine-in-a-bottle hopes I had for it.  19 puddles in to my walk back to the car I was chillingly reminded:

It’s still February 15th

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Up, Up and Away

 Just a few hours fresh off the plane from a long weekend in Arizona while Seattle endured a rare snowstorm, I am already missing the good tequila and poolside siestas.  As I write this, I am force-feeding myself frozen whole wheat lasagna that vaguely resembles particle board smothered in tomato sauce, exhausted and jet-lagged with a possible ear infection.  But hey, I have a tiny bit of a tan and my baby didn’t cry, vomit or otherwise melt down on not one but two flights.  So all in all, life is good. 

My husband, mother-in-law and I tag-teamed the baby care as we took Anderson on his FIRST PLANE TRIP (!!!) – a long-awaited and long-worried-about trip for his mom.  Some of you may be rolling your eyes or wondering what the big deal is about taking a baby on an airplane.  Now that I’ve done it, I see your point.  But for some reason I built this adventure up in my mind as one with the potential to wreak all kinds of havoc that could elicit all of my worst OCD/anxiety/Type A personality tendencies:  Blow Outs.  Melt Downs.  Nursing in Public.  Baby’s ears pressurizing because I failed to nurse him in public.  Excessive leaking.  Not enough diapers. 

You get the idea. 

I’m happy to report none of those disasters came to fruition.  In fact, I couldn’t have asked for a smoother first flight experience with my son – I’m so proud of us!!

Here we are, braving the airport for the first time.  They didn’t even card him.

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On the plane, Anderson performed like a champ and could have passed for a seasoned member of the frequent flyer club.

He ate neatly while waiting at the terminal:

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Carefully read all safety instructions in case of an emergency:

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Chatted up all the lady flight attendants:

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And even earned his wings:

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Apart from a couple of minutes of over-tired whining before falling asleep in my arms, he never cried on either flight.  Success!!!

Here are the top 5 things I learned this weekend about traveling with a baby:

*Time things around their normal nap schedule as much as you can.  If they must nap on the plane, a nursing pillow and blanket to make it cozy really helps.

*Plastic cups and crinkly bags of snack mix from the flight attendants provide endless entertainment.  TAKE THEM. 

*The security staff is much nicer and less menacing when you have a cute tiny person strapped to you as you walk through metal detectors and get screened for explosives.  They make jokes, talk baby talk and adoringly call you “Mom.”

*There are plenty of places to feed and change baby without having to resort to the impossibly tiny airplane bathrooms.  Disposable changing mats, Clorox wipes and sanitizing hand wipes were our on-the-go friends. 

*Being on a plane with my baby wasn’t very different from being anywhere else with him.  His personality, rhythm and needs didn’t change.  Once I realized this I was like, “OK, I’ve got this.”  Just took me a minute….

While in Arizona we had a great time.

Anderson took some dips in the grown-up pool:

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 Took it easy in the lounge chairs:

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Took lots of walks and soaked up the sun (with sunscreen of course!)

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Grandma Sue was a huge help, and provided Aaron and me with some much needed sun time and date nights!  A win-win bringing Grandma along, I tell you…

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The trip was not without its hiccups, but they only make for that much better of a story, so the writer in me has dutifully accepted them.

For starters, the host at the resort restaurant jubilantly congratulated me on being pregnant within about 45 seconds of our arrival to a luxurious patio dinner, to which I scrambled to reply that I “recently gave birth.”  To which SHE replied by feeling terrible and leaving this in our room while we were at the pool later that weekend:

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It was a NEWBORN onesie and socks.  Yep, all wrapped up with an apology card.  We even held hands in the bathroom and hugged later that weekend as she told me how horrible she felt and how she couldn’t sleep that night.  She said she should have known better after having 5 boys herself, and that it took her a long time to be able to afford “the right surgery” (???).  She was blonde, in her 50s and come to think of it her name was Anne….. Romney?

That is all a true story by the way, though I guess her British accent breaks the Romney connection.  We’re pretty much Scottsdale BFFs now after a face-to-face “I forgive you” from me, and I guarantee you if I ever visit that resort when I’m 9 months pregnant, she won’t say a word.

In addition to Anne, there was Ricco, the food service manager.  After I complained about the poolside service being scattered and slow, he took it upon himself to buy us our poolside drinks…..AND lunch……AND delivered an ice bucket of beer to our room that night….. AND wine……AND  a card.  Anderson liked it so much he ate it. 

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I’ll tell you one thing, these Arizona resort people know how to make up for their mistakes, and by the end of our trip I’m pretty sure we were the most recognizable, uniquely treated family there.  The cute baby I “recently” gave birth to, didn’t hurt.  :  )