The drive out wasn't nearly so bad as we thought it might be. Claire was really very good. She only got fussy and upset a few times, and a stop usually fixed her problems. We left Friday morning, not as early as we had hoped, but Claire decided to get up early, so we had her to contend with, instead of just being able to pack up the car without her help. That and I refused to get up before 6. It just wasn't right, making a pregnant woman get up before 6am. But we got out of Salt Lake by 8:30, so it wasn't too bad. We were planning on leaving at 7. The drive was mostly uneventful. We stopped for lunch around 1. We ended up eating in the car, because it was way too cold to go to a park, but Claire was happy because she could stand in the front passenger seat well so she got to move a bit. We drove on and on it seemed. We stopped for the night in North Platte NE. Ogallala NE is the halfway distance point, but North Platte (just an hour farther) is the time point. So we picked the time point. It was a little late, about 8pm our time, but wasn't too bad. We went out and ate dinner, then tried in vain to put Claire to bed. The problem was this: the last sippy cup we had given her before we stopped had leaked all over. Her shirt was soaked. So we switched to a clean cup. I didn't realize at the time that it was a new lid and I hadn't activated (i.e. squeezed the lid to make sure the valves were working) it, so she wasn't getting anything. She was starving, but not eating because she couldn't. Once I realized what was happening, I fixed the cup and she drained it and then went to sleep. She had a crib provided by the hotel. Not the most confidence-inspiring crib, but it was okay. We had pulled out the noise maker and put it on the storm setting, which is what she usually listens to. Whoever made that track was an idiot. It has three distinct drips in it. And the cycle is about 30 seconds, maybe slightly longer. How do I know? I layed in bed listening to it for almost 3 hours, before I finally got up and changed it. I kept thinking maybe I would get used to it. No. It was super annoying. I hate repetitive sounds. They make me nuts. Why didn't I change it earlier? I was tired and didn't want to get up. So I didn't sleep very well that night. Alann asked me to set my alarm for 630 the next morning. Apparently, he meant 630 our time, which would have been 730 in NE, but wasn't clear on that, so we got up earlier than he had wanted. We were on the road again before 8. By lunch we had hit MO, the northwestern most corner. We stopped and ate and Claire ran around a bit. Then mercifully she slept for quite a while. About two hours into the drive that morning, we ran into clouds. Sudden, dark, threatening clouds. It never stormed on us, but it was dark and cloudy the whole rest of the way. It was kind of annoying, because there was snow on the ground, so that was kind of bright, but there wasn't enough sun to justify sunglasses. I squinted most of the day. Around Columbia, MO, we were debating if we should stop somewhere and eat or just keep driving. We left it up to Claire. Halfway through Columbia, she started fussing. So we stopped and ate and she got to move around. We made the rest of the hour or so trip in relative peace. We got in not too late and got everything in the house and set up. Claire took to Mark and Debbie (Grandma and Grandpa) really within minutes. We came in and hadn't even brought any suitcases in and she was already letting them hold her. I was amazed. She usually has to warm up to people. Maybe she was just so relieved to be out of the car that she was happy to see anybody. But last time I left her with Ireland, she went right over to Ireland and didn't give me any fuss about leaving, so maybe she is just growing up and becoming more social. Or maybe she misses seeing different people, like Jocee, and so wants to meet everybody. I think I need to find a playgroup when we get back. She is so social, and I don't want her growing up shy like me.
Since we've been here, things have been pretty nice. Claire is finally adjusting to sleeping in a different place. We had some fussiness at naps and bedtime the first night and day, but last night she went down pretty easily, once she had eaten her fill of course. She was pulling at her ears yesterday, but I haven't seen her do it today, so hopefully it was just teething pain again. She hasn't had a fever or anything else.
The moral of the story is- when traveling with a small child, don't plan more than 12 hours a day. Staying at the hotel in NE and stopping for lunch and dinner really made a difference in her attitude, as opposed to when we went to AZ. We stopped for dinner but not lunch, and by the end she was cranky cranky. I'm glad we won't be driving again for two weeks though. That is such a long haul.