My Travel Buddy (Day #17)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I am a big believer in self-fulfilling prophecies.  I believe that the way we perceive our circumstances has the power to alter those circumstances.  Consequently, I think that the words we use to describe ourselves and our lives matter.

Which is exactly why I resist using words like “fussy” and “irritable” and “cranky” to describe my child.  Sure, I can acknowledge that there are moments when she ACTS fussy or irritable or cranky, but that doesn’t mean she IS those things.  On the contrary!  She’s sweet and pleasant and calm and quiet.

And I am full of shit.

Here’s what is true:  my child is a great sleeper.  She’s a good eater.  She’s a skilled pooper (assuming the criteria for pooping skills is frequency and quantity, with extra points for overflowing out of your diaper).

It’s the in-between times that she struggles with.  When she’s not sleeping, eating or filling her diaper to its brim, she’s fussy and irritable and cranky.  (Husband and Dad will read this and disagree.  They will call her “vocal” and “spirited” and “lively” instead.  I like these words.  I like the idea that they describe my daughter.  But c’mon people.  It’s time to call a spade a spade).

The point here is not to complain.  I am not, in fact, complaining.  Far from it.  I’m actually just about to pay my little fusspot a major compliment.

She is an excellent travel buddy.

Lil Mil is, generally, fussy and irritable and cranky.  That is, when we’re at home.

For the past three days, I’ve made an effort to get out of the house.  On Monday, we went to a movie.  On Tuesday, we ran errands and visited a friend.  Today, we’re parked in the cafe at a Borders bookstore.  And in each case, Lil Mil has sat quietly in her car seat, wide awake, just … chillin.’  Calm.  Relaxed.  Happy as can be.  Not fussy, not irritable, not cranky.  Not at all.

It’s remarkable, really.  So remarkable as to be a bit disconcerting.  Why is she so different when she’s at home?  Is there something wrong with our house?  Or is it just that she, like her mama, is happier when she’s out and about?

Either way, I’m not complaining.  I’ve accomplished more in the last three days that I’ve have in the previous ten, in large part because I’ve been working at coffee shops and bookstores and floors of bookstores (It was raining.  B&N was packed.  I improvised).  So if Lil Mil would rather be out on the town than stuck at home (and yes, by “out on the town,” I mean sitting somewhere with a working bathroom and free WiFi), then she and I are a good team.

Who knows – my daughter could decide tomorrow that she doesn’t like being jostled and jerked around and buckled in and out of carseats and baby carriers.  But I sorta doubt it.  As silly as it sounds, I think Lil Mil knows that our daily expeditions are good for us.  I think she knows that her mom needs the time away from home, needs to feel a little like her old self – a person who had the luxury of spending hours at a cafe, sipping lattes as she whittled away at the world she was trying to create.

So I guess I’m thankful for my daughter’s fussiness.  Blessed by her irritability.  Because now I have no excuse. Now I know that if I get us both out of the house, she’ll happily give me the two, three, even four hours I need.   And you know what?  Because she’s there next to me, those hours are more productive than they ever could’ve been when I was flying solo.

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