We traveled to California to spend the holidays with our families. Stella was perfect on the early morning flight to Utah in September, and terrible on the evening flight back to CT, so we made sure to select flights leaving CT as early in the morning as possible. It made no difference whatsoever. Stella was wide awake at 5 am, wandering the halls of the airport. And she stayed awake for the rest of the day. Too much stimulation + mom who doesn’t believe in Benadryl + no empty seats on the plane = disaster. Never again!
Stella felt right at home at Granny and Grandpa’s house, which had everything she wanted: Legos; a Christmas tree; lots of wrapping paper; homemade sweet potatoes, kale, and pears; lots of cousins to play with; and a cute uncle named Kevin. Unfortunately, Stella chose the one week we had to spend with family to be attached to me, and only me. Uncle Kevin was the exception. She would let other people hold her, look at her, and talk to her only if I wasn’t in the room. Had we been able to stay longer, she probably would have warmed right up to everyone and forgotten about me, but we had to move on.
Stella was overwhelmed by so many new faces in Laguna Niguel as well. Auntie Merella must have looked familiar though, because more than once, Stella ran to her for hugs. The face she didn’t get to see much of was Grandpa Shuster. On December 26, Grandpa went to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain. Doctors kept him until New Year’s Eve to make sure there were no intestinal blockages from irritated scar tissue, etc., etc. All turned out well eventually, and we brought Stella to the hospital to visit one last time before we left CA. Her favorite part of the visit was eating Grandpa’s ice cream and Jello.
At Merella’s house, I made it my personal mission to make Stella love bath time (she’s getting quite large to be taking showers with Dad). At Granny’s house she refused to step in the tub without screaming. Little Dario had a fine selection of colorful squeezy bath toys. All we had to do was line them up on the edge of the tub and pretend it was super fun to knock them into the water, and Stella was sold. She climbed into the tub before we could get all her clothes off and hasn’t struggled since.
Were Stella’s parents so exhausted that they didn’t think twice about giving her Benadryl on the flights home? Yes. Did Stella sleep on the plane? Yes. But only for 2 hours. And it was glorious. We got home to sinus infections, and an ambient temperature of 46 degrees in our living room. Jesse admitted defeat. He blasted the heat and went to Wal-Mart to buy a netti pot (don’t tell anyone), and Stella learned how to pick her nose, lift up her shirt to show everyone her bellybutton, and open all the doors in our house.
And then we went to Gilette Castle on New Year’s Day, and Stella dressed herself for once, and got attached to a lemon we found in the box we brought home from Costco. And that was how we spent our Christmas vacation.